Your Evening Briefing
Want to receive this post in your inbox every afternoon? Sign up here.
In Cupertino, some of tech’s best and brightest are slamming into glass walls. In Utah, Mitt Romney is making his Senate run official. In Connecticut, WWE is plotting world domination. On Wall Street, investors are rethinking the old "buy the dip" maxim. And in Washington, all hell is breaking loose on the 2016 election meddling front, just in time for a long weekend—Presidents Day, no less. There will be no newsletter Monday. See you Tuesday. —Sam Schulz
Mueller accuses Russians of pro-Trump, anti-Clinton meddling. In an indictment of 13 Russians and three entities, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller described a years-long, multimillion-dollar conspiracy to influence the U.S. presidential election. According to prosecutors, hundreds of Russians used social media, fake rallies and secretive operatives in the U.S. to create “political intensity,” criticize Hillary Clinton and support Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, including by stealing Americans’ identities to use PayPal to buy Facebook ads.
The indictment suggests a broader conspiracy than Mueller has charged, saying grand jurors heard about others involved. His prosecutors are also still investigating whether Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere, a source told Bloomberg. Meanwhile, intelligence authorities are concerned enough about this year’s midterms that they're giving state officials classified briefings on risks to their electoral systems.
Like so many oblivious birds, Apple’s iPhone-distracted employees keep smacking into the glass walls of their fancy new headquarters. The building, praised as an architectural marvel, is surrounded by 45-foot-high glass panels and filled with “pods” made of glass. And enough staff have been walking into the panes that some began marking them with Post-It notes—which were promptly removed for marring the aesthetic. Chalk this up to the hazards, perhaps, of letting function follow form—or just of texting while walking.
With Trump in the White House, fear of gun control has receded, and so have gun sales. (Bullet prices, however, have risen.) When Barack Obama was president, sales generally rose after a mass shooting on fears of new restrictions—fears the gun lobby stoked, despite a lack of significant legislative effort by the Obama administration. But with Republicans now in control, there’s no urgency to get to the gun shop. That means Remington’s bankruptcy could be just the tip of the iceberg, and distributors could be the next victim of the industry’s political success.
“Don't be fooled: Russia attacked U.S. troops in Syria,” writes Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake. “There is overwhelming evidence that those Russian contractors were working at the behest of the Kremlin,” which knew U.S. troops were in the area they attacked, he writes. “Considering that mercenaries … are a key part of Russia's broader strategy and tactics, it's also important for the U.S. to deny Moscow its plausible deniability. Russia needs to be told, going forward, that an attack by its mercenaries will be treated as an attack by its armed forces.”
Brexit is bringing layoffs to the British car industry, and things could still get worse. Being split off from their biggest market means carmakers’ recent job cuts and production slowdown could be just a prelude to wholesale shutdowns. Already, the industry is scrambling to adjust to the transition to electric cars and government plans to phase out gas and diesel engines. Post-Brexit, tariffs and other hurdles to trade could prove disastrous for it, since parts routinely move across borders several times during the manufacturing process.
A short-seller tweeted he’d take down a CEO. Then the FBI showed up. Agents paid a visit to the man’s farm weeks after he tweeted that he’d “bury the little fella in a shoe box.” It was a novel turn in what, until then, seemed like a familiar struggle between a public company and investors betting on its fall. The episode has sparked a dispute over whether the tweets merited intervention or whether the feds overstepped, and over how the messages came to the FBI’s attention.
Denali gets its first (and last) luxury hotel. One of the most luxurious lodges in Alaska, and one of the most remote anywhere, has just opened on a rocky glacier outcropping, or nunatak, smack in the middle of Denali National Park. From its wraparound windows, the resort’s guests—no more than 10 at any given time—can watch the Northern Lights dance around the sky or survey an endless horizon of jagged peaks blanketed in untouched snow.