The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Gordon Sondland Throws Trump Under the Bus

    In his highly anticipated testimony yesterday, the U.S. envoy to the European Union said he "followed the president’s orders" when he pressured Ukraine to probe Donald Trump’s political rivals in exchange for a White House meeting and millions in military assistance. Sondland also said "everyone" — including Vice President Mike Pence, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — was "in the loop" on what he described as a clear quid pro quo.

    But will his account matter? Some commentators believe the public is so polarized that Sondland's bombshell testimony will change few minds.

  2. UK's Prince Andrew Ditches Royal Duties

    Amid the maelstrom of criticism over his ties to disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the Duke of York announced last night that he'll step away from public life "for the foreseeable future." Facing pressure from Epstein's victims and their lawyers, Andrew is also said to be preparing to hand over evidence to U.S. investigators digging into Epstein's criminal past.

    What's the bigger picture? Observers of Buckingham Palace say "the monarchy is shaken" by the uglier side of what's been a centuries-old trend of mostly freewheeling princes.

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    Google Cracks Down on Political Ads

    Parent company Alphabet announced yesterday that the search giant will soon block some targeted political ads. That means advertisers won't be able to use public voter records and other personal data to home in on users: They'll be restricted to targeting based on gender, age and location. Part of a broader Silicon Valley shift on political ads, the measure will first take effect in the U.K. ahead of that country's Dec. 12 election, before being rolled out in the rest of the world by Jan. 6.

    How will it affect political campaigns? The move might result in the redirection of more cash toward television and smaller online rivals.

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    Are US-China Trade Talks in Trouble Again?

    Global shares slid today on speculation that Beijing and Washington won't reach a trade agreement by the end of the year. After weeks of positive signals, President Trump said yesterday that the Chinese aren't "stepping up to the level that I want." Still, both China's Commerce Ministry and the White House were quick to assert that trade talks are still on track.

    What are insiders saying? Trump's reportedly being advised to temper his expectations if he wants to secure a deal — which analysts believe is still possible.

    Check out OZY's story about U.S. public opinion of China.

  5. Also Important...

    Health care and defeating President Trump dominated the fifth Democratic primary debate in Atlanta last night. China has lashed out against U.S. lawmakers for approving the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act yesterday. And a new study has found that less than 10 percent of aid from the European Union actually reaches the world's poorest countries.

    #OZYfact: Seventy percent of women in the Balkans say they've experienced violence since the age of 15. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is changing! And we'd love to hear your feedback as we evolve and improve: Click here to fill out our 2019 User Survey. It should take no longer than 10 minutes, and you could win one of three $100 Amazon gift cards — or even an all-expenses-paid trip to meet the OZY team in California!


  1. Turkeys

    US Turkey Prices Lowest in Nearly 10 Years

    There's good news for America's Thanksgiving-minded shoppers: Average retail prices for the all-important centerpiece of the festive meal are at their holiday-season lowest since 2010. They're also down 4 percent from last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Yet the average cost of a meal for 10 has ticked up 1 percent, coming in at $48.91.

    How helpful could cheaper turkeys be? That depends on what else graces your table: Experts say the lower costs help balance out price increases in other ingredients, like sweet potatoes, which rose 11 percent.

    Read OZY's True Story about playing Thanksgiving football with Bill Clinton.

  2. Could Fentanyl Be the Next Bio-Weapon?

    Incidents of open-air fentanyl exposure have jumped since 2016, when the cheap, synthetic opioid exploded across the U.S. Midwest. That's prompted fears that it could be used as a highly effective and deadly weapon — which is why narcotics specialist Jake Kelton developed Bloc, a spray that encapsulates powders dispersed in the air. So far 28 police departments have purchased his product this year, OZY reports, while the Department of Homeland Security is even considering doing so for TSA agents.

    Is fentanyl inhalation really dangerous? Some critics believe the concerns are simply scare-mongering and that symptoms could be psychosomatic.

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    Why You Should Get Palm Oil From Colombia

    Palm oil has long been considered an environmental scourge due to the deforestation of rainforests for its production and its huge carbon footprint. But a new study in Science Advances reveals that if you buy oil produced in Colombia, there's a 60-70 percent chance it's from plantations on former pastureland — not freshly cleared rainforest. Such farms, experts say, also have much lower impact on wildlife and biodiversity.

    Is palm oil in demand? Yes: In the EU, for instance, more than half is burned in vehicles as a subsidized biofuel.

  4. michelle obama

    Michelle Obama Nominated for Grammy Award

    The former first lady thanked her fans "for every ounce of love and support" after learning that the audio version of her memoir, Becoming, is up for best spoken word album. Her competition includes Hairspray director John Waters, musician Eric Alexandrakis, poet Sekou Andrews and the Beastie Boys.

    What's special about the Jan. 26 event? Like last year, women are prominently represented in top categories, with Lizzo nominated for eight awards — the most of any artist this year — and Billie Eilish up for six.

    OZY asks: Is the music industry ready for a trans star?

  5. Charles Barkley Apologizes for Threatening Journalist

    The former basketball star and TNT analyst apologized yesterday for saying to a female reporter, "I don't hit women, but if I did then I would hit you." Barkley later claimed he was “joking” with Axios writer Alexi McCammond after she pressed him in an off-the-record conversation about his conflicting statements supporting both former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Pete Buttigieg as presidential candidates.

    What else should you know? It's not Barkley's first flippant comment about domestic violence — which is estimated to affect 1 in 3 U.S. women — prompting McCammond to reply, "Threats of violence are not a joke."