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Donald Trump is bringing some unwanted baggage on his first foreign trip as president. He departed Friday for an eight-day journey through the Mideast and Europe, where he'll meet with key allies. The controversy over his firing of FBI Director James Comey and the ongoing investigation into possible links between his campaign and Russia could boil over, adding to the list of blunders with his foreign counterparts.
But if the trip goes well, Margaret Talev and Jennifer Jacobs write, "It would offer a sort of lifeline: a chance for Trump to arrest rising anxiety about his capacity to fill the role as leader of the free world." –Emily Banks
Student loan defaults are a bonanza for the debt collection industry: Americans pay $38 to collect $1 of student debt. The federal government has, in recent years, paid debt collectors close to $1 billion annually to help distressed borrowers climb out of default. New government figures suggest much of that money may have been wasted.
Chaos has taken hold in Brazil. The impeachment of one president was traumatic. The prospect of another spreads dread and disbelief across Brazil. On Thursday, federal police raided politicians’ homes, helicopters droned over the capital city, markets collapsed and a defiant President Michel Temer declared he wouldn’t step down.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Trump’s decision to fire the FBI director was the right call. But Rosenstein said a memo he wrote sharply criticizing Comey’s handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was a “candid internal memorandum” that wasn’t intended as “a statement of reasons to justify” the director’s dismissal.
Iranians are voting Friday in a presidential election that will either hand Hassan Rouhani a second term to pursue his engagement with the world economy, or see control of the nation’s top elected office lurch back to conservatives whose antagonism to the West left Iran isolated. Echoing recent elections around the world, the campaign centered on populist claims. Most opinion polls have showed Rouhani ahead of his main challengers, but analysts saw a tight race.
Cadillac does a great Tesla impression, it turns out, for about 30 miles at least. That’s roughly when the battery runs dry on its new CT6 hybrid sedan. For the next 400 miles, the stately vehicle uses gasoline to mimic a BMW. As the auto industry’s luxury giants slowly turn their big guns toward Elon Musk, they are launching a wave of machines to weaken his defenses.
Trump will fit in just fine in the Middle East, writes Jon Finer for Bloomberg View. The region's autocratic leaders disdain the press, demonize outsiders and treat politics like a family business–which sounds more than a little familiar, writes Finer, who was chief of staff and director of policy planning at the State Department under Secretary of State John Kerry.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting of a skull sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in New York on Thursday. The result ended up smashing Andy Warhol’s $105.4 million auction record and making Brooklyn-born Basquiat the most expensive American artist at auction. Basquiat died in 1988. Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, founder of a Japanese fashion website and a new force in contemporary art, bought the painting from a family who had purchased it for $19,000 in 1984.