The Presidential Daily Brief

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    National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Steps Down

    He was caught red-handed. A scandal over secret pre-inauguration communications with Russia had been growing all weekend, but last night — shortly after it was revealed the Justice Department had warned President Donald Trump’s administration that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail — the embattled former general resigned. In his resignation letter, Flynn admitted to “inadvertently” briefing then Vice President-elect Pence with “incomplete information.” While some lawmakers call for an investigation into Flynn’s behavior and other possible security risks, retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg will temporarily fill Flynn’s shoes.

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    U.S. Office of Government Ethics Recommends Kellyanne Conway Investigation

    Roll the credits. It might finally be the end of the road for senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, who has been accused of committing a “clear violation” of ethics by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. After she shilled Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on Fox & Friends, Office Director Walter Shaub has recommended “the White House investigate Ms. Conway’s actions and consider taking disciplinary action against her.” The recommendation came in a letter today, posted online by the Democrats House Committe on Oversight. Today’s definitely shaping up to be a tough one for the Trump team.

  3. North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un waves from a balcony towards participants of a mass military parade in October. Source: Getty

    Kim Jong-un’s Half Brother, Kim Jong-nam, Is Killed In Malaysia

    The North Korean dynasty shrinks. Kim Jong-nam, the supreme leader’s older half brother, was attacked at Kuala Lumpur airport, and killed. A woman reportedly approached him from behind and used a liquid-laced cloth to cover his face, burning his eyes. Kim was rushed to hospital, where he died. Kim had previously left North Korea in 2001 after being passed over for leadership, and has been living in exile since. He was travelling on a fake passport when he died, and had been a vocal critic of his brother’s regime. 

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    Chairman of Toshiba Resigns After $6.3 Billion Writedown

    Someone’s got to take responsibility. And that’s Toshiba Chairman Shigenori Shiga, who’s stepping down after the company’s multibillion-dollar loss was made public. Toshiba wants another month to prepare a report that will detail the extent of its writedown — estimated at $6.28 billion — and how it plans to move forward. The firm has been struggling after a nuclear deal by a U.S. subsidiary went wrong, and shares have fallen 50 percent since December. They fell another 8 percent today, and some analysts are wondering if the company has a future.

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    US Sanctions Venezuela’s VP Over Drug Crime

    They say he’s a kingpin. Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who took office last month, is the most senior Venezuelan official ever targeted by the U.S. His stateside assets, and those of an alleged associate, will be frozen and U.S. citizens are barred from doing business with him over a criminal investigation into allegations he facilitated drug shipments to Mexico and the U.S. The sanctions, which were held up during the Obama administration over concerns about local peace talks, have bipartisan approval — but could increase already strained relations between the U.S. and Venezuela.

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    Disney Drops YouTube Megastar After Anti-Semitic ‘Jokes’

    Hate ain’t cheap. The world’s highest-paid YouTube star, Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. PewDiePie, has 53 million subscribers and — until recently — had a multimillion-dollar deal with Disney. But the company says it’s cut ties with him over videos that include anti-Semitic or Nazi imagery, including a stunt in which he paid two Indian men to hold up a banner saying “Death to all Jews.” Kjellberg says the incident was a joke that’s being reported too seriously, but says he understands it was ”ultimately offensive” and disavows hateful ideology.

  7. Kim Jong Nam Reportedly Dies, Senate OKs Treasury Secretary and Trudeau Meets Trump

    Know This: The head of the Secret Service, Joseph P. Clancy, put in his resignation with the White House last week, intending to step down March 4. The U.S. Senate voted 53-47 to confirm Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary. Tens of thousands of Californians remain in shelters as engineers attempt to relieve structural instability at the Lake Oroville Dam. And in yesterday’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Trump said they’ll be “tweaking” the nations’ trade relationship.

    Read This: Rhonda McCoy managed to get actual food onto students’ plates — and get kids to eat it — in Huntington, West Virginia, America’s “unhealthiest” city. 

    Talk to Us:  We want your feedback on the Presidential Daily Brief — what you think we’re doing right and what we should be doing differently. Send us an email at pdbrief@ozy.com.

intriguing

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    Is AGOA the Next Trade Deal to Go?

    He’s always said it was “America First.” President Trump began his trade legacy by abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Then he gave notice on NAFTA. Now advocates worry his attention will turn to the lesser known Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). It’s popular with Congress on both sides of the aisle and supports an estimated 120,000 U.S. jobs — though some contend it favors certain African nations over others. Yet experts worry AGOA, designed to develop impoverished African economies, not America’s, will fail to meet Trump’s trade policy standards.

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    The App Designed to Help You Quit Apps

    Get them hooked, then sell rehab. L.A. startup Dopamine Labs, formed by two neuroscientists, has created a “reinforcement api” — a few lines of code they say fosters addiction by managing in-app rewards, which they’ve proven by inserting it into clients’ apps. But now Dopamine’s offering Space, an app designed to reverse the reinforcement api. The designers claim that by reducing the positive stimuli associated with use, Space reduces the need to check in — and it could be just the fix Facebook obsessives are craving.

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    Oklahoma Lawmaker: Women’s Bodies Are ‘Hosts’

    Host … or hostage? Oklahoma Rep. Justin Humphrey has authored HB1441, a bill being debated today that’d require women to get written permission for an abortion from their sexual partners. “I understand that [women] feel like that is their body,” he said. “I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’” Critics warned that the bill doesn’t address the danger of obtaining consent from abusive partners. If enacted, the state legislation would likely be ruled unconstitutional, even if Donald Trump’s Supreme Court choice is confirmed in time.

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    Playboy Magazine Returns to Old Standby: Nudity

    They’re stripping back to basics. Playboy’s reversing a decision it made last year to completely remove nudity from the magazine, saying the initial change “was a mistake.” Playboy released an image of its March-April cover, which features an essay called “Free the Nipple,” with the headline “Naked Is Normal.” Cooper Hefner, Playboy’s new chief creative officer and son of magazine founder Hugh Hefner, took to Twitter to elaborate on the U-turn, saying that while nudity’s back, he’ll avoid the dated “pinup” pictorial poses and settings that had become the mag’s trademark.

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    Super Bowl-Winning Football Never Lost

    They thought it was a goner. The New England Patriots have announced they always had the ball that running back James White carried to win Super Bowl LI. White admitted to forgetting to keep the football after the team’s historic comeback victory last week, prompting a swiftly inflated fan myth that it was lost to history. The team just announced that an equipment assistant snapped up the pigskin, now on display in the Patriots Hall of Fame. So memorabilia buffs can rest easy — or turn their attention to Tom Brady’s missing jersey.