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Balance of Power: A Day of Reckoning for Trump and May

Donald Trump plans to be in front of his television today, like the rest of Washington and millions around the world. The president and his legal team will gather in a White House dining room as time permits to watch James Comey describe his final months as head of the FBI.

Comey’s testimony to a Senate panel will recount Trump’s demands for loyalty, the president’s request that he sideline a sensitive investigation, and, of course, how Trump came to fire him.

Were the president’s actions improper? Definitely, lawyers tell Bloomberg News. Illegal? Probably not.

Trump has put together a rapid-response team to rebut Comey’s testimony, though it’s not clear whether he’ll let them do the work -- or take to Twitter himself.

Anyone who thinks today’s hearing will seal the fate of Trump’s presidency seems likely to be disappointed. Comey’s remarks are too cautious for that, though senators will try to push him with their questioning.

One thing does seem certain: The shadow he’s cast over the presidency -- “the cloud” as Trump himself called it -- will last long after today.

Click here to watch Comey’s live testimony starting at 10 a.m. ET on the Bloomberg Politics homepage.

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James Comey swears in to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington on May 3, 2017.
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Global Headlines

Britain votes today | Prime Minister Theresa May’s boldest move to date -- calling early elections -- might just be her last. What began as a coronation has become a closely fought contest as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn displayed an unexpectedly common touch, May made unforced errors and the campaign focused on security and austerity as much as Brexit. Polls still show May’s Conservatives will win, but they can’t agree by how much. And that margin could prove crucial to both her and the country’s future. For more on the vote, see our Brexit Bulletin.

Eight nerds in a sealed room | At a secret location in London a handful of voting scientists are hunched over laptops producing the first authoritative projection of the today’s result. While the rest of us remain in suspense, Robert Hutton writes, interviews with thousands of voters will already be giving politics professor John Curtice and his crew an idea how the election is shaking out. 

Senators in the spotlight | The Senate hearing has the ingredients of a blockbuster -- drama, mystery and Russia. With major TV networks planning live coverage, it’s an opportunity for senators to make a mark, both on Trump’s future and perhaps on their own careers. Steven T. Dennis profiles some of the key figures to watch.

France’s revolving door | The Emmanuel Macron revolution is gathering pace and this month’s parliamentary elections are promising a wholesale change in the legislature. But there’s one facet of the ancient regime that the new president isn’t prepared to touch: government workers running for office still get to keep their old jobs for life. And as Gregory Viscusi explains, that means conflicts of interest. 

Japan in the shadow of the bomb | Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party wants him to consider building bomb shelters and running evacuation drills in case North Korea attacks. While Japan has lived with Pyongyang's weapons for years, Kim Jong Un’s regime is ramping up its nuclear threat and fired another volley of missiles Thursday, its 10th test this year.

The alliance against Trump | Angela Merkel’s campaign to buttress the global order against Trump’s presidency reaches Latin America. On a three-day trip to Argentina and Mexico the German chancellor is looking to shore up support on trade and climate change before she meets Trump again at the G-20 leaders summit in Hamburg next month. 

Iranian hardliners vow revenge | The elite Revolutionary Guards said they’d avenge yesterday’s attacks in Tehran and pointed the finger at Iran’s nemesis, Saudi Arabia. That risks aggravating the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf. Trump did little to ease the tension, capping his condolence statement with a warning that “states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.” Iran called Trump’s comments “repugnant.”

And finally... With polls narrowing, there’s a wide a range of possible outcomes for the U.K. election. A Conservative majority of 100 seats would give May an “unassailable position for the next five years,” while a Labour majority shocker could radically change the direction of Brexit. Thomas Penny and Svenja O'Donnell take a look at five scenarios that investors could wake up to on Friday and what they mean for markets.

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