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Recode Daily: Trump ordered the firing of Mueller; Airbnb has been profitable for a year

Plus, millennials love trading bitcoin for free on Robinhood, Google Play beats the App Store in Q4 downloads, and Japan has already won the Snowman Games.

Airbnb cofounders CTO Nathan Blecharczyk, chief product officer Joe Gebbia and CEO Brian Chesky speak onstage during the “Introducing Trips” reveal at Airbnb Open LA on November 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Airbnb cofounders CTO Nathan Blecharczyk, chief product officer Joe Gebbia and CEO Brian Chesky speak onstage during the “Introducing Trips” reveal at Airbnb Open LA on November 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for Airbnb

Another major New York Times scoop: President Trump ordered the firing of Robert Mueller, the person in charge of overseeing the Russia investigation. He’s also investigating whether Trump obstructed justice when he fired James Comey as the head of the FBI, so this latest revelation is particularly potent. [Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman / NYT]

Airbnb will show $100 million in cash-flow profitability for the full year in 2017. A solid stretch of profitable quarters and the addition of former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault sets up the $31 billion short-term home rental company for what many expect will be an IPO this year. The company said its next board member will be a woman; yesterday, CEO Brian Chesky posted an open letter about Airbnb’s 10-year history and “building a 21st century company.” [Kara Swisher / Recode]

Here’s another sign of how cryptocurrencies have shifted from the fringes to the mainstream: Millennials are flocking to the Robinhood stock-trading platform, which on Tuesday made it free for users to trade bitcoin and ethereum in five U.S. states. While bitcoin might not make sense for payment businesses like Stripe as a medium for transactions, alternative currency is becoming relevant as an asset class in and of itself. [Theodore Schleifer / Recode]

Google and Twitter said they didn’t spot any attempts by Russian agents to spread disinformation on their sites during the 2017 gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Also testifying yesterday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Facebook seemed to sidestep the question, but later told Recode that it isn’t aware of such abuse on its platform, either. The tech giants’ replies leave lawmakers worried that the tech industry may be unprepared to combat state-sponsored propaganda as an even larger election looms in November 2018. [Tony Romm and Kurt Wagner / Recode]

App downloads on the Google Play store reached a record 19 billion in Q4 — surpassing Apple’s App Store by 145 percent. The increase in downloads was driven by smartphone adoption in emerging markets, including India, Indonesia and Brazil; these new mobile users are primarily downloading games, finance and personalization apps. Apple, by the way, is getting ready to challenge Amazon in the digital book market again — the company is redesigning its iBooks e-book reading app for iPhones and iPads and has hired Kashif Zafar, a book-savvy executive from Audible and Barnes & Noble, to help. [Sarah Perez / TechCrunch]

Benchmark’s controversial lawsuit against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is finally over. On Thursday, a judge dismissed the venture firm’s case against Kalanick; one of Uber’s earliest and largest investors, Benchmark had signaled that it planned to drop the suit once Uber enacted a series of governance reforms that disempowered both Kalanick and Benchmark; those changes took effect on Jan. 18. [Theodore Schleifer / Recode]

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