It looks like Michael Bloomberg, founder of the eponymous financial data firm, is eyeing a run at the White House. The move, which the Financial Times quipped was one New York Billionaire trying to replace another as president, surprises no one, as Bloomberg has been hinting at his run for some time. He has given over $100m to Democratic candidates for the midterm elections, something a staffer said was “a hell of a lot of IOUs”. Bloomberg will be 78 years old in 2020.
FINSUM: Speaking purely from a competitive standpoint, we have mixed feelings about whether he would be a good candidate for the Democratic party. On the one hand, he is more centrist than a lot of other Democrats, so could get some Republican votes. But on the other, he is also a New York billionaire, which could turn some off.
It has just been announced that New York state is opening a tax probe into the Trump family. The scope of the investigation will be extensive, digging into the president’s inheritance form decades ago. The investigation was prompted by an extensive article published by the New York Times which alleges fraud in Trump’s tax affairs. The NY state department of taxation said it was “vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation”. The New York times alleges that Trump undertook “dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud”.
FINSUM: Here comes another potential legal headache for Trump.
Interesting news out of the media-shy Mueller investigation today. Two prosecutors on Mueller’s team are leaving or have already left the probe. The departures come following the prosecution of Paul Manafort. The news comes after an announcement in August that two other prosecutors had already left the probe. The newest departures mean there are 13 members remaining on Mueller’s team. James Comey comments that the investigation may be in its “fourth quarter” following the Manafort plea.
FINSUM: It looks like the Mueller investigation is either winding down or falling apart. Either way it seems likely it may finally conclude.
The trouble for Supreme Court justice-nominee Kavanaugh continues to pile up. Not only has one woman come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, but now another has done so. Kavanaugh is set to give testimony, along with his accuser, on Thursday, but just as this was decided, a new accuser (this from his college years) has come forward. In a rare television interview, Kavanaugh confirmed yesterday that he had not sexually assaulted anyone, ever, and that he would not be withdrawing from the nomination hearings.
FINSUM: This is a very high stakes nomination considering the midterm elections are looming. There are certainly more fireworks to come.
On the surface, the US seems to have a major upper hand in its trade war with China. Simply put, they export a lot more to the US than we do to China, which means that they have more to lose than we. However, looking closer at the imposition of the US’ attest tariffs, a significant weak spot emerges. That weak spot is that the US has become overly reliant on some very niche but important Chinese exports. Mot of these are things people have never heard of, like carbonate esters and fluorine salts, both used for electric car batteries. Nonetheless though, they are very important, and 297 such imports were recently exempted from the US tariffs.
FINSUM: Barite (for oil and gas exploration) and Ibuprofen, are other crucial imports. This is one of the pressure points where China could simply cutoff supply and the US would be in a difficult position.
The special counsel investigation that started as an investigation into the Trump administration’s connections to Russia, but has blossomed into an all-encompassing dragnet, has been quite quiet of late. However, the FT reported today that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has been cooperating with Mueller and his team, particularly on the topic of Russian interference. According to Cohen’s lawyer, his client has provided “critical information” to the special counsel regarding Russia.
FINSUM: It is hard to know how whether the information he passed along was valuable, but it could be a hint that there is another bombshell about to hit headlines.