Breakfast Briefing: United Airlines hires Josh Earnest as comms chief

The White House press secretary under former President Barack Obama will start at the airline this month.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

United Airlines has hired former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as chief communications officer. Earnest has worked as an on-air analyst for NBC News since serving as President Barack Obama’s top spokesman from 2014 to 2016 (Reuters). He’ll replace Jim Olson, who stepped down early this year and launched his own consultancy last month.

So this interview probably didn’t go as planned… Rudy Giuliani, a recent addition to President Donald Trump’s legal team, said on Hannity on Wednesday night that Trump reimbursed personal lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 pre-election payment to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels (New York Times). The statement that the money was "funneled" through a law firm contradicted several earlier denials from Trump and top associates (Vox).

Later last night, Giuliani spoke with Washington Post journalist Robert Costa and said Trump was aware he would bring up the president's knowledge of the payments in an interview. The former New York City mayor also told Costa he doesn’t think he’ll get fired over the Hannity appearance. In a three-part set of tweets this morning not in his usual social media voice, Trump acknowledged the payments to Cohen.

Speaking of unusual Q&A sessions, Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a confrontational earnings call on Wednesday after a subpar quarter for the company, telling analysts that "boring, bonehead questions are not cool" (Bloomberg). Tesla’s stock was down more than 5% in after-hours trading (CNBC).

Kantar Media is launching an analytics practice that would bring together 1,500 data scientists, analysts, and other technologists around the world (Campaign). The announcement comes amid rumors that WPP could sell the data division (Financial Times), or that its CEO could lead a management buyout (CNBC).

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