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FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines plane with the Continental Airlines logo on its tail, taxis to the runway at O'Hare International airport in Chicago
FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines plane with the Continental Airlines logo on its tail, taxis to the runway at O’Hare International airport in Chicago October 1, 2010. UAL Corp and Continental Airlines Inc. closed their merger on Friday to form the world’s largest carrier, called United Airlines. REUTERS/Frank Polich

May 24, 2019

(Reuters) – United Airlines said on Friday it was willing to loan up to $150 million to Colombian airline Avianca Holdings SA.

In November, United Continental Holdings Inc finalized a three-way joint venture with carriers Avianca and Copa Airlines of Panama, giving the U.S. airline a deeper foothold in Latin America.

Under the deal, United had loaned $456 million to cash-strapped Avianca’s parent company, Synergy Group Corp.

Avianca’s majority shareholder, BRW Aviation LLC – one of the companies that United entered into a loan with – has defaulted, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

Kingsland Holdings Ltd, Avianca’s largest minority shareholder, has been granted independent voting rights to manage BRW.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Source: OANN

BORIS Johnson looks set to take over from Theresa May as Prime Minister now she’s finally announced she will step down.

The 54-year-old ex-Foreign Secretary revealed last week he WOULD run to replace her, and his campaign is set to be in full swing within days.

 Boris is the favourite to take over from Theresa May

Getty Images – Getty

Boris is the favourite to take over from Theresa May

The bookies have had him as the favourite for months, and Tory members insist he is the one they want to take them into the next election too and fight Jeremy Corbyn.

His charisma, energy and bravado have already attracted voters from across the spectrum to him for years – giving him two successful terms as Mayor of London, and four election wins as an MP.

After much deliberation he was also on the winning side for the historic 2016 referendum – proving he’s in touch with the people of Britain and understands what they want.

He draws crowds wherever he goes and lines up supporters in a celebrity-like fashion – it would be foolish to rule out his chances.

Leadership candidates have already been meeting with MPs for weeks, begging them for their support, and Boris has been no exception.

He’s been smartening up with a new haircut, fresher suits, and he’s even lost weight to help win his more support and look like a PM in waiting.

But Boris has had relatively few friends in Parliament for years now – and it could be too little, too late to woo over the hundreds of MPs he needs to get down to the final two candidates.

He’ll have to make sure he has a great team around him to make that happen.

Fresh YouGov research today even said he was the most popular and least popular candidate in the running, showing how incredibly divisive he is among Tories and voters.

The top Tory has got a huge task on his hands to avoid the pitfalls from the last leadership race in 2016, which seriously damaged his credentials.

Boris was set to run on a joint ticket with Michael Gove, who eventually knifed him in the back and went for it alone.

Just hours later after a morning of chaos, Boris dramatically pulled out of the race.

During his time as Foreign Secretary he also came under fire for undermining statesmanship-like credentials with a string of gaffes and undignified behaviour – which he will have to overcome if he wants to enter No10.

His rival candidates will be keen to emphasise and capitalise on his weaknesses in the days ahead to try and slap him down before he gets the momentum going.

However, in recent days even Remainer MPs have coming around to the idea of Boris as PM, believing he might be the one to fight off Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party who are soaring in the polls.

The Tories are suffering a terrifying mauling from fuming voters for not delivering Brexit yet, and many think he’s the only one who can stop the Brexit Party tidal wave.

And he’ll be popular with many right-wingers in the Tory party by saying today we have to get out of the EU by October 31 – deal or No Deal.

“The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal,” he said today at a conference in Switzerland.

And he added: “A new leader will have the opportunity to do things differently and have the momentum of a new administration.

“The job of our next leader has to be getting the UK properly out of the EU, putting Brexit to bed.”

One Remainer MP told The Sun: “I won’t back Boris at the start but might do in the later rounds.
“Maybe we need a strong Brexiteer to take on Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage. And it certainly can’t be Dominic Raab.”

Boris last week tweeted his support of a group of One Nation values – pushed by moderate remainers like Amber Rudd and Damian Green – in a clear message that he wants their support for the top job and is prepared to compromise and mould his positions.

Last night ex-minister Gavin Williamson was revealed to be helping Boris become PM too, saying he’s the only Tory who can both deliver Brexit AND beat Labour.

His support will be vital for Boris as he’s got good relations with the Northern Irish party, the DUP, who could be vital in another government.

Loyal former minister Alastair Burt, when asked whether he could back Mr Johnson, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The answer to the question for almost all the candidates is yes.

“I would find it very difficult to support a candidate who said it was in Britain’s best interest to leave with no deal, leave straight away…

“I don’t expect any candidate really to say that.”

Rising star Johnny Mercer, who some said could run for the top job himself, confirmed he was backing Boris to bring the country back together.

He told ITV that he needed to “go out and inspire the party, bring them together, and get over this issue”.

Then Britain could get back to everyday business of governing, he predicted optimistically.

 Boris Johnson is the biggest threat to Jeremy Corbyn getting into No10, Labour voters fear
Boris Johnson is the biggest threat to Jeremy Corbyn getting into No10, Labour voters fear
 Boris attracts supporters from the public wherever he goes - but has fewer MP friends

Darren Fletcher – The Sun

Boris attracts supporters from the public wherever he goes – but has fewer MP friends
 Many MPs think he could be the one to defeat Farage's Brexit Party - and are willing to throw their weight behind him

www.newsline-media.com

Many MPs think he could be the one to defeat Farage’s Brexit Party – and are willing to throw their weight behind him

Scottish MP Stephen Kerr said: “For me and my Scottish Conservative colleagues, strengthening the union must be a very strong theme in the prospectus that any prospective leader offers the Scottish Conservatives.

“I think Boris is aware, from my conversations with him, that he has to project a different image to the people of Scotland, there’s no doubt about that. He recognises that challenge.

“The reality is that Boris is a major player in this contest, but whoever is going to lead the Conservative Party, whoever puts themselves forward to lead the Conservative Party, is going to have to be a unifier.”

 Theresa May breaks down as she announces her resignation date outside No10 today

Dan Charity – The Sun

Theresa May breaks down as she announces her resignation date outside No10 today
 The PM leaving her home in Berkshire earlier

Darren Fletcher – The Sun

The PM leaving her home in Berkshire earlier


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Did you hear the story about the crooked banker who tried to get himself a Cabinet job by cutting a sweetheart loan to Paul Manafort?

We hope President Trump did.

Trump occasionally needs a reminder that Manafort, his former campaign chairman, was a self-dealing crook who saw Trump not as his client but as his product. The federal indictment announced Thursday alleges a bribery scheme that bears this out. Manafort, who was not exactly very creditworthy, got a $6.5 million bank loan at a too-low interest rate. The banker, Stephen Calk, allegedly approved this loan in exchange for an administration job, such as a Cabinet slot or an ambassadorship.

Manafort allegedly procured a job interview for Calk, without telling Trump’s transition team that Calk was his sweetheart lender. Thankfully, Calk never got a Trump administration job, but Manafort appears to have secretly used his proximity to Trump to enrich himself. Trump shouldn’t forget how much Manafort tried to use him.

But there’s a second lesson here involving not Manafort’s pursuit of profit, but Trump’s.

The lesson is this: When you have power, people will be willing to enrich you personally, expecting you will use that power to help them. Even if you don’t help them, it corrupts the system to let that expectation persist.

Trump operates dozens of hotels and resorts around the U.S. and around the world. When people, companies, and governments spend money at those Trump properties, they are enriching Trump personally. Undoubtedly, many foreign government officials who drop thousands of dollars at the Trump Hotel believe that this ought to earn them some favor with the Trump administration.

It is dangerous and corrupting if these foreign leaders believe they are owed something because they enriched Trump. It is also bad if businessmen, foreign or domestic, spend money at Trump properties expecting something in exchange.

There is also the risk they will get something in exchange. We’re not positing that Trump would do a naked quid pro quo, but we know how Trump carries warm feelings towards those who do business with him in a way he finds profitable.

“Saudi Arabia,” he said on the campaign trail, “I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

Even if Trump isn’t inclined to give a policy gift to his benefactors, he surely feels tempted to look away from their misdeeds, it seems.

Also, a lower-level U.S. official may be bullied by a businessmen or government official who is certain the Trump administration owes him something in exchange for the money he gave Trump.

This is why, since he won the election, we implored Trump to unload his properties, empowering an independent agent to sell the properties, at fair market value, in a sale in which Trump has no role.

Such a forced sale would be suboptimal for Trump’s wealth, but that’s the sort of sacrifice the presidency demands. Power rightly comes not with riches, but with constraints and sacrifice.

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Grab your popcorn ?! Trump gives Barr green light to declassify 2016 campaign surveillance documents; I’m Excited Are You?!

Trump gives Barr green light to declassify 2016 campaign surveillance documents; Travel ban over abortion law

Friday, May 24, 2019

Trump gives Barr the green light to unseal documents on the 2016 surveillance of the Trump campaign
President Trump on Thursday night issued a memo giving Attorney General William Barr the See More authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016. Trump also ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr. U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, blasted the move as an attempt to “weaponize law enforcement and classified information.” Trump has long claimed his campaign was the victim of “spying,” though the intelligence community has insisted it acted lawfully in following leads in the Russia investigation.

Last month, Barr ran into a buzz saw of criticism from Democratic lawmakers and media figures for testifying that “spying did occur” against the Trump campaign. But despite the backlash, the attorney general appeared to be referring to intelligence collection that already has been widely reported and confirmed.

Alleged Trump ‘cover-up’: A second generation of the ‘Russia witch hunt’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim of a presidential “cover-up” is the second generation of the Russia collusion “witch hunt,”according to a White House spokesman. Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley made the claim Thursday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” describing the continuing Democrat push for further investigations as “the Russia collusion hoax witch hunt 2.0.” Gidley’s comments came asTrump and Pelosi and other Democrats continued to snipe at each other over Wednesday’s scuttled meeting on infrastructure. White House officials insist Trump was calm when he cut short the meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Pelosi and Schumer insist Trump was agitated and threw the equivalent of a presidential temper tantrum when he abruptly ended the session. The president has demanded Democrats end their “phony investigations” before he negotiates with them on issues like infrastructure. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo, TD Bank Thursday turned over Trump’s financial records to Democrats in the House Financial Services Committee led by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

Theresa May says she’ll quit as Conservative leader June 7

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Friday that she will resign — ending her months-long struggle to keep her job despite seething anger from her own Conservative Party over her handling of Brexit. “I believe it was right to persevere even when the odds against success seemed high. But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort,” she said outside 10 Downing Street.

LA lawmakers approve Alabama travel ban over new abortion law
Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors voted this week to enact a one-year ban on official travel to Alabama over that state’s controversial abortion law, which all but outlaws the procedure. Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, who co-authored the motion with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, called the law an “attack not only confined to the residents of those states but an act of aggression upon all of us.” The motion prohibits officials conducting business on behalf of the county from traveling to Alabama except for emergency response, training or assistance or “legally required matters where the failure to authorize such travel would seriously harm the County’s interests,” Solis said in a statement.

Pete Hegseth op-ed: Let’s stop second-guessing our war heroes
In a feature on FoxNews.com, “Fox & Friends” weekend co-host and Iraq war veteran Pete Hegsethexplains why he wants critics to stop questioning the tactics U.S. troops employ on the battlefield. He writes the following: “We send men to fight on our behalf, and too often second-guess the manner in which they fight. Count me out on the Monday-morning quarterbacking — I’m with the American warfighter, all the way. … I’m not talking about massacres or sheer recklessness. None of us ever contemplated the killing of women and children for sport. We didn’t shoot innocent civilians for fun. There may be a few deranged combat troops, and they will get their due. Yet, too often, when warfighters come home they are second-guessed. Prosecuted by lawyers who never left their air-conditioned offices or politicians with ulterior motives.”

CLICK HERE to read Hegseth’s commentary and tune in to “Fox & Friends” today, between 6 and 9 am ET, where he will further explain his point of view.

$44M #MeToo settlement for Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein, the former movie mogul accused of sex crimes by multiple women, hasreached a tentative $44 million settlement to resolve lawsuits filed against him by his accusers, creditors and board members of his former film studio, according to multiple reports Thursday night. Under the proposed settlement, which has not been finalized, $30 million would be paid to the plaintiffs — including former employees of Weinstein Co. — and $14 million would go to pay legal fees, with the funds coming from insurance policies, the Wall Street Journal reported.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
‘Ingraham Angle’ Exclusive: Homeland Security boss defends against family-separation accusations at border.
Dionne Warwick says she doubts Beyoncé will reach icon status. 
Dr. Drew Pinsky warns Los Angeles could be at risk of a deadly epidemic this summer.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Trump rolls out second aid package for farmers worth $16B amid US-China trade war.
House passes major retirement reform bill: What it means for your 401(k), IRA.
McDonald’s not ready to jump on the plant-based meat bandwagon yet.

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Wells Fargo and TD Bank have already handed over President Trump’s financial records to the House Financial Services Committee, according to a Wednesday report.

Two sources familiar with the House’s investigation into Trump’s finances told NBC News that Wells Fargo handed the committee thousands of documents and TD Bank also provided multiple documents, joining seven other financial institutions that have complied with the committee’s subpoenas. The committee, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., wants documents on business the banks conducted with suspected Russian and Eastern European money launderers.

The committee sent subpoenas to the two banks, along with Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase, in April with a May 6 deadline. Other banks have failed to meet the deadline, but the Royal Bank of Canada is in the process of complying.

Wednesday’s news comes the same day a federal judge ruled that Deutsche Bank and Capital One can share Trump’s financial documents with Congress and two days after a federal judge ruled against blocking the committee’s subpoena of Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm. Deutsche Bank has lent Trump more than $2 billion over the years, and Trump’s latest financial disclosures indicate he still owes the organization $130 million.

Read More:
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/wells-fargo-td-bank-have-turned-trumps-financial-records-over-to-house

Image Credit: Anna Moneymaker

Source: The Washington Pundit

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows several Boeing 737 MAX airplanes grounded at Boeing Field in Seattle
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows several Boeing 737 MAX airplanes grounded at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

May 23, 2019

By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) – U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives told members of the United Nations’ aviation agency they expect approval of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jets to fly in the United States as early as late June, three people with knowledge of the matter said, although there is no firm timetable for the move. FAA and Boeing representatives briefed members of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) governing council in Montreal on Thursday on efforts to return the plane to service. The three people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private briefing.

The MAX was grounded worldwide in March following two crashes involving the model that killed a combined 346 people.

FAA officials who briefed the council said they expected the ungrounding would take place in the United States as early as late June, but it was not clear when other countries would clear the flights, said two of the sources.

Canada and Europe said on Wednesday they would bring back the grounded aircraft on their own terms.

The FAA declined to comment on Thursday, referring to acting administrator Dan Elwell’s statement on Wednesday that he does not have a timetable for making a decision.

“It’s taking as long as it takes to be right,” he said. “I’m not tied to a timetable.”

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its shares pared earlier losses to close down 0.6% at $350.55.

The ICAO gathering comes as the FAA is meeting with international air regulators in Texas to discuss what steps are needed to return the 737 MAX to service, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is hosting MAX airline operators from across the world in Montreal.

Montreal-based ICAO cannot impose binding rules on governments, but wields clout through its safety and security standards which are approved by its 193 member states.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, David Shepardson in Fort Worth, Texas and Eric Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Bill Rigby)

Source: OANN

Shipping containers are seen at a port in Lianyungang
FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers are seen at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

May 23, 2019

By Doina Chiacu and Stella Qiu

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States and China had a heated exchange on Thursday, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies of lying about its ties to the government and Beijing saying Washington must end its “wrong actions” if it wanted trade talks to continue.

U.S. tech stocks were the hardest hit in an overall sharp global market drop on Thursday in signs the conflict between the world’s two biggest economies was being seen as a battle not just over trade but also about who controls global technology.

Citing national security concerns, Washington last week effectively banned U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms network gear maker, taking the stakes to a different level days after negotiators appeared to be making headway on trade.

Tech companies around the world fell in line. Japanese conglomerate Panasonic Corp said it had stopped shipments of some Huawei components, a day after British chip designer ARM did the same, potentially crippling the Chinese company’s ability to make new chips for smartphones.

Asked if he believed more firms would stop working with Huawei, Pompeo told CNBC in an interview on Thursday: “We do. We’ve been working at the State Department to make sure that everyone understands the risks.”

Pompeo said the chief executive of China’s Huawei Technologies was lying about his company’s lack of ties to the Beijing government, which he said represented a security risk.

“The company is deeply tied not only to China but to the Chinese Communist Party. And that connectivity, the existence of those connections puts American information that crosses those networks at risk,” he said.

   “If you put your information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, it’s de facto a real risk to you. They may not use it today, they may not use it tomorrow.”

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services.

U.S. HELP FOR TECH FIRMS, FARMERS

U.S. lawmakers moved on Wednesday to provide about $700 million in grants to help U.S. telecoms providers with the cost of removing Huawei equipment from their networks, and to block the use of equipment or services from Huawei and Chinese telecoms firm ZTE in next-generation 5G networks.

On Thursday, China’s Commerce Ministry hit back.

“If the United States wants to continue trade talks, they should show sincerity and correct their wrong actions. Negotiations can only continue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” spokesman Gao Feng told a weekly briefing.

“We will closely monitor relevant developments and prepare necessary responses,” he said, without elaborating.

No trade talks have been scheduled since the last round ended on May 10, when President Donald Trump hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and took steps to impose more, prompting China to respond with levies of its own.

Trump has threatened to slap tariffs of up to 25% on an additional list of Chinese imports worth about $300 billion, but his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said he was hopeful the two sides could resume negotiations.

Sources have said the talks stalled after China tried to delete commitments from a draft agreement that its laws would be changed to enact new policies on issues from intellectual property protection to forced technology transfers.

With no resolution in sight, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday announced a $16 billion aid program to help U.S. farmers hurt by the conflict, with some funds to be used to open markets outside China to U.S. products. Farmers have been among those hardest hit by the trade war.

Retailers, including Best Buy Co Inc and Walmart Inc, are also warning that the tariffs will raise prices for consumers. The newest round will cost the typical American household $831 annually, according to research on Thursday from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Pompeo also confirmed a New York Times report on Wednesday that China was using high-tech surveillance to set up an intrusive policing effort that could be used to subdue its minorities, including ethnic Muslim Uighurs.

The United States is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd over the issue, a person briefed on the matter said.

Also feeding into tensions, the U.S. military said it sent two Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, prompting Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang to lodge “stern representations.”

Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.

Trump, who has embraced protectionism as part of an “America First” agenda aimed at rebalancing global trade, is due to discuss the farmers’ aid program in remarks scheduled for 3:15 p.m. EDT (1915 GMT) at the White House.

He is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in Japan June 28-29, around the time when the next levies could be ready, according to Mnuchin’s calculations.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey in Washington, and Stella Qiu and Kevin Yao in Beijing; Writing by Andrea Shalal and Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled Wednesday that President Trump can’t block subpoenas House Democrats sent to two banks asking for financial documents related to his business. Photo: jane rosenberg/Reuters

WASHINGTON—The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is playing an unusually active role in federal courtrooms, where the fate of key Trump administration policies as well as the powers of Congress to investigate the president are at stake.

Douglas Letter, general counsel of the House, over the past two weeks has argued—and won—two cases involving congressional subpoenas seeking Trump financial records. That includes one Wednesday in which a New York federal judge announced his decision against the president from the bench on the same day as the hearing; typically days or weeks pass before rulings are issued.

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He has also argued a case on the legality of Mr. Trump’s plans to pay for a southern U.S. border wall without appropriations from Congress, and is set to present a second case on that issue Thursday in Washington, D.C., where the House sued the administration to block its plans.

“We’re going to do this as a traveling roadshow,” Mr. Letter joked Friday during an Oakland, Calif., court hearing in which he argued that Mr. Trump “cannot build this wall without Congress.”

The House general counsel last month argued in the Supreme Court against the Trump administration’s plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. And Mr. Letter’s office has persuaded a federal appeals court to allow the House to intervene in a case where Republican-led states are seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era health law that the Trump administration is no longer defending in court.

Other cases are likely coming soon, including a potential challenge to the Trump administration’s refusal to turn over Mr. Trump’s tax returns.

The House Judiciary Committee voted in May to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after he defied their request for an unredacted Mueller report. WSJ reporters break down what legal options Congress has for enforcing a subpoena. Photo Illustration: Nailah Morgan

Over recent decades, “the trend line seems to be toward an increasing amount of litigation between the executive and the legislature. We’re seeing a spike now,” said William Pittard, a lawyer with KaiserDillon PLLC who served in the House general counsel’s office from 2011 to 2016, when Republicans controlled the chamber.

Irvin Nathan, House general counsel from 2007 to 2010, when Democrats held the majority, said the current crop of court battles is unprecedented. “And it’s basically because of the scorched-earth policies of the Trump administration,” he said.

The legal face-offs are a byproduct of Mr. Trump’s deadlock with Democrats since they won the House in the midterm elections. Disagreement over a border wall led to a 35-day partial government shutdown, and when a congressional spending deal didn’t give the president the money he was seeking, he declared a national emergency as a way to access other funds without Congress’s approval.

Several House committees, meanwhile, have issued subpoenas for financial statements and other records from entities connected to Mr. Trump, saying the information is needed to evaluate ethics and conflict-of-interest issues stemming from the president’s personal financial holdings, as well as to explore questions related to banking regulations and any Trump empire links to foreign interests.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have accused Democrats of using the subpoenas as a political weapon against an adversary they don’t like.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) tapped Mr. Letter, a former top appellate official at the Justice Department, to be the House’s top lawyer once Democrats took control in January. His Justice Department service spanned four decades, where he defended executive branch prerogatives of both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Now fighting for legislative interests, Mr. Letter in his recent court appearances has told judges that Mr. Trump views Congress “as just a nuisance” and is disregarding the constitutional structure creating coequal branches of the government.

The general counsel has started some of his cases by thanking judges for their time on behalf of Mrs. Pelosi, to whom his office reports.

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“Tell her she’s welcome,” Chief Justice John Roberts responded in the census case, prompting laughter in the Supreme Court audience. Courtesies aside, the chief justice and other justices went on to question the arguments Mr. Letter was advancing. The high court is expected to decide the census case in June.

Mr. Letter has enjoyed smoother sailing in the subpoena cases, winning two rulings on behalf of House committees this week. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., ruled Monday that Mr. Trump couldn’t block a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee seeking Trump financial records from accounting firm Mazars U.S.A. LLP. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in New York allowed subpoenas by the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees requesting records on Mr. Trump’s business and family from Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp.

Mrs. Pelosi has pointed to the House’s early success on subpoena litigation as a reason for Democrats to hold back from pursuing impeachment of Mr. Trump.

Neither Pelosi representatives nor the general counsel’s office responded to requests for comment.

The House also was involved in high-stakes litigation when Republicans controlled the chamber during the Obama administration, though observers say there weren’t as many big cases all at one time.

The House in 2011 intervened in litigation to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriages. The Obama administration had abandoned a defense of the law and the Supreme Court struck it down in 2013.

In a 2014 lawsuit, the House, under Republican control, alleged the Obama administration was paying reimbursements to health insurers under the Affordable Care Act that Congress never appropriated. The House won a ruling that disallowed the payments.

A House committee also sued the Obama administration over documents it sought related to a botched gunrunning probe called Operation Fast and Furious. After years of litigation, the case settled in April, underscoring that a subpoena battle can have a longer legal life than a political one.

Write to Brent Kendall at brent.kendall@wsj.com

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The belief that the primary purpose of a business is to maximize profits for its shareholders is widely held across the country, from the boardrooms of the Fortune 500 to the classrooms of the nation’s top business schools. But this idea, which emerged in the 1970s and is now virtually assumed to be economic law, came under attack this week from a surprising direction.

Pro-business Republican Sen. Marco Rubio released a study warning of threats to the economy posed by excessive financialization. The well-researched, persuasive report highlights that private sector investment – defined as businesses using capital to purchase or build assets – has been in decline for decades, while the profits accruing to shareholders have dramatically increased. The report paints a bleak picture of an economy becoming less innovative, less competitive, and less rewarding for most of its participants.

Rubio lays the blame for this situation squarely at the feet of a business sector captured by the “ideology of shareholder primacy.” The report briefly mentions the evolving career choices of graduates of Harvard Business School while discussing America’s manufacturing decline. As a recent HBS graduate, I know that shareholder primacy theory is rigorously debated on campus by students and professors. But less often discussed is how the career choices of the school’s graduates are evidence of the ideology’s pervasiveness. The result is a staggering misallocation of some of the country’s most valuable human capital.

Harvard’s data shows that in the 1960s, 6% of HBS graduates pursued careers in finance; that figure is now over 30%, making finance the school’s most popular career field. Hedge funds, private equity firms, and investment banks are just the first order players. Over the last five years, 24% of the school’s graduates went to management consulting firms, whose rise parallels corporate America’s pursuance of shareholder primacy and its emphasis on financial initiatives like cost-cutting and merger diligence. The data shows 18% took jobs in technology, but it seems that Silicon Valley increasingly produces start-ups designed to maximize value for investors rather than pursue true innovation.

These career choices are not confined to Harvard. Data from Stanford and Wharton, two other top business schools, shows nearly identical trends. If you believe these findings, what they suggest is that many of this country’s future leaders work on behalf of an increasingly smaller group of shareholders rather than putting their talents and training to use in building, hiring, and inventing – the pursuits that result in economic development and shared prosperity.

The consequences are not just economic. The clustering of young talent in financial hubs has cultural and political implications. Over the last five years, an astounding 61% of U.S.-bound HBS graduates have landed in three cities: Boston, New York, and San Francisco. Those cities certainly have vibrant economies, but they generate just 15% of the country’s GDP and contain only 6% of America’s population.

Meanwhile, huge opportunities for leadership and wealth creation are being missed in other parts of the country and in other sectors of the economy. Texas, for example, is home to 9% of the country’s population and a dynamic economy that created one in seven new American jobs last year. Nearly 50 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the state, and several of its largest cities offer bustling start-up scenes. It is the epicenter of the shale revolution, arguably the most geopolitically important American innovation of the last two decades. Yet, over the same period, just 3% of HBS MBAs moved to Texas after graduation.

This is a complex issue, not easily distilled into a story of makers versus takers. And none of this is to say that finance or its practitioners are bad. On the contrary, financiers play a critical role in the economy. But, as Rubio’s report explains, in a healthy system they would take a back seat to industry, and industry would be allowed to reinvest its profits into less certain activities designed to yield greater amounts of long-term value.

The political and economic consequences of all of this should be the most worrisome. What happens to a country that sits by idly while a generation of its best minds congregate in a handful of cities, pursuing activities so out of sorts with the historic tenets of American capitalism? We are in the process of finding out. The political divides and the rise in income inequality that we see today are not random occurrences; they are at least in part caused by financialization and a fixation on the shareholder.

Our universities can and should play key roles in undoing these trends. It was the business schools and their faculties, after all, that helped normalize the theory of shareholder primacy. But it was not so long ago that they sought different, nobler ends. Donald David, the dean of HBS during the late 1940s, asserted that the ideal graduate would combine “competence in management” with the application of “social skill as to make his business a ‘good society,’” while demonstrating “the willingness to contribute constructively in the broader affairs of the community and nation.” The idea that managers have an obligation to do more than just return cash to shareholders – produce goods, create jobs, and lead their communities – is as relevant in an era of Sino-American economic confrontation as it was on the eve of the Cold War.   

Sam Long is a graduate of Harvard Business School. He is among the 31% of the Class of 2018 working in finance.

Source: Real Clear Politics

FILE PHOTO: IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Qualifying
FILE PHOTO: May 19, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NTT IndyCar series driver Fernando Alonso fails to qualify for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – McLaren boss Zak Brown shouldered the blame on Thursday for the team’s failure to qualify Fernando Alonso for this weekend’s Indianapolis 500 and said he would do things very differently next time.

Speaking to reporters at the Monaco Grand Prix, the American was confident there would be a return to The Brickyard but the post-mortem into what went wrong this year was still being carried out.

Brown said the reasons why McLaren felt they should be at Indianapolis had not changed and highs and lows were part of the sport.

“I think you have to dust yourself off, learn by your mistakes and come back fighting. So that’s what we intend to do,” he said. “To not do something is easy but that’s not what winners do.

“There’s very good reasons why McLaren should be in Indianapolis, it’s a big market and partners want to be there. Our motor business is strong there.”

Spaniard Alonso, a double Formula One champion and Le Mans 24 Hours winner who is chasing the so-called ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’, failed in regular qualifying and then finished fourth in a shootout for the last three grid positions.

A list of errors made by the team emerged subsequently, from having to scrounge a steering wheel at short notice to missing vital track time because the spare car was the wrong shade of orange and was elsewhere being resprayed.

Mechanics even confused inches with centimeters.

Brown said there had been “a lot of mistakes that snowballed”.

Bob Fernley, the man in charge of the McLaren Indy program, left immediately after the failure but Brown said that “ultimately it was a people issue, starting with myself, of not having all the bases covered and we just were unprepared.

“I got a variety of my decisions wrong. I think it would be unfair to blame Bob for us not qualifying. I put that on me because I put the team together.”

He said he had not wanted to cover anything up but some context was needed.

“It’s not like we showed up to the test and went ‘someone forgot the steering wheel’,” he said. “We were going to do our own steering wheel and we didn’t get it done in time. And you need a steering wheel.

“At Cosworth you can buy them off the shelf, they didn’t have any on the shelf. And so I had to pull some favors and (partners) Carlin helped to get us a steering wheel.”

After qualifying was over, there was talk about possibly buying Alonso a place with another team but that was not felt to be the right thing to do.

“When we do it again, I’ll make sure I’ve got all the right people in the right places,” said Brown, adding that the decision to continue would be independent of Alonso’s future.

“We were never doing Indianapolis for Fernando,” he said. “Whether Fernando wanted to drive with us or not wouldn’t drive our decision on whether we go back to Indy or not.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN


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