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Recode Daily: With a subpoena, special counsel Robert Mueller brings the Russia investigation closer to President Trump

Plus, a former Walmart exec accuses the company of inflating e-commerce growth numbers, Peter Thiel shades Silicon Valley, and the man who helps Elon Musk get dressed.

Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images; Kevin Lamarque / Reuters via Getty Images

Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to obtain documents related to Russia. There are few other publicly known examples of Mueller using subpoenas, and this order is the first known instance of Mueller demanding records directly related to Trump’s businesses, bringing the continuing investigation closer to the president. Mueller has already indicted 13 Russians and three companies accused of meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. [Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman / The New York Times]

Is Walmart cheating in its race to close the gap between Amazon and its own online business? In a new lawsuit, former Walmart business development executive Tri Huynh alleges that Walmart inflated e-commerce growth numbers, mislabeled products and failed to process $7 million in returned items. Huynh says he was fired in 2017 in retaliation for being a whistleblower, and is suing for unspecified damages. [Jason Del Rey / Recode]

Meredith Corp has hired bankers to sell Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. The publishing giant bought Time Inc earlier this year with the help of the conservative Koch brothers, which generated lots of speculations about Meredith’s intentions for those titles. Next question: Who wants to buy three magazines with powerful names and declining businesses? [Reuters]

Former ESPN boss John Skipper says his surprise resignation last year was spurred by a cocaine dealer who was threatening to extort him. Skipper mystified the media industry when he stepped down in December to deal with an unnamed “substance addiction.” Last week, Disney announced that Jimmy Pitaro, who had been running the company’s digital and licensing business, will replace Skipper. [Peter Kafka / Recode]

Investor Peter Thiel sharply criticized Silicon Valley culture on Thursday in an interview that touched on all of his most controversial beliefs. Thiel, one of the most closely watched venture capitalists in tech, said he was eager to escape the “herd-like thinking” of Silicon Valley, hence his move to Los Angeles. He also said that supporting Trump for president was “one of the least contrarian things” he ever did, and weighed in on Gawker vs. Facebook, and on cryptocurrencies, which he has backed from early days. [Theodore Schleifer / Recode]

Here’s a deep-dive look at how Amazon became the third-most-valuable company in the world — and how its bottomless appetite has turned it into corporate America’s nightmare. For almost 25 years, Amazon has dominated a few areas, like books, electronics and cloud networks. But now CEO Jeff Bezos seems to want to establish his place atop every industry. Here’s a timeline of Amazon’s rise to a $178 billion-a-year business — it now gets 40 percent of all online spending by U.S. consumers. [Shira Ovide / Bloomberg]

Giving patients control of their health information will help give patients control of their health, posit senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner and federal Medicare and Medicaid administrator Seema Verma, who argued for progress in digital health care data in a Recode op-ed yesterday. Aneesh Chopra — former U.S. chief technology officer under the Obama administration and current president of CareJourney — wrote a response outlining what’s still missing before health care data sharing becomes a reality.

Stich Fix CEO Katrina Lake is coming to the Code Conference. She’s a rare e-commerce success story. [Recode]

Upscale LA-based cannabis-shop chain MedMen is a leader in the legal marijuana gold rush, with 700 employees working at nearly a dozen U.S. dispensaries and cultivating/manufacturing operations in California, Nevada and New York — expansion plans include a Fifth Avenue flagship and a possible IPO in Canada. Will it become the Apple Store — or even the Starbucks — of weed? [Nicole LaPorte / Fast Company]

Top stories from Recode

Spotify’s first day of trading will be April 3.

It’s sure to be a volatile debut.

TheSkimm is raising $12 million from Google and other investors to build its subscription business.

The startup has a newsletter with seven million subscribers, but it wants more revenue sources.

Ride-hail apps like Uber and Lyft generated 65 percent more rides than taxis did in New York in 2017.

Ride-hail drivers now pick up more passengers in a month than taxi drivers ever have in a month.

Celebrities keep hurting Snap’s stock price this time over an inappropriate ad.

Rihanna isn’t happy with Snap, and the stock is down. But the company is also dealing with an advertising problem.

Google, Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud businesses helped more than double spending on data centers last year.

2018, could be a record, too.

How is the internet changing March Madness?

On the latest Too Embarrassed to Ask, SB Nation editor in chief Elena Bergeron talks about brackets, streaming apps and paying players.

This is cool

The man who helps Elon Musk and Tom Brady get dressed.

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