Seven things PR pros need to know on Friday morning, 5.15.2015

Amtrak CEO says railroad takes "full responsibility" for crash; BB King dead at 89; Leadership transition happening at Samsung, say observers.

1. Amtrak’s CEO penned a letter posted on the railroad’s website on Thursday, saying it is cooperating fully with authorities and is taking full responsibility for the Tuesday night crash in Philadelphia that killed eight passengers. "With truly heavy hearts, we mourn those who died. Their loss leaves holes in the lives of their families and communities," Joseph Boardman said. Brandon Bostian, the engineer at the wheel of the train when it crashed, has agreed to be interviewed by authorities.

2. Blues legend BB King died late Thursday in his sleep in Las Vegas at age 89. King endorsed many products over his decades-long career, including recently the Toyota Camry. Musicians from across the musical spectrum reacted on Twitter.

3. Jay Lee, considered the heir apparent to take over Samsung Group from his father, is set to take the helm of two key foundations, signaling to observers that a transition is underway. The company’s leader and Lee’s father, Lee Kun-hee, has been hospitalized for more than 12 months since suffering a heart attack.

4. Four in ten Democratic insiders want Hillary Clinton to campaign more often, according to Politico. Party members are also divided on whether the Democratic frontrunner should take a stronger stance on President Barack Obama’s trade policies, which have caused a rift between the White House and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

5. A letter from a Federal Trade Commission official that rebutted a March Wall Street Journal story on an antitrust investigation into the company has raised eyebrows because it followed a correspondence from a Google lobbyist to the FTC asking the agency to take a stand. The technology giant told the FTC its own reputation was taking a hit by not responding to the article, according to BuzzFeed.

6. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will personally hear Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension. His team, the New England Patriots, drew howls from critics on Thursday when it launched a website rebutting the league’s investigation into "Deflategate" and claiming one staffer was referred to as "the deflator" because he was trying to lose weight, not because he took the air out of footballs.

7. Many Republicans have always been skeptical of This Week host George Stephanapoulos due to his role in the Clinton administration. That’s now more the case than ever after his donations to the Clinton Foundation were disclosed this week. The ABC News anchor has apologized on-air for not being more transparent. 

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