The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Preps for Quick Acquittal

    They're Bolton ahead. President Donald Trump appears poised for a swift acquittal in the Senate as Democrats have all but lost the battle for witness testimony. "Let the people decide," said GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, who said he'll vote against the motion to allow witnesses, which will likely be the final nail in the coffin. That means ex-national security adviser John Bolton won't appear on Capitol Hill to share his account of Trump's bid to pressure Ukraine for political help.

    Could it still go the other way? A deadlock would allow Chief Justice John Roberts to make the call — though observers say he'd skirt the issue and let the tie keep witnesses away.

  2. Coronavirus Is Now a Global Emergency

    After nearly 9,700 confirmed cases and 213 fatalities, the World Health Organization has finally raised the red flag over the coronavirus outbreak. As Chinese authorities reported the highest single-day death toll Friday, the U.S. State Department warned Americans against visiting China. Around 50 million people in Hubei province, the epicenter, remain under lockdown, while Facebook has announced it's cracking down on coronavirus-related misinformation.

    How worried should we be? Experts are spooked by cases of human-to-human transmission, but note that only 20 percent of all infected people have severe symptoms.

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    Brexit Day Has Finally Arrived. Now What?

    "This is not an end, but a beginning." That's what Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell fellow Britons as his country finally ditches the European Union at 11 pm local time. In a televised address, he'll welcome "the dawn of a new era," though little is expected to change immediately: Most EU laws will remain in force during a transition period while London tries to renegotiate its relationship with Brussels before Dec. 31.

    So what's next? Besides watching nationwide protests by Remain voters, officials are girding for talks beginning March 3 in which they'll lay out their positions on everything from trade to intelligence-sharing.

    Read this OZY op-ed about Germany's new role as Europe's sole powerhouse.

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    Amazon Delivers Stunning Q4 Results

    Mailed it! The online retail giant added $100 billion to its market value after reporting a 21 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue. Profits roared back from a 25 percent drop during the third quarter to an 8 percent increase over the holiday season. That suggests Amazon's much-vaunted but expensive one-day shipping for Prime customers has paid off. The company has added some 50 million new Prime members — now totaling more than 150 million — since April 2018.

    Why does it matter? Analysts say the impressive results could restore investor confidence that Amazon's not just a revenue-generating machine, but a profit-generating one too.

  5. Also Important...

    The helicopter carrying NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others reportedly wasn't certified to fly in poor weather conditions when it crashed Sunday, killing everyone onboard. Another 14 U.S. soldiers have been diagnosed with brain injuries after Iranian rocket attacks on two Iraqi bases this month — bringing the total to 64. And K-pop sensation Seungri has been charged with soliciting prostitutes, gambling and illegal trading in foreign currency.

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

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious, Washington-based political reporter to cover the 2020 presidential election — and beyond. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


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    Congress Is Probing Your Favorite Dating Apps

    A U.S. House subcommittee has begun looking into whether apps like Bumble, Grindr and Tinder are letting sex offenders troll for underage users. Lawmakers are demanding to know how these platforms verify age and have asked for any reports of assault, among other details. Personal privacy is a concern too, especially after a recent Norwegian consumer report found that such apps secretly leak user data to marketing firms.

    What's next? The platforms have until Feb. 13 to produce documents, though industry giant Match Group — which says it uses "every tool possible" to keep minors away — said app stores are also responsible for tracking and blocking sex offenders.

  2. IBM Reboots With Cloud-Focused CEO

    This cloudy future seems bright. Ginni Rometty, who joined IBM as a systems analyst in 1981, is stepping down after eight years as its first female chief executive. Replacing her is cloud whiz Arvind Krishna, a senior vice president who spearheaded the $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat two years ago. In doing so, he turned the company's financial fortunes around.

    How will IBM change? Under Krishna, the company likely will push cloud and cognitive technologies — but it must also identify gaps to compete with dominant players such as Amazon and Google.

    Read this OZY story about the agreement that pushed Microsoft over IBM.

  3. Why Black Women Are Aging Alone

    By 2060, 1 in 4 Americans will be 65 years or older, but Black women are in a uniquely precarious position. That's because they face a wider "kin gap" — meaning they're without a partner, children, siblings or parents who are still living — than other demographics. Elevated divorce rates, fewer marriages and the disproportionate incarceration of Black men are all factors, OZY reports. Sociologists predict 1.6 million African American women will be kinless in 40 years.

    What's the solution? Options include tailored one-on-one care or a government-managed database to help check on seniors.

  4. Berlinale Drops Prize Over Founder's Nazi Past

    Since 1987, the Berlin Film Festival has awarded a prestigious prize named for its founding director, Alfred Bauer, who led the Berlinale from 1951 to 1976. But it has now suspended the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize after German newspaper Die Zeit reported that he had deep ties to the Nazi regime. Describing him as a "devoted" member of its original paramilitary wing, the report revealed that Bauer used his filmmaking skills to boost Nazi propaganda efforts.

    What will festival organizers do? They promised "deeper research" into the event's history and suggested they may replace the prize with a similar one not bearing the offending name.

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    USA Gymnastics Offers Nassar Survivors $215M

    The athletic federation has offered to divvy up $215 million among the more than 500 women who sued over sexual abuse by former program physician Larry Nassar, who's now serving a de facto life sentence for his crimes. For the settlement to happen, a majority of the survivors must accept it, but that's unlikely: Attorneys representing many of them decried the offer as another "punch in the gut," saying it's not enough money and it doesn't include the release of documentation proving Nassar's abuse.

    Have settlements been reached before? Michigan State University, which previously employed the disgraced doctor, paid out $500 million to around 300 survivors in 2018.