Nov 13, 2017

White House didn't give Elon Musk "verbal approval" for tunnel project

Elon Musk. Photo: Francois Mori / AP

White House Advisor Reed Cordish said today he wasn't actually offering government approval to Elon Musk when they discussed Boring Company plans to connect New York and Washington, D.C. with an underground Hyperloop tunnel.

Musk made waves when he tweeted that he'd received "verbal approval." "I think what you heard was verbal government excitement," Cordish said he told Musk, as he recounted while speaking at an Internet Association event in San Francisco.

Why it matters: Regardless of whether Musk overstated the government's commitment to his project, Cordish said the Trump administration is talking with Musk and his company. "That's innovation...if we could tunnel from Washington D.C. or New York or even Boston," he said. "We'll all work together for actual government approval."

Also: Cordish said the Trump administration's relationship with tech companies isn't as strained as it seems.

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Situational awareness

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Mike Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 NDAs
  2. Wells Fargo to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges
  3. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  4. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release women identified to have signed three nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.