The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Will Trump Be Impeached for 'Bribery'?

    As proceedings against President Donald Trump grind on, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested yesterday that congressional investigators should begin focusing on bribery as the chief impeachable offense. She claimed Trump's pressure on Ukraine to probe his political rivals “makes what Nixon did look almost small.” Meanwhile, a crucial second witness confirmed an earlier account of a telephone call in which Trump discussed pushing Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

    What's next? In the second public hearing today, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will likely detail the shadow foreign policy in Kyiv that led to her dismissal.

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    As Hong Kong Revolts, Xi Pipes Up

    Chinese President Xi Jinping issued his sternest rebuke to date yesterday about the semi-autonomous territory's months-long protest movement. But just hours after Xi's call to "end violence and restore order," a 70-year-old man died from reportedly being hit by a brick during clashes between protesters and pro-Beijing residents. It was the second fatality since the movement began. Police, who got a public endorsement from Xi, say they're investigating it as a murder.

    Are there any other casualties? A 15-year-old boy is in critical condition after being hit with a gas canister Wednesday, two days after a 21-year-old was shot by police at close range.

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    Police Probe California School Shooting

    "They'll never be the same." That's what a Santa Clarita choir teacher said of her students yesterday after two of their classmates were killed and another three wounded during a 16-second shooting at Saugus High School. The suspect reportedly opened fire with a .45-caliber handgun in a crowded area on what police said was his 16th birthday. He was hospitalized after a self-inflicted gunshot, and no motive has been determined.

    What else do you need to know? Thursday's shooting was all the more chilling considering that Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles, regularly ranks as one of the country's safest cities.

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    US Pressures South Korea Over Defense Spending

    During a working visit to South Korea today, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper pressed the key U.S. ally to foot a larger chunk of its defense bill. Sources say President Trump is demanding a nearly 500 percent increase in funding for 2020. This year, South Korea will pay about $1 billion for the 28,000 U.S. troops stationed there.

    Why does it matter? It's likely to further complicate an alliance that's already been shaken by Trump's unconventional attempts to make nice with North Korea.

    Read OZY's Flashback about how one small car helped save South Korea.

    Friends Without Benefits

  5. Also Important...

    President Trump has asked the Supreme Court to block a federal investigation into his personal finances. Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales says he wants the United Nations to help mediate his country's political crisis. And an experimental 19-hour, 11,000-mile flight by Australian airline Qantas became the world's longest passenger flight today after landing in Sydney from London.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an analytical and globally minded tech reporter to sniff out today’s most important stories in science, technology and health. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. These Hotels Cater to India's Unwed Couples

    While there’s no law in India against unmarried people sharing a room, conservative values have shaped hotel policies and left couples with few options. But now technology is coming to the rescue, OZY reports: Hotel aggregators are bringing together businesses that accept and, crucially, don't harass unwed couples for checking in. Some have also begun catering to India's LGBT community.

    What about personal safety? Raids from local authorities are common, ostensibly rooting out trafficking and prostitution, which is why these startups closely vet their recommendations.

  2. American Poultry Will Return to China

    Who won this game of chicken? In order to compensate for a dwindling pig population that's been devastated by African swine fever, China has lifted its five-year ban on U.S. poultry imports. The move might also represent a promising step in trade talks between Beijing and Washington, especially since agriculture purchases have emerged as a hot topic in recent negotiations.

    Who benefits? The U.S. Trade Representative's Office predicts that the broken embargo could lead to $1 billion in annual U.S. exports to China.

    Read OZY's feature about American public perceptions of China.

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    Did Greece Illegally Deport 60,000 Migrants?

    Last year, Athens sent tens of thousands of Pakistani, Somali, Syrian and other migrants back to Turkey without registering their asylum claims, according to a report in German magazine Der Spiegel based on Turkish documents. Greece denies the "push back," which is barred under EU law. Meanwhile, the director of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles puts the blame on an EU policy that blocks asylum-seekers from reaching more prosperous countries in northern Europe.

    Will the trend continue? Despite objections from human rights groups, the Greek government recently passed a new law tightening asylum rules.

  4. Police Foil London Rembrandt Heist

    A masked intruder broke into the Dulwich Picture Gallery in southeast London late Wednesday night and grabbed two paintings, valued at up to $128 million, from an exhibition by the Dutch master. But police were alerted by an alarm and gave chase — leading the perpetrator to spray one officer with an unknown substance, and ditch both masterpieces on museum grounds.

    Is this a first for the museum? Hardly: Portrait of Jacob de Gheyn III, also by Rembrandt, holds the record for the most thefts of a single painting, having been lifted four times from the same Dulwich gallery.

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    Browns Defensive End Rattles NFL in Brutal Brawl

    Commentators are calling for swift punishment against Myles Garrett, who during last night's game tore the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and smashed his head with it. The brawl erupted after Garrett, Cleveland's 23-year-old top draft pick in 2017, sacked Rudolph seconds before the game ended in a 21-7 Browns victory. Commentator Joe Buck described it as "one of the worst things I’ve seen on a professional sports field."

    How serious will the punishment be? Observers say Garrett should be suspended for the rest of the season — noting that the same act on the street would lead to arrest.