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Mueller’s finished. What now?
The special counsel, Robert Mueller, did not find evidence that President Trump coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election, Attorney General William Barr said yesterday. But the White House still faces legal challenges.
Mr. Trump claimed victory from the report, which concluded Mr. Mueller’s two-year investigation into the Russia issue. Especially comforting to the president: Mr. Mueller did not recommend additional indictments of his inner circle.
The president was not found to have obstructed justice, Mr. Barr added, saying that the special counsel did not find enough evidence. But the report did not exonerate Mr. Trump on this accusation, as Mr. Mueller did not provide a verdict either way.
Mr. Trump derided the inquiry as an “illegal takedown that failed,” and demanded that those responsible for it face additional scrutiny. That triumphalism ran counter to advice from aides.
But the White House isn’t in the clear yet. Congressional Democrats pledged to continue pursuing investigations into Trump and his allies. And prosecutors in New York City are still investigating an array of issues that touch on Mr. Trump’s business and political dealings.
The markets may get a small boost from the end of the investigation, according to analysts who spoke to CNBC.
China’s new trade play: openness
China’s top economic policymakers have promised more market-based competition and international trade, in the latest sign that the country is eager to end its trade war with the U.S., Keith Bradsher of the NYT writes.
The promises being made were significant. Officials at the China Development Forum, the country’s premier annual economic policy conference, spoke of increasing imports, a desire for more foreign investment and a willingness to allow foreign financial firms to own larger stakes in their Chinese competitors.
They may sound familiar, however. “Chinese officials have said for years that they were ready to allow foreign competitors to enter their market on a more equal footing,” Mr. Bradsher writes. “The promises made over the weekend in many cases repeated pledges that have been made before.”
But China now has other reasons to embrace openness. “In addition to a trade war that is hitting the country’s exporters, China’s economy has also been hurt by private sector business leaders who have become increasingly cautious in recent months about making new investments,” Mr. Bradsher adds.
The promises will most likely feature in trade talks. American and Chinese officials are scheduled to hold trade talks in Beijing in the coming days, and another round of talks in Washington the following week.
Boeing scrambles to fix its 737 Max problem
The airplane maker is taking more steps to convince the authorities and customers that fixes for its 737 Max 8 jets — two of which have crashed in recent months — are near.
It tested a software update for the Max 8 aircraft with pilots from five airlines over the weekend, the NYT reports. Using flight simulators, the pilots were able to safely land planes suffering from problems believed to have brought down Lion Air Flight 610 last year.
And the company outlined other software fixes that are meant to eliminate flaws in an automated piloting program at the heart of the crashes. Boeing also said that it would now make two previously optional safety features on the planes free of charge.
But Boeing is facing heat from Congress over the safety-certification process that cleared the Max 8 for flight. Lawmakers are concerned about how much responsibility the company held for certifying the safety of its own planes.
More Boeing news: How the company rushed to roll out the 737 Max to catch up with Airbus. Why the crashes highlight the challenges of adding modern software to older technology. And why JPMorgan Chase economists worry about broader fallout from Boeing’s problems.
Don’t panic, but part of the yield curve inverted
The yield curve is essentially the difference between interest rates on short-term government bonds and long-term government bonds. Since 1960, every time that it has inverted — when long-term rates were lower than short-term rates — a recession has followed.
It happened on Friday.
More on that from Matt Phillips of the NYT:
• “The yield on the 10-year Treasury note tumbled to 2.44 percent Friday, its lowest level since January 2018. That was just below the 2.45 percent yield on three-month Treasury bills.”
• “Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has cited the yield difference between three-month Treasury bills and 10-year Treasury notes — which inverted Friday — as the most reliable predictor of recession risk.”
• “On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 1.9 percent, as stock market investors grew concerned about the outlook for economic growth. It was the second-worst drop for the market this year.”
Don’t hyperventilate. Some parts of the yield curve have not yet inverted, and experts say the inversion doesn’t necessarily predict economic collapse. “A model is just a model,” Campbell Harvey, a Duke University finance professor, told the NYT. “It’s not an oracle. It helps us forecast the future, but it might at any point fail.”
Coming up: Apple’s big media announcement
With smartphone sales stagnating, Apple is making a push to make money from services. And today, we find out what that looks like, as the company makes a series of announcements about its moves into the world of media. Here’s what to expect:
• Video streaming. According to the WSJ, Apple has “used a $1 billion budget to buy dozens of original TV shows in hopes it can land a breakout hit,” and plans to announce tie-ups to offer $9.99 subscriptions for channels like HBO and Showtime. Original content would reportedly “be delivered in a new TV app that staff have been calling a Netflix killer,” and also require a subscription.
• News. The company’s new news-subscription service is expected to cost $9.99 a month and provide “access to more than 200 magazines — including Bon Appétit, People and Glamour — as well as newspapers,” according to the WSJ.
• And maybe games? Bloomberg suggests that the company might even announce “a premium games subscription for its App Store.” This wouldn’t be the cloud gaming of the kind announced by Google last week, but bundles of games for the iPhone and iPad.
You can watch the event here, starting at 1 p.m. Eastern.
A tough Monday for Theresa May
The British prime minister is struggling for control and respect as she tries again to gain Parliament’s support for her Brexit deal this week.
Her week starts with a tense cabinet meeting, with her Conservative Party in “uproar after ministers discussed replacing her as leader just weeks before the Brexit deadline,” according to the FT.
Lawmakers will then try to undermine her control of Brexit, when they vote later today on a plan “to take control of the legislative agenda for a single day,” Bloomberg explains. “This would allow lawmakers to express support for different options ranging from a second referendum to a customs union with the E.U. and even canceling Brexit.”
She’s still hawking her Brexit deal. But meetings over the weekend with high-profile Euroskeptic lawmakers, including Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, failed to gain their backing. That means she still lacks the support needed to win a third vote on her proposal.
Musk says the S.E.C. is ‘virtually wrong at every level’ about his tweets
As the S.E.C. and Elon Musk continue to fight in court over his tweeting, the Tesla C.E.O. fired back on Friday. His latest argument: the agency is incorrectly interpreting a settlement agreement between the two.
Mr. Musk’s insists his tweet review process is O.K. In his view, he is supposed to only run tweets containing material information about Tesla by an in-house lawyer — and he is free to determine what qualifies. An earlier draft of the settlement, offered by the S.E.C., would have required him to run all public statements by a lawyer. He rejected that proposal.
He also says the tweet that drew the ire of the S.E.C. wasn’t controversial. His comment about Tesla production forecasts, he argues, contained information that had previously been made public, and was made after stock markets closed for the day. But the S.E.C. says that’s an after-the-fact rationalization.
It’s up to a judge to decide whether Mr. Musk violated the settlement and should be held in contempt. The S.E.C. has declined to ask for a hearing on the matter, The Verge reports, since it believes it has already made its case.
A life without screens is a luxury
Silicon Valley’s business model pretty much relies on pervasive screens being a good thing. But Big Tech’s most successful executives increasingly spend lots of money to shelter themselves from the digital reality they helped create, Nellie Bowles of the NYT reports, potentially creating a new class divide.
• At first, tech products like Facebook and Gmail were democratic: They were the same no matter who you were, and they were free. Companies extolled the value of widespread laptop use in schools, arguing that they were preparing kids for the future.
• But now schools that are short of cash, like those in Kansas, focus on screens, not human interaction. And low-income elderly patients rely on digital avatars to keep them company.
• Meanwhile, Ms. Bowles writes, “As wealthy kids are growing up with less screen time, poor kids are growing up with more. How comfortable someone is with human engagement could become a new class marker.”
• “The wealthy can afford to opt out of having their data and their attention sold as a product. The poor and middle class don’t have the same kind of resources to make that happen.”
The Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown called on banking regulators to oust Tim Sloan as Wells Fargo’s C.E.O.
Citigroup fired eight traders in Hong Kong for reportedly misleading clients.
The speed read
• Uber is reportedly set to buy Careem, a Middle Eastern competitor, for about $3.1 billion this week. (Bloomberg)
• Pinterest’s I.P.O. filing showed that it’s a rare Silicon Valley unicorn — one that isn’t bleeding money. (NYT)
• ICYMI: Everything you need to know about the Lyft I.P.O. (DealBook)
• Naspers, the South African internet giant, plans to spin off its stake in Tencent and other international holdings into a new publicly held company. (Bloomberg)
• The telecom equipment maker Avaya is reportedly considering a $5 billion takeover offer from a private equity firm. (Reuters)
Politics and policy
• How “Medicare for all” would disrupt the entire health care industry. (NYT)
• House Democrats like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plan to pressure banks into taking stands on issues like gun violence and climate change. (Politico)
• Energy executives celebrated the appointment of one of their allies to the No. 2 spot at the Interior Department, according to a recording of a 2017 industry meeting. (Politico)
• Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, says that in the wake of the Christchurch shooting it’s time to consider Big Tech’s legal responsibilities. (Microsoft)
• Volvo’s C.E.O. says that rolling out autonomous vehicles prematurely could “kill a technology that might be the best lifesaver in the history of the car.” Also: Waymo’s autonomous taxi fleet has reportedly suffered plenty of close calls and frequent rider complaints. (FT, Information)
• Mike Lynch, the former C.E.O. of the British software company Autonomy, faces new criminal charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy. (Bloomberg)
• The European Commission is expected to pursue a plan to manage the risk of using Huawei telecom hardware, defying calls from the U.S. to simply not use it. (FT)
• Banks are using A.I. to spot rogue traders before they even act. (FT)
Best of the rest
• Silicon Valley venture capitalists are taking victory laps as unicorns like Lyft and Uber go public. (NYT)
• Tyson has recalled 69,000 pounds of chicken strips after metal fragments were found in them. (NYT)
• Sweden is expected to force its banks to continue offering customers cash transactions. (FT)
• The O.E.C.D. recently tried to quantify the global counterfeiting industry. Its conclusion: The business represented as much as 3.3 percent of global trade in 2016. (Axios)
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