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Flynn Pleads Guilty: The Political and Legal Risks

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guilty plea from a retired U.S. general wasn’t even the biggest bombshell in a milestone day for the probe into Russian election meddling. Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn also agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, giving prosecutors a way into Trump’s inner circle. U.S. stocks plunged on the report, sliding the most in three weeks. Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake writes that it is “alarming news for Donald Trump. But the first person it’s likely to jeopardize will be the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.”—Katie Robertson

Flynn is said to have reached out to  Russia at Kushner’s behest. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents and is providing cooperation that promises to take Mueller deep into President Trump’s administration. Speaking in court as part of his plea agreement, Flynn described a series of conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, in late December as the Trump team prepared to enter the White House—talks that he said were instigated by a “very senior member” of the Trump transition team. That person was reportedly Jared Kushner.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans have the votes to pass their tax bill. The Senate bill is headed for a round of marathon votes with the goal of holding a final vote by Friday. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz had one of his biggest victories as a senator: helping stop in its tracks a plan late Thursday to add $350 billion in tax increases to the bill to placate fellow Republican Senator Bob Corker’s worries about the deficit.

Bitcoin heads to Wall Street whether regulators are ready or not. Two U.S. exchanges, including the parent of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, are racing to embrace bitcoin, dragging federal regulators into a realm skeptics call a fad and fraud. Both got the green light on Friday to offer bitcoin futures. The moves are a watershed for Wall Street professionals who have been eager to bet on cryptocurrencies but worried about doing so on mostly unregulated markets.

Stock wealth surges for the oldest Americans, while the young miss out. Many households reduced their equity investments from 2007 to 2016, but those headed by people aged 75 and over loaded up. The numbers suggest a generational change: The first wave of Americans who saved via 401(k)s is moving deeper into retirement, and they’re not enticed by bonds. 

America’s shale boom might end up being too good to be true. Researchers at MIT have uncovered one potentially game-changing detail: a flaw in the Energy Department’s official forecast, which may vastly overstate U.S. oil and gas production in the years to come. Their research suggests that total production from new wells could undershoot the estimate by more than 10 percent in 2020.

Cryptocurrencies are a hot new job skill. Bitcoin-related job postings on LinkedIn jumped more than ninefold in the financial services industry over the past three years and 4.6 times in the software technology industry. While interest in bitcoin started with technologists and hobbyists, more people are now listing it as a skill on their LinkedIn profiles.

The easiest cocktails to make for all your holiday parties. If you’re hosting a party, the question of what drinks to serve is almost as pressing as gift lists. According to the experts, the trick is to not overthink it. Try one of these simple can’t-fail recipes.

Photographer: Matt Taylor-Gross

 

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