Thursday, May 17
Transatlantic Trade Tiff Reignited: European leaders may have finally lost patience with Trump’s “America First” agenda. They agreed before a summit today in Bulgaria that the European Union won’t negotiate on trade unless the U.S. grants permanent exemption from tariffs on steel and aluminum, adding to disagreements over climate change and Iran. (Bloomberg Politics)
European Council President Donald Tusk pushed back with this tweet:
“Looking at latest decisions of @realDonaldTrump someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies. But frankly, EU should be grateful. Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions. We realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.”
Read more: EU Hardens Against Trump with United Stand on Trade and Iran (Bloomberg)
China trade deal? The brief exclusion of the White House’s chief China critic, Peter Navarro, from trade talks in Washington this week fueled speculation that Trump might be looking to cut a deal and end his market-roiling dispute with Beijing. The “Death by China” author was initially left out of talks with President Xi Jinping’s visiting economic envoys, before being reinstated yesterday. Top Trump Adviser Peter Navarro to Take Part in China Talks After All (Bloomberg Politics)
Most Read and Most Emailed on the Terminal (Last 24 Hours):
Harvard Economist Carmen Reinhart Says Emerging Markets Are in Tougher Spot Than During ’08 Crisis (Bloomberg)
Call it ‘Crossfire Hurricane’: The Secret Origins of the FBI’s Trump Investigation (New York Times)
The New York Times has a comprehensive look into the early days of the FBI’s Trump investigation, reporting this nugget: The code name for the investigation was based on an opening lyric from The Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Listen to the song here.
Climate Watch: Humans Are Causing Massive Changes in the Location of Water Around the World, NASA Says (Washington Post)
Businessweek Cover: A.I. Painted This.
Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual Sooner Than You Think issue is out today, taking a look at how artificial intelligence is driving cars, making money, exploring oceans … and freaking people out. This comes ahead of Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think Conference in Paris on May 22-23. Speakers include Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, John Chambers, Maurice Levy, Carlos Ghosn and Flavia Tata Nardini, who will discuss how AI will continue to revolutionize business, tech, and government.
Today in Tech.
Sheekey Daily Read Spotlight: Venezuela.
This today from Bloomberg Politics:
Trouble brewing. With oil reserves larger than Saudi Arabia’s, Venezuela should be among the world’s most prosperous nations. Instead, misery abounds as President Nicolas Maduro seeks six more years in elections Sunday with the nation in economic free fall and migrants fleeing his socialist regime. Billions of dollars in bonds are in default and there’s resignation the late Hugo Chavez’s protege is gambling what remains of the economy with a vote widely regarded as rigged.
Maduro, 55, has jailed his most potent rivals and driven Venezuela’s main opposition to boycott the vote. Victory could herald sanctions that choke off the oil lifeline after the U.S. threatened to punish the local crude industry if the election proceeds. Maduro this week spurned the regional Lima Group’s appeal to suspend the ballot. For disaffected Venezuelans, the daily struggle for food seems more pressing than politics amid hyperinflation that may reach 13,000 percent this year. Maduro and his main challengers, Henri Falcon and Javier Bertucci, draw sparse crowds.
Neighboring countries including Colombia and Brazil are struggling to cope with thousands of Venezuelan refugees. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he’s “extremely worried” the migrant outpouring may trigger a major regional crisis.
Bloomberg’s Life in Caracas series has more on the ground reports from Venezuela, including how in one barber shop, a haircut costs 5 bananas and 2 eggs.
Tweets from Washington.
@realDonaldTrump: Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History…and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction. The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!
@realDonaldTrump: Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI “SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.” Andrew McCarthy says, “There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.” If so, this is bigger than Watergate!
@realDonaldTrump: The Washington Post and CNN have typically written false stories about our trade negotiations with China. Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal. Our country has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year with China…
@realDonaldTrump: …We have not seen China’s demands yet, which should be few in that previous U.S. Administrations have done so poorly in negotiating. China has seen our demands. There has been no folding as the media would love people to believe, the meetings…
@realDonaldTrump: …haven’t even started yet! The U.S. has very little to give, because it has given so much over the years. China has much to give!
@joshrogin: Commerce Secretary Ross, yesterday: ‘Before landing in China, we sent them an extremely detailed list of our needs. And they responded with a similarly detailed — but as you can imagine, quite different — list of their proposals. The gap remains wide.’ cc: @realDonaldTrump
Best of late night.
“Today over 2,000 pages of testimony were released about the 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer. The president heard and was like, ‘You lost me at 2,000 pages. And lost me again at Don Jr.’”
“In the documents, Don Jr. admits he can’t remember if he discussed the Russia investigation with his dad. Meanwhile, his dad admits he can’t remember which one is Eric and which one is Don Jr.”
On a pet owner in China who was shocked to find out that her pet ‘puppy’ was actually a fox:
“It was a fox mistaken for a dog! You think that’s incredible? In this country there’s a Fox that gets mistaken for a legitimate news network.”
For more Best of Late Night from the New York Times click here.