In a new report, the agency’s inspector general has sharply criticized former FBI director James Comey for his handling of the email scandal involving ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But while it called his actions — which included telling Congress in late 2016 he was re-opening the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server — “extraordinary,” it also found no indications Comey was driven by political bias. Other FBI officials, meanwhile, showed a “willingness to take official action” to thwart President Donald Trump’s election, the report says.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Barbara Underwood is seeking to dissolve President Donald Trump’s eponymous charitable organization over what she says has been an array of illegal activity, from self-dealing to violating campaign finance laws. Filed with the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the lawsuit offers a scathing rebuke of Trump and his family, whom Underwood accused of “persistent illegal conduct.” That includes settling legal disputes and using the Donald J. Trump Foundation as “little more than a checkbook.” Underwood, who took office last month, is seeking $2.8 million in restitution.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that economic restrictions will stay in place against North Korea until they demonstrate “complete denuclearization.” Critics have been skeptical of the lack of detail in Tuesday’s joint statement signed by President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. Meanwhile, the White House is expected to officially order the suspension of annual military drills with South Korea, which Trump announced Tuesday — seemingly without advance warning to Seoul or the Pentagon.
While Sen. Jeff Merkley was recently denied entry to Casa Padre, one of dozens of Texas shelters coping with an influx of children from the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policies, the facility opened its doors yesterday to a small group of journalists. Inside the former Walmart building they reported seeing doorless bedrooms, a cafeteria and a prominent mural of President Trump. Young detainees are allowed two hours outside per day, and two phone calls per week — and while the shelter currently houses 1,469, authorities continue to up its capacity.
They’ll never crack this code. The technology giant says its new iOS fixes a security flaw that allowed unauthorized access to an iPhone through its data port. Police in at least five states and five federal agencies have used GrayKey devices to crack suspicious phones, but the new fix cuts communication with the port after the phone’s been locked for an hour. Apple, which fielded 30,000 national-security data requests last year, says it has “the greatest respect” for law enforcement and that blocking police hacking was an unintended side effect.
Top that. The global telecommunications giant has offered $65 billion to buy much of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment and international assets, besting Disney’s bid of $52 billion. Observers believe the move — which comes a day after a federal court approved the merger of AT&T and Time Warner — will trigger a bidding war. Both cases illustrate the broader attempt by major media companies to gain a foothold against tech powerhouses like Netflix and Google. Fox shareholders are due to vote on the Disney deal July 10.
Know This: Elon Musk has won a contract to build a high-speed autonomous train between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport. A mega-storm on Mars is threatening NASA rover Opportunity. Rep. Steve King of Iowa is under fire after re-tweeting a prominent Nazi sympathizer. And today, OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Finland: Find out about the country’s unbridled coffee culture.
Remember This Number: 220 billion tons. That’s how much ice Antarctica is now losing per year, scientists say, meaning the rate of melting has tripled since the last assessment in 2012.
Don’t Miss Out: Be sure to catch OZY politics editor Daniel Malloy on McClatchy’s Beyond The Bubble podcast discussing our new partnership, Ground Game, to explore the most pivotal midterm races of 2018.
Eureka! The plan to create three separate states named California, Southern California and Northern California will get a public vote after collecting over 400,000 supportive signatures. The ballot proposal — funded by billionaire Tim Draper, an early Skype investor with a history of backing similar state-splitting schemes, as OZY reported in 2016 — argues that California is so big and diverse that it’s “nearly ungovernable.” Even if voters agree, the plan would need congressional approval and would likely face legal challenges on the state and federal level.
The Finnish line is out of this world. Despite never having sent a citizen into orbit and only launching its first satellite last year, the Nordic country’s gaining speed in the space race. Its booming startup scene includes Collective Crunch, which uses space-sourced data to survey forests, and the Space Nation app, which tests users’ astronaut abilities — and has promised to send one person per year into orbit. And that might just be the beginning: The European Space Agency plans to significantly increase funding for Finland’s cosmic startups.
They grow up so fast. The country’s national legislature, the Diet, approved a package of amendments to its civil code yesterday allowing 18- and 19-year-olds to marry, apply for bank loans and get credit cards without parental consent. Taking effect April 1, 2022, the change won’t affect the legal age for drinking, gambling and smoking, which remains 20. But the new regulations bump the legal marriage age for women up to 18 from 16. In 2015, the Diet lowered the voting age to 18.
The 95-year-old’s business manager, Keya Morgan, is accused of “unduly influencing” and “isolating” his client. Lee’s former lawyer, whom he fired in February, has filed paperwork on Lee’s behalf for a temporary restraining order. Morgan was recently arrested for calling 911 on adult protective services and police officers who were making a wellness check on Lee. While the Marvel legend posted a video reaffirming his partnership with Morgan a few days ago, he now claims it was made under duress. Los Angeles police have opened an elder abuse investigation.
There could be penalties. Tamara Pletnyova, who oversees the parliamentary Family, Women and Children Committee, says local women should avoid having sex with foreign soccer fans who have flocked to Russia. Referring to the stigma on out-of-wedlock babies born after the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Pletnyova lamented, “It’s the children who suffer.” She added, “If they’re of a different race, it’s worse.” Russia has been scrambling to control racist hooligans and convince FIFA that players of color won’t be harassed during the tournament, which begins today.