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posted on 17 May 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Dow Futures Down, Oil, Dollar Down, Gold Up, OPEC Rough Road, The Trump Pit Gets Deeper, Comey Documented Trump Mtgs, And More

Written by Econintersect

Early Bird Headlines 17 May 2017

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.


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Note: There is not much news tonight that can compete with "that Russian thing" (President Trump's words). Our opinion is that, as Nixon was impeached for his actions following a crime in which he had no complicity, the possibility suddenly seems present that Trump could be impeached for his actions following events in which he may have had no complicity. Even more astounding is the possibility he could be impeached for his actions regarding events that may not even have occurred.

Early Bird tonight is concentrated on the explosive developments in "that Russian thing".


  • Dow futures tumble on Trump political woes and Asian markets fall as safe-haven yen climbs (CNBC) Asian markets were mostly lower on Wednesday, with Dow futures tumbling and the safe-haven yen climbing amid political and legal turmoil surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of rival currencies, was down at 98.087 at 8:38 a.m. HK/SIN. Light crude futures were down 1.05% at $48.15 a barrel and Brent was off 0.91% at $51.18 after prices of each fell around 1% overnight. Spot gold climbed 0.6% to $1,243.34 per ounce by 0422 GMT, after earlier touching its strongest since May 3 at $1,244.70. Gold has risen for five days straight. U.S. gold futures were up 0.6% at $1,243.20 an ounce.


  • OPEC Risks Deal Fatigue as Maintaining Oil Curbs Get Tougher (Bloomberg) OPEC impressed oil traders this year by making almost all the supply cuts it promised. Keeping output down will only get harder. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners are expected to extend output curbs into early 2018 when they meet next week, in an ongoing bid to clear a global surplus. Yet the tailwinds that made cutting supply easier in the first half of the year -- from a seasonal lull in demand to temporary oil-field maintenance -- will be gone just as new obstacles are emerging.


  • Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation (The New York Time) President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting. “I hope you can let this go," the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings" of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey. See also Comey Memo Could Thrust Trump Into a Deeper Legal Quagmire (Bloomberg)

  • White House disputes explosive report that Trump asked Comey to end Flynn probe (Fox News) The White House grappled late Tuesday with the political ghost of James Comey, as an explosive new report said a memo written by the ousted FBI chief claimed President Trump once asked him to end the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The White House sharply disputed the report, as Democrats seized on it as potential proof of "obstruction" of justice. See preceding article.

  • GOP nears total exasperation with Trump (The Hill) Exasperated Republicans in the House and Senate are growing tired of having to defend President Trump. Daily dramas from the White House are increasingly frustrating Republicans on Capitol Hill and threatening to derail the party’s agenda heading into the midterm elections.

  • Trump disclosure of classified intel may have endangered spy: report (The Hill) President Trump’s reported disclosure of classified information may have put an Israeli spy’s life at risk, according to current and former U.S. officials. The spy, who was placed by Israel inside ISIS, provided intelligence on an active ISIS plot to bring down a passenger jet plane to the United States, ABC reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the plan was to hide a bomb inside a laptop that could get through airport screenings, and the information was reliable enough to lead the U.S. to consider a laptop ban n flights from Europe to the United States.

The spy reportedly offered that information at the request that the source remain confidential.

The New York Times on Tuesday reported that the highly classified information Trump revealed to Russian diplomats at a recent White House meeting came from Israel.

  • McMaster: Trump didn't know where intel came from (The Hill) National security adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday said President Trump did not jeopardize intelligence assets by revealing highly sensitive information to Russian officials, adding that Trump did not know where the intel came from. Speaking to reporters at the White House, McMaster disputed the “premise" of media reports that Trump put intelligence sources in jeopardy by disclosing the information, saying it was “wholly appropriate" for the president to discuss.

"The president in no way undermined sources or methods in the course of this conversation,[the information could be found in] open-source reporting."

  • Following advice, potential FBI chiefs steer clear of job under Trump (Reuters) The Trump administration's search for a new FBI director hit roadblocks on Tuesday when two high-profile potential candidates, a moderate judge and a conservative senator, signaled they did not want the job. Advisers to Judge Merrick Garland and U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas told Reuters they discouraged them from leading the Federal Bureau of Investigation, cautioning that they would be leaving important, secure jobs for one fraught with politics and controversy. The advisers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the new FBI director would have little job security and heightened scrutiny by political observers following President Donald Trump's abrupt firing of James Comey on May 9.

  • Sanders: 'Trump doesn't fully understand' being president (The Hill) See preceding article. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind) hit President Trump on Tuesday, questioning whether the commander in chief knows "what being president of the U.S. is about." Sanders said:

"I think, for whatever reason, Donald Trump doesn't fully understand what being President of the US is about. When you sit in a room and by the way exclude American media and only have Russian people coming in, and then you tell Russians highly classified information that is endangering our security as a people.... this is a big deal."


Indeed, if this were a film, viewers would say that it is too far-fetched to be believable. Yet, it seems clear that someone at the centre of what might be the biggest US political scandal since Watergate may well be set to coordinate global counter-terrorism efforts.


  • Chinese state media says U.S. should take some blame for cyber attack (Reuters) Chinese state media on Wednesday criticized the United States for hindering efforts to stop global cyber threats in the wake of the WannaCry "ransomware" attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide in recent days. The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) should shoulder some blame for the attack, which targets vulnerabilities in Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) systems and has infected some 30,000 Chinese organizations as of Saturday, the China Daily said. "Concerted efforts to tackle cyber crimes have been hindered by the actions of the United States," it said, adding that Washington had "no credible evidence" to support bans on Chinese tech firms in the United States following the attack.

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