Weekend Reads From Balance of Power

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It was a week of triumph for President Donald Trump, as he clinched a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, secured the release of prisoners from the reclusive regime, and walked away from the Iran nuclear deal. It was also one of damage control at home.

Here are those and some of Bloomberg’s other best political stories from this week. Happy reading!


Trump Salvo by Daniels’s Lawyer Forces Global Damage Control
Erik Larson reports on the scramble by companies from South Korea to Switzerland to justify how they came to deposit money in the account of Trump's lawyer and long-time fixer, Michael Cohen.

Italy Finally Falls to the Forces of Populism
Alessandra Migliaccio and Ben Sills write how Italy, the European Union’s fourth-largest economy, will be ruled by populists, a signal that Europe’s struggle with anti-establishment forces is far from over.

Trump Heads Into Kim Summit Adept at Breaking Not Making Deals
Toluse Olorunnipa explains the president’s biggest challenge as he heads to meet Kim: The president is adept at torpedoing deals, but so far he hasn’t been able to replace any of them.

Mexicans Love AMLO, But Investors Don’t
Nacha Cattan and Monte Reel profile Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the candidate who has a 20-point lead in opinion polls ahead of Mexico’s July 1 presidential election.

CIA Choice Haspel Won't Condemn Waterboarding But Says It's Over
Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, who once oversaw techniques that critics condemn as torture, pledged during her Senate confirmation hearing that she won’t reinstate them. But she also refused to condemn them, Nafeesa Syeed reports.

Democrats Move Left While Avoiding Suicidal Tea Party Tendencies
Sahil Kapur explores how Democrats, sidelined in the Trump presidency, are quelling an internal rebellion that’s challenging establishment-friendly candidates and is reminiscent of the Republican Tea Party activists under the Obama administration.

Chinese Missiles Are Transforming the Balance of Power in the Skies
Marc Champion reports that a quarter century of American military air superiority is coming to an end as China leverages a tech boom to create new air-to-air missiles.

Peter Thiel in Eye of Iran Storm as Deadline Looms for Trump
The Silicon Valley billionaire — and Trump supporter — emerged as an unlikely player in the international debate on the nuclear deal. Jonathan Tirone tells why.

Comeback Kid: Mahathir, 92, Has Big Plans to Fix Up Malaysia
Ruth Pollard, Jason Koutsoukis and Anisah Shukry profile 92-year-old political veteran Mahathir Mohamad, who has big plans for Malaysia after a surprise election victory that ended the ruling coalition’s 61-year grip on power.

And finally… Fabiola Zerpa and Noris Soto report on Venezuelan soldiers joining the hundreds of thousands fleeing their economy’s collapse. It poses a quandary for Nicolas Maduro, who’s running for re-election in a May 20 presidential ballot. Separately, read about the country’s emerging bartering system, as cash-strapped people trade everything from haircuts to parking fees to get by.

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