March 25, 2019 / 2:33 PM / a month ago

Monday Morning Briefing

Mueller finds no Trump-Russia conspiracy but some questions left unresolved, UK Prime Minister Theresa May battles to keep control of Brexit and Apple invites Hollywood to Silicon Valley in TV push. Catch up on the latest headlines.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he returns from a weekend in Florida at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Mueller Report

In a political victory for President Donald Trump, Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. The long-awaited report marked a major milestone in his presidency as he prepares for his 2020 re-election battle. “This was an illegal takedown that failed,” Trump told reporters on Sunday.

Mueller’s findings on obstruction of justice, however, were inconclusive. Many of Trump’s opponents had accused the president of undermining the investigations that have dogged his presidency, namely when he fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017. Though Mueller himself did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump broke the law, he presented his evidence to U.S. Attorney General William Barr to make a determination. Barr said in a summary released on Sunday (which you can read here) that Mueller’s team had not found enough proof to warrant bringing charges against Trump.

So, what is next for Trump? The president’s political victory does not mean he is in the clear - he still faces multiple investigations into his business and other aspects of his political campaign. Democrats are launching a wave of probes from Capitol Hill and are pressing Barr to release the entire report so they can draw their own conclusions. If he does not do so, expect a protracted tug-of-war that could end up in court.

Brexit

Nearly three years since Britain’s EU membership referendum, it is still unclear how, when or if Brexit will ever take place. Brexit had been due to happen on March 29th before Prime Minister Theresa May secured a delay with the EU. Now a departure date of May 22nd will apply if parliament passes May’s deal. She hopes to hold another vote this week. She is under pressure to give a date for leaving office as the price to bring Brexit-supporting rebel lawmakers in her party behind her deal. If she fails - for the third time - Britain will have until April 12th to offer a new plan or decide to leave without a treaty.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people marched through central London to demand a new referendum. March organisers estimated that more than one million people turned out for the march, which would make it London’s second biggest demonstration after a rally against the Iraq War in February 2003.

Business

“It’s show time.” Those are the words Apple are using to bill an affair they are hosting today, where they are expected to finally lift the curtain on a secretive, years-long effort to build a television and movie offering designed to boost digital services revenue as iPhone sales taper. Apple has commissioned programming from A-list names such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

Boeing will brief more than 200 global airline pilots, technical leaders and regulators this week on software and training updates for its 737 MAX aircraft. Ethiopian Airlines has expressed confidence in the planemaker, and will work with Boeing to make air travel safer, its chief executive, Tewolde Gebremariam, said. Regulators this month grounded the worldwide fleet of the aircraft following a crash that killed 157 people.

Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans says it was understandable for markets to be nervous when the yield curve flattened, though he was still confident about the U.S. economic growth outlook. In what many see as a bad omen for the economy, yields on benchmark 10-year treasury notes fell below three-month rates on Friday for the first time since mid-2007, an inversion that has in the past signaled the risk of recession.

EU antitrust regulators have fined Nike $14.14 million for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products of five European football clubs and a football federation. The European Commission said U.S. sportswear maker’s illegal practices occurred between 2004 to 2017 and related to licensed merchandise for FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan, AS Roma and the French Football Federation.

World

Ten children, part of the same extended family, were killed by a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan, along with three adult civilians, the United Nations said on Monday. The children and their family had been displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will cut short his trip to the United States after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv wounded seven people.

Two major political parties have raised doubts about the accuracy of Thailand’s election results after a party linked to the military took a surprise lead in the popular vote count that suggested the country’s junta chief could remain in power.

Two Russian air force planes landed at Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to media reports, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.

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