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The 10-Point: My Guide to the Day's Top News

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
He’s Fired
President Trump on Tuesday unexpectedly fired FBI Director James Comey, plunging Washington into confusion and immediately intensifying calls for a special prosecutor to assume control of the highly sensitive investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The reason for the firing, according to White House and Justice Department officials, was Mr. Comey’s much-criticized handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The White House said Mr. Trump relied on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and newly installed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Democrats were quick to emphasize the questions raised by a president’s firing of an official who was in the middle of investigating his administration and campaign. We report that in the months before Mr. Comey’s dismissal, frustration was growing among top associates of Mr. Trump that the FBI director wouldn’t publicly tamp down questions about possible collusion with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. We also look at Mr. Trump’s possible picks for the next FBI chief.

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Course Correction
Ford’s directors are pressing Chief Executive Mark Fields to sharpen his strategy as the company races to catch up on electric cars, reverse the shrinking of its U.S. market share and buoy its languishing stock price. Company directors, gathering this week in Dearborn, Mich., ahead of the annual shareholders meeting Thursday, scheduled an additional day of talks Tuesday to address growing uncertainty about the auto maker’s course. Ford has been solidly profitable since Mr. Fields became CEO in July 2014, but its stock price has fallen by about a third in that period. Mr. Fields is pushing to retool the company for an industry that is migrating to new technologies. Amid uneven progress, he has come under criticism for insufficient focus on conventional businesses that still account for the bulk of profits.
Turkish Clash
Mr. Trump approved plans to directly arm Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State in Syria, U.S. officials said Tuesday, paving the way for an offensive against the extremist group’s de facto capital but angering Turkish allies who view the Kurdish fighters as terrorists. The decision to arm the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militia the U.S. considers its most reliable military ally in the country, comes after a long debate within the Trump administration. This sets the stage for the YPG and its Arab allies to launch an offensive on Islamic State in Raqqa, one of the extremist group’s last major strongholds in the region. But it also complicates Mr. Trump’s efforts to repair U.S. relations with Turkey, which reached a low point at the end of the Obama administration.
Losing Focus
After taking down walls to create open offices and foster lots of interaction and collaboration, some companies are finding they have done the job too well. All of this social engineering has created endless distractions that draw employees’ eyes away from their own screens. Visual noise—activity or movement around the edges of an employee’s field of vision—can erode concentration and disrupt analytical thinking or creativity, research shows. Being visible to bosses and colleagues can make some workers feel pressured to conform to others’ expectations, says one senior workplace expert. While employers have long tried to quiet disruptive sounds in open workspaces, some are now combating visual noise, too. Possible solutions can be as low tech as strategically placed plants or drabber wall colors.
TODAY'S VIDEO
What’s Next?
That Was Painless
WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib examines how Mr. Comey’s exit affects the investigations into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

Medicaid Expansion Transformed a Community—Now the Bill Is Coming Due

Interior Secretary Tours Utah Monument Under Review
WORLD

U.S. Pushes for More Troops, Leeway in Afghan Fight

German Soldiers Allegedly Planned Assassinations to Be Blamed on Migrant
BUSINESS

Disney’s ESPN Looks to an Online Future, as Cable Subscribers Decline

Coke’s New CEO James Quincey to Staff: Make Mistakes
MARKETS

French Insurer AXA Plans to List Shares in U.S.

Wood and Workers Squeeze Housing Market
NUMBER OF THE DAY
$22.2 billion
Net flows out of U.S. equity funds—money withdrawn minus money invested—during the seven weeks that ended May 3, the largest seven-week redemption in more than a year. Investors are moving billions of dollars into Europe and developing economies, making a fresh wager that these regions’ growth potential is starting to look more promising than that of the long-favored U.S.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
It’s always been the same plan for people from Honduras and El Salvador: Do everything you can to get to the U.S. ... But crossing the border, especially with little kids, has gotten very dangerous. The best option for our family is to stay here.
Rafael Linares on fleeing his home in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, after getting death threats from one of the world’s most violent drug gangs. Rather than heading to the U.S., Mr. Linares and his family are staying in Mexico. The number of people apprehended on the southwest border trying to enter the U.S. fell to its lowest level in nearly two decades in recent months.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Returning to our story above, what is your reaction to Mr. Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Margaret Rawson
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on the VIX’s drop to its lowest level since 1993, Hillary R. Gredell of Missouri said: “How does that old adage go—that still waters run deep? Just because the VIX isn’t indicating a market drop, things could easily swing the other way if an Affordable Care Act repeal causes jobs to be lost and recent auto-sale statistics are truly a harbinger of slowing consumer demand.” James Hausberg of California wrote: “The volatility as measured by the VIX is all about low interest rates and stable credit markets. Sure, the VIX could move if there were a shock to the equity markets but that would be short-lived. It’s when the credit markets tumble that you’ll see the VIX move.” And Tom Lindholtz of California shared: “I wonder if the flattening of VIX is due to a perfect storm of increased flow of assets into index funds, differences in the way older vs. younger people view the objective of investing, and the demographic change brought on by the aging and retirement of the baby boomers.”

This daily briefing is named "The 10-Point" after the nickname conferred by the editors of The Wall Street Journal on the lead column of the legendary "What's News" digest of top stories. Technically, "10-point" referred to the size of the typeface. The type is smaller now but the name lives on.

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