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Power Sheet – July 6, 2016

Polling has shown for months that Hillary Clinton would be the least liked presidential nominee in modern history if it weren’t for one thing: Donald Trump, who is regarded even more unfavorably. The who’s-worse choice facing American voters took another step downward yesterday. As even the Clinton-friendly New York Times observed, “the FBI director, James B. Comey, all but indicted her judgment and competence on Tuesday — two vital pillars of her presidential candidacy — and in the kind of terms that would be politically devastating in a normal election year.”

Clinton’s salvation so far in this utterly abnormal year has been that when she looks bad, Trump looks worse. What’s significant about Comey’s statement yesterday is that, for the first time, she may actually look worse than Trump on at least some significant dimensions of leadership. Though it’s a close call.

Clinton has presented herself as possibly boring but steady, competent, and seasoned. Now the FBI director, working for a president who supports her, has portrayed her as just the opposite. She and her colleagues “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” he said. He did not clear her of exposing U.S. secrets to enemies. On the contrary, he said that while the FBI “did not find direct evidence” that her email was hacked, “it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”

Depending on your perspective, she either misspoke or lied repeatedly about her email; see a compilation of contradictions here. For example, she famously said at a press conference in March, “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email.” Wrong – Comey said she did so in 110 emails. She said she had turned over all of her work-related emails. No again – Comey said the FBI found 2,000 that she didn’t turn over.

Comey marveled at her behavior in using her home email system for emails involving Top Secret/Special Access Program matters: “Any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position…should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.” In his lawyerly way, he’s saying that Clinton is not a reasonable person. That would seem to leave only two choices for her motivation, both of which are troubling. Either she was willing to sacrifice U.S. security for personal reasons (what were they?), or she’s dangerously clueless.

For purposes of the presidential election, these potentially ruinous revelations may not be fatal. The relevant question, as usual, is whether Trump is even worse. The constant turmoil in his pathetically meager campaign organization and its amateurish performance suggest he’s barely competent to manage a popcorn stand. On the other hand, he has built a business organization that has transformed him from a rich kid to a much richer adult, even if not as rich as he claims, and even if its operations have sometimes been slimy (Trump University, the Trump Institute) and his methods sometimes unsavory. His ill-informed, vacillating policy positions still give voters strong reasons to deny him access to the nuclear launch codes. But now voters must also question Clinton’s competence, judgment, and motivations at the highest levels of government.

So now who’s worse? What a terrible question to be forced to ask.

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What We’re Reading Today

Comcast and Netflix play nice
The two rivals vying for consumers’ television dollars have agreed that Brian Roberts‘ Comcast will allow Reed Hastings‘s Netflix into its X1 set-top box, enabling Comcast users to switch easily to Netflix viewing. The deal unites the two companies, which have had a contentious relationship. Re/Code

Medivation opens the door to Sanofi offer
After months of fighting a bid from Olivier Brandicourt‘s Sanofi, cancer drug company Medivation said it would consider offers. David Hung‘s Medivation rejected Sanofi’s $9.3-billion offer in April, prompting Sanofi to try to oust Medivation’s board. Pfizer and Celgene have also expressed early interest in Medivation.  Fortune

Delta’s $450-million mistake
Ed Bastian‘s Delta locked in jet fuel prices at too high a level, costing the company nearly a half billion dollars. Last year the company took a $2.3-billion hit on fuel hedges.  CNNMoney

New Valeant CEO can’t use his old playbook
Joseph Papa turned around Perrigo by making acquisitions and increasing drug prices more than competitors did. But that’s what Valeant’s did under former CEO Michael Pearson, accumulating over $30 billion of debt and angering consumers and government officials. Now investors question how Papa will move forward.  WSJ

Building a Better Leader

Often organizations are built to limit uncertainty…
…and they end up limiting innovation. Here’s how such companies can embrace change. INSEAD Knowledge

How mentally tough are your job candidates?
Startup employees must make a lot of tough decisions; make sure a candidate can live with them, says Dot & Bo CEO Anthony Soohoo. Fortune

Part of making work more meaningful…
…is recognizing your life stage. People who are happiest in their work tend to spend their 20s and 30s making “big discoveries,” says Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. In their 40s and 50s they become excellent at communicating their big ideas. The Atlantic

Clinton’s Email Escape

Republicans attack the FBI’s decision
House Speaker Paul Ryan said FBI Director James Comey‘s recommendation not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton “defies explanation.” Many others claimed political bias by Comey, though he was first appointed to the Justice Department by George W. Bush. Fortune

Clinton’s email claims don’t stand up
Comey shot down some of some of Clinton‘s campaign statements on her emails. She sent and received classified information via her private email, and her lawyers didn’t comb through every email to make sure the FBI received all work-related messages, contrary to her claims. USA Today

Clinton won’t escape the emails on the campaign trail
Comey called Clinton’s actions “extremely careless,” providing ample ammunition for Donald Trump and other adversaries to show she plays by her own rules. It also plays into Trump’s narrative of Clinton’s being part of a “rigged system.” Boston Globe

Up or Out

Twitter has added former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor to its board of directors.  Fortune

Fortune Reads and Videos

Twitter says it has 10 million users in China
That’s an estimate, since Jack Dorsey‘s service is blocked there. Fortune

Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing develop new race car
They will only sell 150 to the public. Fortune

Google looks to prevent blindness…
…with artificial intelligence. It’s teaming with the U.K.’s National Health Service to test the technology. Fortune

Norwegian Cruise Line bans bringing water on board
You can’t bring bottled water or soda, but you can bring wine for a fee.  Fortune

Happy Birthday

The Dalai Lama turns 81 today.  Biography

George W. Bush turns 70.  Biography

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau
@ryanderous
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