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In his tweets Friday, Trump accused Mueller of having a conflict of interest because of his friendship with Comey, who succeeded him as FBI director. Comey and Mueller weren’t known to be particularly close friends, although they reportedly had a working friendship. Trump’s decision to fire Comey last year as he carried out the Russia investigation partly led to the special counsel’s appointment. Comey is slated to appear before House members at 10 a.m. ET Friday in a closed-door session.

The president also claimed he does not know Jerome Corsi, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who recently predicted Mueller could indict him. However, Corsi claimed last month that he has phone records showing he spoke four or five times to Trump in 2011, as they discussed the “birther” smear against President Barack Obama, according to NBC News.

Trump questioned what Mueller would include in a long rumored report that he could release to summarize the investigation, which the president again called a “total Witch Hunt.” The special counsel may not release an actual report about the probe.

He claimed Mueller had conflicts and again accused the ex-FBI director and his team of being Democrats who support his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton. While three of Mueller’s lawyers made contributions to Clinton, according to Politifact, Republican President George W. Bush appointed the special counsel as FBI director.

Mueller is a lifelong Republican. Rosenstein, who appointed him as special counsel, is also a longtime registered Republican. Comey was a Republican, as well, until only recently.

Trump also again claimed that Mueller should look into Clinton, rather than the president.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on Trump’s tweets.

Mueller is investigating Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Moscow.

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg meets UK culture secretary to discuss regulation

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Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.

Chesnot | Getty Images

Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is meeting with a British official Thursday to discuss internet regulation and fake news.

Zuckerberg will speak with U.K. Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright at the firm’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, about a U.K. government plan to regulate tech companies over how they tackle harmful content online.

Another topic high on the agenda will be the spread of disinformation on the web, a government spokesperson said, an issue the social network has faced heightened scrutiny over globally.

“I look forward to meeting Mr. Zuckerberg to discuss what more Facebook can do to help keep people safe on their platforms, as we prepare a new regulatory framework that will reinforce Facebook’s and other tech firms’ responsibility to keep us safe,” Wright said in a statement Thursday.

Britain’s Home Office and the culture department are due to release a white paper where they will lay out their strategy to counter issues like cyberbullying and child abuse content online. Reports have said the report could include a proposed regulator similar to Ofcom, the media watchdog, to monitor social media.

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Russian-backed ethane company hires lobbying firm connected to Trump

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A lobbying firm run by former advisors to President Donald Trump is representing American Ethane Company, an energy producer funded by Russian billionaires that is involved with a Chinese aluminum company.

Turnberry Solutions, a lobbying group run by former Trump campaign advisor Jason Osborne, has signed American Ethane as client, according to a new lobbying disclosure form. The filing was posted on the Senate lobbying disclosure website on Tuesday.

The document shows that Osborne and Ryan O’Dwyer, who previously was a special assistant to the secretary of Agriculture and a senior public liaison to Trump’s inaugural committee, will be the lobbyists representing American Ethane on trade and energy issues.

American Ethane touts a contract it signed with the Nanshan Group, an aluminum production company based in China. The development also comes as the Trump administration is engaged in high-stakes trade talks with the Chinese government.

“Ryan O’Dwyer and I were hired to help a U.S. company get permits issued to them to fulfill a contract signed during a signing ceremony between President Trump and President Xi,” Osborne told CNBC. The deal was signed at a ceremony in November 2017 in front of Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping.

Osborne also explained that their work entails getting members of Congress in Louisiana and Texas to submit official inquiries through the U.S government and the Chinese government in the hopes their contract would be honored.

Turnberry also touts former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and one-time Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as senior advisors. Zinke resigned from the administration last year amid numerous ethics investigations and complaints, while Lewandowski has reportedly continued to advise Trump from an outside position.

The filing lays out the top two foreign investors backing the ethane producer. Konstantin Nikolaev, a Russian billionaire with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion, is listed as an investor with a 30 percent stake in the company.

According to Forbes, Nikolaev and his business partners own a 34 percent stake in Globaltrans, Russia’s biggest private rail transport operator. Another financier is Andrey Kunatbaev, a Russian billionaire who helped start TV-3, a Russian entertainment channel, according to American Ethane’s website. Kunatbaev is also a member of the companies board, the website says.

It’s unclear how much American Ethane is paying Turnberry for their lobbying services.

American Ethane CEO John Houghtaling did not return requests for comment.

Turnberry signed with the Russian-backed energy firm as the White House continues to be haunted by suspicions about the president and his associates’ potential connections to the Kremlin. Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with the Russian government as part of efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.

Turnberry also lobbies for wireless company T-Mobile and energy management company Redhorse Corporation, among others.

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Samsung foldable phone ‘potential challenge’ for Apple: Goldman Sachs

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Samsung’s new foldable phone represents a challenge for Apple in the iPhone maker’s luxury device market, Goldman Sachs warned clients.

The Galaxy Fold includes “a compelling form factor that only Samsung’s foldable OLED technology can deliver,” Goldman analyst Rod Hall told clients in a note Wednesday. “Should that form factor spark consumer interest we would expect Samsung to delay access to the technology for Apple. We see this as a potential problem for Apple this year though the lack of a device at this point drives us to reserve judgment.”

The latest gadget from Samsung is the first consumer-ready foldable smartphone. Samsung, which revealed the phone on Wednesday, said the device can easily fit in a user’s hand like a traditional phone but can expand to tablet size to watch videos. It has a hefty price tag: nearly $2,000.

Samsung’s unveiling also came at a time when shoppers — and phone makers — are scrambling to find innovative features to justify increased prices in the $1,000 range for high-end consumer products. Apple shares fell 0.1 percent in premarket trading Thursday following the Goldman Sachs note.

“Just as with the very popular Motorola RAZR devices back in the featurephone era, we see foldable screens as a compelling form factor,” Hall added. “We see this as challenging for Apple, who could find themselves with no access to the critical flexible OLED technology for which we believe Samsung has at least a two year lead over other display competitors.”

Apple shares are little changed over the last 12 months. The stock is up 9 percent this year but still trail the overall market.

Samsung first made known a prototype of the Galaxy Fold in November, when it promised to bring the device to market “soon.” The Galaxy Fold operates on a version of Google Android that automatically adjusts for both tablet and phone modes.

Samsung stock is up more than 20 percent in 2019, bouncing off decline of over 20 percent in 2018.

— CNBC’s Todd Haselton contributed reporting.

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