FirstFT: Biden joins calls for Cuomo to resign


World updates

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Joe Biden called on Andrew Cuomo to resign after an investigation found that the New York governor violated state and federal laws by sexually harassing numerous women.

The US president’s statement came after the release of a devastating 168-page report by New York state attorney-general Letitia James.

The five-month probe revealed a “deeply disturbing yet clear picture” of a toxic workplace in which the three-term Democratic governor abused current and former state employees by groping, kissing or touching them against their wishes, and bombarded them with sexualised comments.

Prominent Democrats called on Cuomo to go after the report was published yesterday. “I think he should resign,” Biden said bluntly at a press conference. New York’s two Democratic US senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, renewed their calls for his resignation as did Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

But perhaps more tellingly close ally Carl Heastie, the Speaker of the state’s legislative assembly, appeared to abandon Cuomo as did Eric Adams, recent winner of the Democratic primary for New York City mayor.

Cuomo, who was praised for his early handling of the Covid pandemic, forcefully denied the allegations in a 15-minute address following the report’s publication. He did not take questions from the gathered reporters.

Thanks for reading today’s FirstFT Americas. It is always great to hear from our readers. Do you think Cuomo can survive this political crisis? Let me know, or share any other feedback you have on the newsletter with me at — Gordon

Five more stories in the news

1. Archegos employees face losing up to $500m in bonuses Employees of Archegos Capital Management face losses of about half a billion dollars after the value of a deferred pay plan set up by the firm crashed along with its other investments.

2. Gary Gensler seeks new powers to regulate crypto The chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission has called on Congress to give his agency additional powers to protect investors in “Wild West” cryptocurrency markets. Gensler told a conference yesterday: “This asset class is rife with fraud, scams, and abuse.”

  • More cryptocurrency news: Singapore is set to grant regulatory consent to an Australian cryptocurrency exchange called Independent Reserve that will allow it to offer digital payment token services in the Asian city-state.

3. SoftBank acquires $5bn stake in Roche The Japanese tech group has acquired a $5bn non-voting stake in Swiss drugmaker Roche through its unit that was responsible for the “Nasdaq whale” trade, according to two people with knowledge of the transaction. 

4. Trump-backed candidate wins Ohio special election Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican party was bolstered yesterday when a coal lobbyist endorsed by the former president defeated 10 fellow Republicans in a closely watched special election in Ohio.

5. Jair Bolsonaro faces probe over election fraud claims The Brazilian president’s legal problems have multiplied after a court opened an investigation into his unsubstantiated warnings of voter fraud in elections next year, which could lead to him being disqualified.

Tokyo Olympics round-up

Japan’s Sakura Yosozumi
Japan’s Sakura Yosozumi, 19, won the women’s Park competition in skateboarding, capping a dominant display for the host country in the sport’s Olympics debut © AFP via Getty Images
  • Japan’s teenage skateboarders continue to dominate the Olympic competition to the delight of the host nation. Sakura Yosozumi, 19, won the women’s Park competition today, followed by compatriot Kokona Hiraki, 12, who won silver. Britain’s Sky Brown, 13, claimed bronze in one of the youngest slates of athletes ever fielded at the Olympics.

  • Sydney McLaughlin broke her own world record to win gold in a thrilling 400-metre hurdles race for the US. Fellow American Dalilah Muhammad, the defending Olympic champion and former world record holder, claimed silver.

  • Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah became the second person, after compatriot Usain Bolt, to win the 100-metre and 200-metre sprint competitions at consecutive Olympics, running the second-fastest time in women’s history in the longer race to clinch gold.

  • Sifan Hassan, who arrived in the Netherlands as a 15-year old refugee from Ethiopia, is embarking on an unprecedented distance running challenge: she is hoping to win the 1500m and 10,000m races after blowing away her rivals in the 5000m final.

Add ‘Tokyo Olympics’ to myFT for all our coverage from the Games, and don’t miss our “alternative medals table”.

Coronavirus digest

  • The White House has announced a new, three-month evictions moratorium that will protect an estimated 90 per cent of American renters.

  • New York City will require proof of vaccination for a variety of indoor activities from dining to health clubs and concerts, the city’s mayor has announced.

  • The UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme is to be extended to 16- and 17-year-olds.

  • Daily coronavirus infections are rising in India again after weeks of steady decline, fuelling anxieties about the threat of a third wave in the country.

  • Full vaccination halves the transmission of the Delta variant of coronavirus and is 60 per cent effective at preventing symptoms of Covid-19, according to new research.

Without the correct absorption capacity — the infrastructure to get jabs in arms — Covid-19 vaccines will go to waste, writes Tony Blair, former UK prime minister. Sign up for our Coronavirus Business Update newsletter and follow the latest developments on our live blog.

The day ahead

PMIs Data provider IHS Markit releases flash purchasing managers’ index figures for July, covering the manufacturing and services sectors. The Institute for Supply Management updates its non-manufacturing index, providing further insight into the strength of the economic recovery.

Corporate earnings Carmaker GM, ride-hailing company Uber and consumer goods group Kraft Heinz all report second-quarter earnings today while Fox Corporation releases fourth-quarter results. Read our full earnings list.

Central bank policy Federal Reserve board vice chair Richard Clarida is due to speak on the US economic outlook and monetary policy at the Peterson Institute. Investors will be watching for talk of tapering the Fed’s asset purchase programme.

Brazil interest rate decision Banco Central do Brasil, Brazil’s central bank, is expected to enact its biggest interest rate rise in almost two decades, with economists predicting an increase of 100 basis points to curb the risk of spiralling inflation.

Beirut explosion anniversary August 4 marks one year since the explosion that left at least 200 people dead. As the fight for justice goes on, Lebanon prosecutors are seeking to remove senior officials’ immunities.

Families of blast victims demonstrate outside the residence of Lebanon’s interior minister © AFP/Getty Images
Families of blast victims demonstrate outside the residence of Lebanon’s interior minister © AFP/Getty Images

What else we’re reading

US house price spiral Policymakers are increasingly concerned about rising prices for homeowners and renters, especially in smaller US cities like Columbus and Denver. Read the second instalment in our series on the pandemic-fuelled surge that has revived affordability fears.

Line chart of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index (year-on-year % change) showing US housing market booms again

Afghanistan after the US Kabul is bracing for a siege after the US retreat led the Taliban to launch attacks across the country, undercutting its incentive to negotiate a political settlement. The question now is whether the Islamist insurgents’ strength makes the collapse of the government inevitable.

Goldman Sachs mints billions through business it wants to shrink The bank raked in record revenue from asset management in the past quarter thanks to a business that invests the Wall Street group’s own capital. But rather than expand it, Goldman is seeking to make the business smaller in an attempt to please regulators and investors. 

The era of start-up excess shows no sign of abating WeWork was an extreme example of start-up hype, not the exception. The publicity machine that turned a lossmaking office rental business into a $47bn company with designs on a $100bn market valuation is still in operation and shows no sign of learning its lesson, writes Elaine Moore.

All the lonely people — the power of connection Three books examine the perils of loneliness — a problem that has only intensified during the pandemic — and offer practical solutions as well as the salve of solidarity. Emma Jacobs, meanwhile, writes about how lockdowns have allowed us to reappraise our approach to drinking.

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