Trump claims Obama launched Russia probe to help Clinton – Axios

Trump claims Obama launched Russia probe to help Clinton

President Trump fired off a tweet targeting the Obama administration on Monday, claiming that the decision to investigate the Trump campaign in the months before the 2016 election was motivated by wanting Hillary Clinton to win.

The facts: The FBI opened an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow in July 2016, after the DNC announced it was hacked by Russians. About a month later, Obama was informed that Vladimir Putin was directly involved in election meddling, but former administration officials say there were limitations to what they could do. [Go deeper: Trump’s question about Obama and Russian meddling — answered]

Democrats may have already won the House

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks while House Speaker Paul Ryan listens. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Top Republicans sound increasingly resigned to losing a special House election in Pennsylvania Trump Country a week from today, after party-affiliated groups spent more than $9 million on a race that should be a “gimme.”

It’s one of the increasingly bearish signs for the GOP ahead of November’s midterms, with mammoth stakes for the West Wing: If Dems take the House and there’s a Speaker Pelosi, President Trump faces endless subpoenas and perhaps impeachment proceedings.

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Old oil seeks Silicon Valley swag

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

HOUSTON — One of the world’s largest energy conferences is focusing more than ever on new technologies helping big oil and gas companies cut costs and carbon emissions.

Why it matters: The spotlight on new tech underscores how the high-carbon parts of the energy industry are trying to embrace the future of low carbon and high tech. The extent to which this conference evolves reflects the very evolution of the sector itself.

Tax cuts will save health care companies billions — but not patients

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Health care companies will add tens of billions of dollars to their bottom lines this year thanks to savings from the Republican tax cut package. But only a fraction of that money will benefit patients.

Why it matters: Even though a lower corporate tax rate frees up more cash for a health care system that more patients are finding increasingly unaffordable, patients should not expect the health industry’s windfall to lead to lower premiums, reduced prices or major industry changes.

Google growth helps turn NYC into tech hub

NYC’s signature yellow cabs zoom by Google’s office. Photo: Tim Clayton / Corbis via Getty Images

“Google is reportedly close to reaching a $2.4 billion deal to add a landmark Meatpacking District building to its already substantial New York campus,” AP’s Karen Matthews reports.

Why it matters: “[I]t would be among the priciest real estate transactions for a single building in city history. It would also give Google a remarkable Manhattan campus to supplement its still-growing main headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.”

How Christopher Steele compiled the dossier

“Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier: How the ex-spy tried to warn the world about Trump’s ties to Russia,” writes Jane Mayer in The New Yorker.

Key quote: “It’s too early to make a final judgment about how much of Steele’s dossier will be proved wrong, but a number of Steele’s major claims have been backed up by subsequent disclosures.”


Courtesy of the New Yorker

Bannon: “The party of Davos will implode”

Bannon. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

The globe’s populist wave rolls on with Italy’s election the latest in a series of blows to the world’s establishments.

Steve Bannon emails me from Milan: ‘The Party of Davos’ will implode … The market [this] morning should be a tad choppy — Populist Eurosceptics in Italy; TrumpTrade Unchained in America.”

Inside Vanity Fair’s after-party

Beverly Hills City Hall provides a Hollywood-lit backdrop for the Vanity Fair soiree. Stars have so many parties that they often don’t hit Vanity Fair, the toughest ticket, until 1 a.m.or later. Photo: Axios

Vanity Fair’s Oscar Party, which starts when the telecast ends, is a paradise for power people-watching: Chelsea Handler, winners toting their statuettes, Jon Hamm, James and Lachlan Murdoch, Preet Bharara, Tyler Perry, Danny Glover, Jeff Bezos chatting with Jared Leto, Evan Spiegel, Robert Kraft, and on and on.

Radhika Jones, Vanity Fair’s new editor, continued the tradition, and Axios takes you inside the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

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Oscars dominated by messages of equality, female empowerment

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Hollywood and Madison Avenue embraced the historic #MeToo movement on Sunday, blanketing the 90th Academy Awards with ads, speeches and tributes around women’s rights, racial equality and social good.

Why it matters: A year of reckoning around these issues has awakened the conscience of the country, and particularly the entertainment industry, which has publicly parted ways with dozens of executives and several shows due to sexual harassment accusations.

Merkel the survivor: Putting her longevity in perspective

A G8 summit in 2008. Merkel is the only participant still in office. Photo: Koichi Kamoshida / AFP / Getty Images

It took five months and a good deal of hand-wringing, but Angela Merkel has secured a coalition and will form her fourth government — putting her on course to lead Germany until 2021. 

The other side of the coin: Merkel’s longevity is an outlier. As news of her coalition agreement broke, Italians were heading to the polls, yet again. In the 12 years Merkel has been chancellor, Italy has had six prime ministers — one of them twice (Berlusconi).