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

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
Stormy Weather
Confidential documents obtained by the Journal for the first time tie President Trump’s flagship holding company to the continuing effort to silence a former adult-film actress who says she had an affair with Mr. Trump. A Trump Organization lawyer, Jill A. Martin, is listed as counsel in an arbitration demand for Essential Consultants, a Delaware company formed by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and used to pay $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford in exchange for her silence, according to Feb. 22 arbitration documents filed in Orange County, Calif. At issue is a high-profile battle between Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and Ms. Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels. Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, has obtained a temporary restraining order against Ms. Clifford in the arbitration to stop her from talking about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. Ms. Clifford has asked a judge to declare the nondisclosure agreement invalid. The White House and Mr. Cohen have sought to distance the president from the porn-star pact and payment. Mr. Cohen has maintained he was acting on his own and has called it a “private transaction.” Mr. Cohen and White House representatives have denied any sexual encounter took place between Mr. Trump and Ms. Clifford.

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Drawing Blood
Elizabeth Holmes, widely hailed as Silicon Valley’s first female billionaire startup founder, has agreed to a settlement with regulators that strips her of voting control of Theranos, bans her from being an officer or director of any public company for 10 years and levies a $500,000 penalty. The deal was announced by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed civil securities-fraud charges against Ms. Holmes, Theranos and a former president of the company. Regulators alleged they raised more than $700 million from investors while deceiving them about the company’s technology. Ms. Holmes and Theranos, which also settled the charges, neither admitted nor denied any wrongdoing. The SEC began investigating Theranos after the Journal reported in October 2015 that the lab instrument developed as the linchpin of the blood-testing company’s strategy handled only a fraction of the tests sold to consumers. Some employees also were leery about the machine’s accuracy, the Journal reported. Theranos was valued at more than $9 billion at the time, and Ms. Holmes’s majority stake at more than half that.
So Last Decade
Ten years after the Bear Stearns bailout, Congress moved a step closer to relaxing the crisis-era restrictions placed on the banking industry, with Senate approval of a bipartisan plan to ease rules for small and midsize banks. Approved on a 67-31 vote, the bill—which has a good chance of becoming law—seeks to cut red tape and relieve lenders from some of the most onerous rules put in place after the financial crisis, including restrictions meant to limit the damage firms could cause to the economy. Supporters say the bill will spur more lending and boost the economy, but opponents argue it will bring back unnecessary risks to the U.S. financial system and harm consumers. The Journal’s Greg Ip writes that even though a big financial-firm collapse in the near future is exceedingly unlikely, another crisis isn’t.
Kudlownomics
A conservative economic commentator whose career included jobs in the Reagan White House, on Wall Street, and in radio and business television, will become one of President Trump’s top economic advisers as director of the National Economic Council. Lawrence Kudlow’s appointment comes after the departure of Gary Cohn following a dispute over Mr. Trump’s planned tariffs on steel and aluminum—which Mr. Kudlow has also spoken out against. Mr. Kudlow said he was offered the job after a series of recent phone conversations with the president in which the two discussed differences of opinion about trade, among other things. He was a strong supporter of tax cuts and deregulation championed by Mr. Trump. Mr. Kudlow’s appointment suggests Mr. Trump will continue to hear conflicting voices in the White House. The president has said he likes fielding competing views.
Shop ‘til You Fly
In the age of online shopping, retailers are finding that airports can take some of the sting out of declining mall traffic. These days, you don’t have to hold an international ticket to buy at many duty-free shops—and it actually can be a pretty good deal. The Journal’s Scott McCartney writes that major airports around the world, from Singapore to Dubai, London to Beijing, have essentially become shopping malls with gates. And the U.S. is finally starting to catch up. Just as they have upgraded restaurants and basic amenities, U.S. airports are finding they need to improve duty-free stores, which have become a necessity for many travelers who routinely stock up on perfume, cosmetics, alcohol and chocolate coming home from trips. Airports like duty-free shops because they get a cut of the revenue; luxury-goods makers like the chance to interact in person with shoppers; and customers like the convenience, savings and opportunity for capricious purchases.
TODAY'S VIDEO
Remembering Stephen Hawking
That Was Painless
Stephen Hawking, whose seminal theories shaped scientists’ thinking on black holes and the beginning of the universe, has died at the age of 76. The physicist was an iconic figure in academia and popular culture.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

Parties Look for Lessons in Pennsylvania Race as Democrat Declares Victory

Trump Floats Idea on Extending Dreamer Protections
WORLD

U.K. Expels 23 Russian Diplomats Over Poisoning of Ex-Spy

Slovakian Prime Minister Offers to Resign Amid Widespread Protests
BUSINESS

iHeartMedia Files for Bankruptcy, Reaches Restructuring Agreement in Principle

Disney Sets Stage for Succession Race With Operational Overhaul
MARKETS

What’s the Biggest Trade on the New York Stock Exchange? The Last One

Former Equifax Executive Charged With Insider Trading
NUMBER OF THE DAY
33,000
The estimated number of jobs at risk at Toys “R” Us after the 70-year-old chain, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, said it planned to sell or close its 735 U.S. stores.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
We are going to make change, and it’s already starting.
The address by Ty Thompson, principal of Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, whose students have taken to traditional and social media to help turn their own tragedy into a national campaign for tougher gun laws. Nearly 1 million students took part in demonstrations across the U.S. to protest government inaction on gun control.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Going back to our story above, what do you make of the documents that link the Trump Organization to the effort to silence Stormy Daniels? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Phil Nobile
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on President Trump firing Rex Tillerson and nominating Mike Pompeo to succeed him, Joshua Morris of Texas wrote: “Mr. Trump needs to be wary of surrounding himself with people who support what he already believes in as confirmation bias and talking into an echo chamber are no ways to run a government. Difference of opinion is critically important—just as the Democratic establishment—and he should be wary of reinforcing what he already believes instead of cultivating the many intelligent and diverse opinions of those ready to help and support him.” Frank Janecek of Alabama said: “I agree with the action but not the method. Rex Tillerson has been out of sync with the president from the beginning. I am surprised the president selected him for secretary of state. Mike Pompeo will add greatly to the State Department. He is a superb choice who will take President Trump’s message to the world. I think the transition will be smooth and needed before the tough negotiations ahead with North Korea.” And Craig Usswald of North Carolina replied: “Mr. Trump’s style—and probably insecurities—mean that he can only function with yes-men and -women. Like all of us, he does not know what he does not know, but in his case he assumes more than is realistic. Therefore he will acquire yes-men and -women as soon as the people who were hired for skill and experience refuse to leave his knee-jerk reactions and bizarre proclamations unchallenged. Frankly, I fear for anyone that shares his worldview, which is dominantly: ‘Where does Trump fit?’”

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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