FROM Dennis Kelleher
JP Morgan Chase: A Record Penalty or a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card? What does it take to get America's biggest bank to agree to what looks like the biggest civil penalty in American history? Four hours before the Justice Department was planning to announce civil charges against JP Morgan Chase, the CEO Jamie Dimon called an aide to Attorney General Eric Holder. After five direct phone calls and a personal meeting, Dimon and Holder worked out a deal. America's biggest bank agreed to the biggest civil penalty in American history for its role in the Great Recession: $13 billion. But critics say it's not what it seems. Pension funds, retirees with 401(k)'s and even bank shareholders may not see a penny. The government still has the option of criminal prosecution, but will the real masters of Wall Street fraud ever be held accountable?
Will Dodd-Frank Protect US from Banks 'Too Big to Fail?' Despite reassurances from the Obama Administration, many financial authorities say banks that are bigger than ever cannot be allowed to fail. Just five banks -- Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America -- now hold $8.5 trillion in assets. That's equal to 56 percent of the US economy, up from 43 percent six years ago. It's happened despite President Obama's call to "prevent the further consolidation of our financial system." Are pension funds and other depositors adequately insured? Might taxpayer bailouts be needed all over again?
Are America's Banks Still Too Big to Fail? Banks that got taxpayer bailouts paid back with interest, but financial authorities are warning it could happen again. Just five banks -- Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America —now hold $8.5 trillion in assets. That's equal to 56 percent of the US economy, up from 43 percent six years ago. It's happened despite President Obama's call to "prevent the further consolidation of our financial system." Regulators are way behind in implementing new rules. Are the life-savings of depositors adequately insured? If a bank with $2 trillion takes too many risks will taxpayers have to be called on? What's the state of public opinion on two unpopular institutions: banks and the federal government? What about Obama's promise that banks would never again be "too big to fail?"
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?