The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Senators Stuck Over Impeachment Rules

    Even before President Donald Trump's impeachment trial begins, Democrats and Republicans are headed for a weekslong standoff over how it will proceed. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for witnesses to testify on newly revealed White House emails about the suspension of military aid to Ukraine. But his Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell, appeared on the fence over whether he'd allow witnesses to appear. Lawmakers reconvene Jan. 6.

    Is there a framework for a trial? McConnell wants a proceeding similar to President Bill Clinton's impeachment, in which senators vote on witnesses after hearing opening arguments, but Schumer says waiting until then would be "too late."

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    US Awaits 'Christmas Gift' From North Korea

    In addition to its customary duty tracking Santa Claus, the North American Aerospace Defense Command is also on the lookout for a missile launch following Pyongyang's threat earlier this month of a "Christmas gift" for the United States. NORAD, the joint U.S.-Canadian military command, has tracked similar tests in recent years, and is responsible for issuing early warnings across the continent.

    How real is the threat? New satellite images of a North Korean military factory show fresh construction — which some experts say is "big news."

    Don't miss OZY's op-ed on why Pyongyang is keeping its nukes.

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    Boeing CEO Sacked Over 737 Crisis

    CEO Dennis Muilenburg was fired Monday for failing to steady the 103-year-old airplane manufacturer after two recent 737 Max crashes that left 346 people dead. The company refused to comment on the severance given to Muilenburg, who angered customers, airlines and regulators with his overly optimistic plans for when the embattled plane might fly again.

    Who's taking over? Board Chairman David Calhoun will be tasked with regaining the trust of both passengers and federal authorities when he steps into the CEO role Jan. 13.

    Read OZY's feature on how high-speed trains could gain from Boeing's woes.

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    Khashoggi Verdict Attracts Global Criticism

    Turkey, international rights groups and a U.N. special rapporteur all decried a Saudi court's ruling yesterday which they said exonerated the masterminds behind the 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Critics argue the death sentences against five members of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inner circle sidestepped the ruler's own responsibility for the crime, with the U.N.'s Agnès Callamard calling it "anything but justice."

    Who else was caught up in the case? Of 31 people investigated, 11 were charged with crimes: Besides the five sentenced to death, three were handed a combined 24-year jail term and three were acquitted.

  5. Also Important...

    Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled toward Turkey amid Russian-backed bombings that Ankara is urging Moscow to end. In her annual Christmas message, Queen Elizabeth II is expected to acknowledge that her family and Britain have experienced a "bumpy" year. And authorities in New Zealand have ended their search for the last two victims of the Whakaari/White Island volcano eruption.

    #OZYFact: Some 35 million U.S. voters live with a disability, while another 27 million have a household member who's disabled. Read more on OZY.

    Watch this! If you're up early this morning, catch OZY Editor-in-Chief Carlos Watson on CNBC's Squawk Box from 7-8 am ET  — where he'll guest co-host alongside Andrew Ross Sorkin and others.


  1. Celebs Slammed for Partying in Saudi Arabia

    Social media influencers and celebrities including actors Armie Hammer and Ryan Phillippe faced anger Monday for participating in a three-day rave in the autocratic kingdom. Hammer claimed the MDL Beast Music Festival represented a "cultural shift" in the ultra-conservative state, but critics say attendees just helped whitewash its dubious human rights record.

    Is there a bigger issue at stake? Critics also argued that the dark side of influencer culture is that it reflects "the ultimate expression of capitalism."

    Check out OZY's story about Riyadh's religious laboratory in Europe.

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    New Jersey Freelancers Fight for Their Future

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Trucking Association are among the critics of two bills they say will harm business. The state legislation focuses on the misclassification of workers, aiming to stop employers from cutting costs by treating full-time workers as independent contractors. But freelancers and business owners say the bills' broad definitions would make it more difficult to run an independent business in tax-heavy New Jersey.

    Why does it matter? A similar law in California, which takes effect in January, has attracted similar criticism — revealing how a law originally designed to protect ride-share drivers can backfire.

  3. Algeria's Powerful Military Chief Dies at 79

    Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah succumbed to a heart attack Monday, Algerian state media reported. The army commander, who joined the resistance to French colonization in the 1950s before pursuing a military career, assumed leadership of the North African country after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April amid a popular uprising. Algeria has announced three days of mourning to honor Gaid Salah's life.

    How will the general be remembered? He was hailed by young Algerians for supporting popular demands that Bouteflika step down.

    Read OZY's feature about the Algerian cartoons poking fun at the Maghreb.

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    OZY Investigations Will Dig Deeper in 2020

    From detailing the high divorce rate among disabled Americans to revealing how Ugandan sex traffickers are buying and selling teenage girls, OZY's investigative reports made a serious splash in 2019. But we’re only getting started — so follow along in 2020 to dive deep into stories from around the world that you won't find anywhere else.

    What gives OZY an edge? Our unmatched global reach, with nearly 200 reporters across the world, provides a unique and rare perch from which to cover a variety of underreported stories.

  5. Rugby Star Slams China Over Uighur Abuse

    New Zealander Sonny Bill Williams criticized Beijing for the mass internment of around 1 million Uighur Muslims in China's far eastern Xinjiang province. Williams, a convert to Islam, posted his message alongside an image referring to Xinjiang by its separatist name of East Turkestan. The former All Blacks star, who now plays for the Toronto Wolfpack, also slammed sports firms he accused of prioritizing their bottom line over human rights.

    Will there be a backlash? Williams could be ostracized just like Arsenal soccer star Mesut Özil, who criticized China last week.