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Reports: New York prosecutors convene grand jury in Trump probe

New York prosecutors have convened a grand jury to consider whether to indict former President Trump and Trump Organization executives as part of a criminal investigation into the company, the Washington Post first reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: The reported development signals an escalation in the two-year investigations into Trump Organization's finances by the Manhattan district attorney's office and the New York attorney general's office, which last week announced a joint criminal probe into the former president and his company.


Driving the news: The investigations are looking into potential bank, tax and insurance fraud. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

  • They include "scrutiny of Trump’s relationship with his lenders; a land donation he made to qualify for an income tax deduction; and tax write-offs his company claimed on millions of dollars in consulting fees it paid," AP reports.
  • The recently convened jury will gather three days a week for six months, according to WashPost.
  • The group is expected to hear several other matters during this time, according to the Post and AP.

What they're saying: Representatives for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment. But Trump said last week the allegations against him were "false" and the investigation "is in desperate search of a crime."

  • Representatives for New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declined to comment on the matter.

Go deeper: Donald Trump's legal troubles become criminal

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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