Snap IPO hits the road - Axios

Snap IPO hits the road

Snap management today will begin meeting with prospective investors in its IPO, which is expected to occur in less than two weeks. The Los Angeles-based company also published its online roadshow presentation. Here's the lead, from co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel:

Snap is a camera company. We feel like we're really at the beginning of what cameras can do.


Russian diplomats keep dying unexpectedly

Ivan Sekretarev / AP

Six Russian diplomats have died since November, in addition to an aide to a former deputy prime minister. All but one died on foreign soil. Some were shot, while other causes of death are unknown. Note that a few deaths have been labeled "heart attacks" or "brief illnesses." Here's what you need to know:


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Trump fingers media and Dems on Russia talk

President Trump, on the increased chatter on Russia:

Why it matters: A pair of prominent members of Congress, Reps. Darrell Issa and Nancy Pelosi, have separately called for a special prosecutor on Russia and Trump. This is a sign that Trump won't take such an effort in stride.


White House leak crackdown leaks to media

Alex Brandon / AP

Sean Spicer did a phone check on White House communications staffers last week after several leaks about the administration painted a poor picture of the Trump team in the media. That crackdown on leaks was then leaked to Politico.

Spicer warned that using encrypted texting apps that delete messages — such as Confide, the use of which by DC Republicans was first covered by Axios — violates the Federal Records Act. He consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before the meeting and White House lawyers were present during the meeting. The Federal Records Act pertains to federal agencies, while the Presidential Records Act covers the president and his or her staff.

Per Politico's Annie Karni: "Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media."


Kasich to GOP: You need Dem votes on Obamacare

Evan Vucci / AP

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says congressional Republicans probably won't be able to repeal and replace Obamacare without Democratic votes to "get this thing right." On CBS's Face the Nation this morning, Kasich, a former congressman, said former House Speaker John Boehner was "pretty close" in his prediction last week that the "framework" of Obamacare will survive — because House Republicans will have to manuever around their most conservative members, who will just want to repeal the law and not replace it.

"That's not acceptable when you have 20 million people, or 700,000 people in my state" who have gained coverage, Kasich said. "The Republicans can go and do what they want, and I'm going to talk to them. But at the end of the day, I'm going to stand up for the people that wouldn't have the coverage if they don't get this thing right." He said President Trump "responded very positively" to his ideas on how to make Medicaid work better.

Kasich also warned Democrats to stop what he called "fifth-grade" stuff and help Republicans pass a workable replacement: "What's at stake is not some political thing. What's at stake here are 20 million Americans."


Uber employees use anonymous app to dish on execs

AP File

Uber employees have taken to an anonymous messaging app called Blind to confide in one another about company leadership amidst sexual harassment allegations and other issues that have recently plagued the company, according to TechCrunch.

The apps' user base at Uber has reportedly more than doubled to over 2,000 after a female ex-Uber engineer's claim of sexual harassment went viral last week. TechCrunch reports that Uber blocked access to the app within the company's wifi.

Why it matters: Rumors of tensions at the tech giant, particularly around rumors of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and CTO Thuan Pham's ignoring excusal harassment claims, could cause a mass exodus from the company. TechCrunch notes that a message was posted and quickly removed from the app claiming that 118 San Francisco employees were resigning.


Father of SEAL killed in Yemen raid: "I want an investigation"

Bill Owens, the father of William "Ryan" Owens, wants the Trump administration to investigate his son's death in the Yemen raid last month.

Owens told the Miami Herald that he refused to meet with Trump at his son's funeral, and he's calling out the administration for saying that criticizing the mission dishonors Ryan:

Don't hide behind my son's death to prevent an investigation. ... I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation.

Inside the Snap anomaly

Snap's IPO prompts the L.A. Times' Nina Agrawal to dive deep on an anomaly about the company: It has no headquarters building or campus, but instead sprawls among bungalows on or near Venice Beach, just north of LAX.

  • From Snap's filing: "This diffuse structure may prevent us from fostering positive employee morale and encouraging social interaction among our employees and different business units. ...[W]e may be unable to adequately oversee employees and business functions.'"
  • "In an era when companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple have created an expectation that tech firms will offer sprawling corporate campuses with gyms, chefs preparing organic food and massage services on site, Snap's scattered layout could strengthen its brand as an outsider. ... Snap has ... 2,000 employees; Google has some 60,000."
  • Snap culture: "Workers take shuttles or walk between offices, which some say has deepened their desire to volunteer locally. They can eat at beachside cafes and support local businesses, thanks to Snap vouchers. And then there's the aura. 'Venice is younger and grittier.'"

How to keep your eyes on the Trump news that matters

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

What doesn't really matter:

  1. Trump tweeting two months in advance that he'll skip the White House Correspondents' Association dinner April 29. It's a fine night in a crammed room with episodic humor and celebrity sightings, with scholarships awarded to journalism students who have contagious enthusiasm and idealism. In the scheme of things, the president's presence doesn't make or break it.
  2. Spicer cherry-picking media orgs for briefings. The briefings are marginally useful at best (transcript here of what the excluded reporters missed), and a terrific waste of time at worst. Twitter will tell you anything of substance that happened. So the time is better spent working the phones.

George W. Bush's new passion project

President George W. Bush unveils a new passion project — a 192-page book of oil paintings, "Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors," out Tuesday from Crown. Bush aide Freddy Ford emailed details to Bush family and friends last evening:

  • Over the past year, Bush painted 98 wounded warriors he's gotten to know through the Bush Institute.
  • The book includes 64 of them, plus a four-panel mural, with each painting accompanied by a story Bush wrote about the patriot.
  • Forewords by Laura Bush and Gen. Peter Pace, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • Bush is donating profits to the Bush Institute, where the Military Service Initiative helps post-9/11 veterans, with a focus on employment and the invisible wounds of war.

See a gallery of the portraits here.

A slipcover edition signed by President Bush is available here.