Daily briefing: Trump Russia saga, the US pumps up, why clever people live longer

Donald Trump Jr was told in an email the Russian government was attempting to aid his father’s candidacy, says the New York Times

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

Questions over Russia’s involvement in Donald Trump’s election victory refuse to go away. The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, was told in an email that the Russian government was attempting to aid his father’s candidacy, according to the New York Times. This was not long before he arranged a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, appears to be connected to Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, who met Trump senior at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. To further complicate the story, Mr Agalarov and his father are real estate developers in Russia who claim to have a warm relationship with the Trumps.

The White House has attempted to play down the meeting but the administration is again on the defensive about a pattern of not disclosing Kremlin contacts or providing false information about them. Mr Trump’s son retained a private lawyer on Monday and pledged to work with Congress. (NYT, FT, WaPo, Reuters)

In the news

Fed banking watchdog selected
Donald Trump will nominate Randal Quarles to the role, one of his most significant decisions to date in the realm of financial regulation. He is seen as a moderate, mainstream Republican choice but there are critics of the self-described “Wall Street lawyer”. (FT)

Isis fights back
Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, may have declared victory over the jihadi group in the battle-scarred city of Mosul, but Isis fighters are still a force to be reckoned with. They have gained control of a village south of Mosul and are expected to reinforce their hold on the area as they are pushed away from their larger, urban stronghold. (Reuters, FT)

US pumps up
America will quadruple its crude oil exports to volumes greater than most Opec members by 2020, according to PIRA Energy. As one expert put it: “This is very bad news for Opec.” (FT)

Tokyo’s rushless hour
The governor of Tokyo has launched a new campaign that could make commuters being shoved into packed trains a thing of the past. The two-week experiment aims to encourage companies to adopt more flexible working hours so employees can report for work outside of peak travel time. (NAR)

UK lawyers head to Ireland
Nearly 1,000 UK lawyers in England and Wales have registered in Ireland in the year since the EU referendum — at least 10 times the regular annual number. They fear losing the right to represent clients in European courts after Brexit. (FT)

Body of Christ not gluten-free
So says the Vatican, at least. The unleavened bread that Roman Catholics use in the celebration of Mass must contain some gluten, the church said in a directive. It may help to relieve some of the confusion surrounding church doctrine on gluten as communion breads become more widely available. (NYT)

The day ahead

May day
A severely weakened UK prime minister will give a speech admitting that she needs a new approach to running the country after her party lost its parliamentary majority. Today’s speech, at the launch of a review into the gig economy, comes the day after Theresa May issued an appeal for cross-party co-operation. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

What we’re reading

Brexit and the prospect of national humiliation
Gideon Rachman on how the UK faces a range of uncomfortable outcomes from negotiations with the EU: “Britain appears to face a choice between three different types of humiliation.” (FT)

Why clever people live longer
New research appears to reinforce “system integrity theory” — that people with high IQs live longer because they may be genetically blessed with an exceptional physiology, and this “optimal bodily functioning” leads to both a high IQ and resistance to disease. Anjana Ahuja explains why this is so controversial. (FT)

Life support for GOP healthcare plan
Some time in the next few days the US Senate will either scrap most of Barack Obama’s signature achievement — the 2010 Affordable Care Act — or they will abandon the effort for failure to find the votes. Either way, America is at a fraught crossroads in its never-ending healthcare saga. (FT)

Cars as private spaces
Iranian women are defying the religious authorities and refusing to wear headscarves while driving. The move has prompted a nationwide debate over whether the car is a private space where strict dress codes do not apply. (Guardian)

The uninhabitable earth
David Wallace-Wells on when climate change might render the world inhospitable to human life — causing famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us — and why it could happen sooner than you think. On the flipside, here’s climate scientist Michael E Mann on why he’s no fan of the doomsday message Mr Wallace-Wells employs. (NYMag, Facebook)

Video of the day

Bitcoin’s existential crisis
The crypto currency that was invented to disrupt traditional banking is under strain as its popularity grows. The rise in transactions has forced its administrators into a hard decision. FT Alphaville’s Izabella Kaminska asks: to fork or not to fork? (FT)


Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.