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06.16.17 | 3:01 pm

Here are the CEOs who will probably attend Trump’s next tech summit

It's round two for the Trump administration's outreach to Silicon Valley. After angering a great many American businesses (and losing Elon Musk's participation) for pulling out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the White House is convening a meeting of tech CEOs again to talk about how they can help modernize the U.S. government (something that was well under way during the Obama years).

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner (the hardest-working man in Washington) will convene the first meeting of the American Technology Council on June 19, though attendance is still a bit unclear. Media reports and Fast Company's reporting say that 11 CEOs have been invited. Likely attendees based on multiple reports and our own research are:

* Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt
* Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
* Apple CEO Tim Cook
* IBM CEO Ginni Rometty
* Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
* Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz
* Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf
* VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger (representing parent company Dell Technologies)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly been invited, but his attendance has not been confirmed. We'll update this roster as we learn more.

[Photo: DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley]

06.05.17 | 10:57 am

This Twitter bot turns all of Donald Trump’s tweets into official White House statements

Kellyanne Conway thinks the media is overly obsessed with President Trump's Twitter feed. "This obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president," she said this morning in a snappish exchange with the hosts on TodayWhen MSNBC's Craig Melvin noted that Twitter appears to be the president's preferred method of communication, Conway replied, "That's not true." But the reality is, Trump hasn't held a press conference in three weeks, opting instead to tweet his thoughts to the nation.

Now, there's a new Twitter bot that turns the president's tweets into official White House statements. The RealPressSecBot is an inane service that serves as an important reminder that not only are Trump's tweets a matter of the public record (yes, that means future generations can debate the true meaning of "covfefe"), but that the president's Twitter feed is— for better or worse—serving as an official form of communication from  the current resident of the White House. 

[Photo: Flickr User Gage Skidmore]

05.24.17 | 12:30 pm

Tourism taking a big hit in the age of Trump 

Donald Trump claims he wants to make the U.S. borders impervious to "bad hombres," but turns out he's making the borders nearly impervious to just regular old tourists, too. A new study by Foursquare reveals that since October 2016, tourism has tumbled in the U.S. by as much as 16%. Foursquare analyzed share of leisure visits by international tourists to the U.S. and found that the decline in tourism began in October 2016 (aka right before the election). Its decline continued through March 2017, when it dropped all the way to -16%. According to Foursquare, there is no sign of recovery. It's not just Foursquare, either. Earlier, reported that international air searches to the U.S. were down by 12%.

The decline comes in the wake of the Trump administration's crackdown on undocumented immigrants with or without criminal records, deportations of lawful immigrants, laptop bans, and the so-called Muslim ban that was widely denounced and thrown out by the federal courts (twice). Those policies have made tourists from the Middle East and Central and South America think twice about coming to the U.S., because why risk being turned away at the U.S. border when you could rent the entire country of Sweden.

[Photo: Flickr user hjl

05.17.17 | 11:47 am

Trump does Uber and Lyft a favor with law that lets federal workers expense ride-sharing

The ride-hailing industry is getting a boost today. The U.S. government has passed into law the Modernizing Government Travel Act, which allows federal employees on official business to expense rides from Uber and Lyft. The government has been tight-fisted about covering employee travel since 2012, when hundreds of government employees were treated to a swanky conference in Las Vegas. It's yet to be seen what official travel budgets will look like under Trump. 

04.18.17 | 11:11 am

Donald isn’t the only Trump whose old tweets may come back to haunt him

Back in 2012, in a move that Miss Manners has not yet weighed in on, Ivanka Trump tweeted out a thank-you card to then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for joining the family as they opened the new Trump Towers complex in Instanbul. Fast-forward five years and President Trump is congratulating now-President Erdogan on narrowly passing a controversial referendum that gave the autocrat wildly increased powers and may have decreased Turkish democracy.  

The New York Times reports that most people in Turkey don't connect Istanbul's Trump Tower with the man responsible for the travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries ("O.K. — we're leaving!" said one young Turk when he was told the news). However, people in the U.S. certainly draw a line—and Ivanka's old tweet just makes it even clearer. Might be a good time to reread Kurt Eichenwald's story on how Trump's business ties are jeopardizing U.S. interests.

04.03.17 | 11:44 am

Donald Trump can apparently take money from his trust whenever he wants

Jimmy Carter famously sold his peanut farm to avoid any semblance of an ethics breach as he took the presidency. Almost as famously, instead of divesting from his extensive business and real estate holdings, President Trump opted to set up a blind trust with his sons at the helm. At the time, Trump's lawyer explained that the president "was completely isolating himself from his business interests."

But a new report from ProPublica casts some doubt on that statement. The researchers dug into a report from the General Services Administration and found a new clause in Trump's trust documents that allows the president to take income from the trust whenever he wants.

The clause reads:

The Trustees shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request, as the Trustees deem necessary for his maintenance, support, or uninsured medical expenses, or as the Trustees otherwise deem appropriate.

The language allows Trump to take income or principal "at his request," and because both the trust and Trump Organization are privately held, he doesn't need to disclose it. Read the full story from ProPublica.

03.14.17 | 8:19 pm

Tonight we may finally see Donald Trump’s tax returns

Everyone on Twitter sat up straight in their seats this afternoon when Rachel Maddow tweeted that she has the president's long-awaited tax returns—and plans to talk about them on her MSNBC show at 9pm ET this evening.

Maddow will be joined by David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer-Prize-Winning investigative reporter and tax expert who wrote the Trump biography, The Making of Donald Trump.

The White House has already responded to the story, before it's even aired, by saying "you know you are desperate when you willing to violate the law…" and claiming that Trump paid $38 million on an income of $150 million in 2005.

03.01.17 | 9:13 pm

Alec Baldwin joins the parade of comical Trump-related books with “sharp, fantastic” parody

Fake Trump Alec Baldwin and longtime Trump watcher Kurt Anderson will pen a parody book channeling the president's inner monologue. Titled You Can't Spell America Without Me, the book is scheduled for publication by Penguin in November. Anderson, a novelist and the host of the public radio program Studio 360, will do most of the writing—"we have that arrangement whereby he doesn't put on the wig, I don't open up a Word document," Baldwin told the Times, while Baldwin will channel his SNL character for the audiobook version. Anderson, who said the book would be "fantastic" and "sharp," will also likely draw upon his experience as a founding editor of the satirical Spy magazine, which in the '80s now famously referred to the then-real estate mogul as a "short-fingered vulgarian."

It's part of a tremendous wave of new books inspired by the Trump administration. 

This month, Scott Dikkers, founding editor of the Onion, published Trump's America: Buy This Book and Mexico Will Pay for It. Andrew Shaffer's The Day of the Donald, published last summer, was a slapstick vision of the first two years of a Trump White House. Booker Prize winners have also incorporated Trump into their work: Howard Jacobson's novella Pussy, forthcoming in Britain in April, is a fairy tale about an egoist who falls into a leadership position, and Salman Rushdie's The Golden House, to be published in September, is said to include a character resembling the 45th president.

Last year, comedian Michael Ian Black and illustrator Marc Rosenthal published A Child's First Book of Trump, a picture book that attempted to explain the man and the phenomenon. And last summer, Yuge! anthologized 30 years of Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury comic strips lampooning Trump. Back in the '80s, Trump blasted Doonesberry as "mediocre at best."

02.03.17 | 7:21 am

“Rising alarm” over Trump’s immigration policies has some tech companies thinking about moving out of the country

In response to the president's executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, several technology company officials are considering crossing the border to more welcoming lands, the Washington Post reports:

"Some tech companies are now considering whether to move jobs out of the United States to places with more relaxed immigration policies, such as Vancouver, B.C., and Dublin, which have made clear they would welcome an influx of U.S.-based immigrant technology workers."

01.31.17 | 5:39 am

Trump will leave Obama’s protections for LGBT intact

With a ban on some Muslims entering the country and the firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, many in the LGBT community have worried if they are next to feel repercussions. But the New York Times reports that in at least one area, they are safe for now: Trump's White House says it will not repeal a 2014 Obama administration order that banned companies that carry out federal work from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.

01.27.17 | 12:06 pm

How a Google Doc grew into an anti-Trump political movement

It started with a tweet and a Google Doc full of typos. Now it's a national organization called Indivisible with over 4,500 local affiliates committed to overturning Republican control of Congress. If the strategy sounds familiar, that's because the group, led by former Democrat congressional staffers, is taking the playbook from the Tea Party's success in retaking Congress from the Democrats after Obama's election.

The liberal playbook, called Indivisible Guide, was cobbled together as a crowdsourced Google Doc among about 30 people between Thanksgiving and Christmas, going live on December 14. "We thought that we could help people to understand the daily actions that they could take to really make a difference," says Sarah Dohl, one of the cofounders. Some of it was common sense: Don't waste time calling House Speaker Paul Ryan if you don't live in his congressional district. Focus instead on lobbying your own members of Congress, especially in person at their local office and public events.

Today the group became a formal organization, filing for nonprofit status. Dohl says that over 600,000 people have come to the site looking for an affiliate to sign up with. 

01.27.17 | 6:42 am

Kremlin: Putin and Trump will talk on Saturday

The world leaders will have their first known direct communication since Trump was sworn in as president, reports Bloomberg. The talk will take place by phone, though the Kremlin said it doesn't expect "substantive discussions on the whole range of issues" facing the two nations.