The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

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    Trump Will Let Governors Reopen States

    "You’re going to call your own shots." That's what President Donald Trump told the nation's governors in a conference call yesterday. He's given them rough guidelines for a three-phase plan to gradually reopen for business, but left it up to each state to figure out when and how to proceed.

    What's the bigger picture? It's a stark reversal of Trump's claim of having "total authority" — and suggests returning to normal may take far longer than the White House wants, especially while testing in the U.S. remains inadequate.

    Read OZY's Special Briefing about how COVID-19 is letting local leaders shine.

  2. Beijing Boosts Wuhan Death Count

    Officials in the original COVID-19 epicenter now say 3,869 locals died from the virus — a 50 percent increase they chalked up to uncounted deaths at home and the overwhelmed medical system. Authorities claimed they revised their count to prove the country's "accountability to history, to the people and the victims."

    Will the global community buy that? While transparency is always positive, China's repeated revisions are only stoking speculation that it's hiding something.

    Read this OZY op-ed about the post-COVID-19 global leadership void.

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    China's Q1 GDP Shrinks in Decades-First

    The Chinese economy posted a 6.8 percent contraction in the first three months of 2020 compared to the same quarter last year. It's the first decline since Beijing began reporting the statistic three decades ago, and reverses a 6 percent expansion in the previous quarter. While the shortfall in factory production was smaller than expected, the collapse in global demand is fueling fears of future pain.

    Why does it matter? China's macroeconomic performance provides a glimpse at what the rest of the world — hit with coronavirus weeks later — can expect in the short term.

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    Convicted Trump Associates Face Mixed Fates

    The coronavirus pandemic brought unexpected relief for the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who'll reportedly be released from prison May 1 and serve the rest of his three-year sentence on house arrest. But notorious political operative Roger Stone wasn't so lucky: The longtime Trump associate — hit with a similar sentence in February — has been denied a new federal trial.

    Will any other famous faces be released? Despite a claim by Bill Cosby's spokesman that the convicted sexual assailant would be remanded to his home, Pennsylvania officials said he doesn't qualify for its early release program.

  5. Also Important...

    French President Emmanuel Macron says the European Union must create a common debt-issuing fund to keep the bloc from falling apart. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are facing criticism for defying stay-at-home orders by traveling to New Jersey for Passover. And a U.S.-Russian crew of three astronauts landed safely in Kazakhstan Friday after more than 200 days aboard the International Space Station.

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

    Join the conversation! OZY's teaming up with the Oprah Winfrey Network to air two special episodes of our TV show, Black Women OWN the Conversation — bringing together real women and experts from across the nation with OZY's Carlos Watson to discuss the impact of coronavirus on Black women. Tune in to the first episode Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

Intriguing

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    COVID-19 Isn't Stopping Trump’s Border Wall

    Since the beginning of the year, OZY reports, the White House has filed at least 26 new eminent domain cases to acquire land in Texas for President Trump's pet project — roughly a third of the 77 total cases issued in the entirety of his tenure. That's sparking concerns that the administration's using the pandemic to push through a divisive agenda. Meanwhile, landowners are having to decide whether to show up in court, risking infection, or skip it and waive their legal rights.

    Is U.S. immigration policy getting tougher? The White House has also empowered Border Patrol agents to suspend laws protecting asylum-seekers and minors.

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    Could Dogs Hunt Down Coronavirus?

    They'll get their barking orders. A team of British researchers is hoping to train man's best friend to sniff out traces of the virus among asymptomatic "superspreaders." Since diseases like malaria have specific odors that canines can detect, the experts — who are crowdfunding their effort — are hoping the same applies to COVID-19.

    How soon could pooches be prepared? If training is successful, they might be dispatched to places like hospitals and transport hubs across the U.K. as early as summer.

    Check out OZY's feature on doggy dentistry.

  3. Why Zoom Won't Save Global Diplomacy

    While the popular videoconferencing software is bringing together far-flung friends struggling with social distancing, the same apparently can't be said for the world's negotiators. "Operating online is not real diplomacy," Singapore's longtime ambassador to the United States told Politico. Confidence-building and political persuasion are far more difficult on-screen than in real life, it turns out — leaving diplomats without the "cues and nuances" that are central to their craft.

    Could this change diplomacy forever? Some veterans wonder what the new circumstances will mean for the careers of rookies still scrambling for contacts.

  4. Showbiz Colleagues Mourn Brian Dennehy

    William Shatner and Sylvester Stallone were among the actors to pay tribute to the 81-year-old, who died Wednesday at home in Connecticut. Though known for his roles in films like First Blood, To Catch a Killer and Tommy Boy, Dennehy was a noteworthy stage actor whose portrayal of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman snagged him one of his two Tony Awards. He was also a six-time Emmy nominee.

    How will Dennehy be remembered? The burly, widely recognizable actor had an "emotional vulnerability hiding underneath a tough exterior," according to Andrew Ahn, who directed one of his final projects.

    Read OZY's profile of the Hamilton alum seeking Hollywood stardom.

  5. NFL Star Von Miller Hit by COVID-19

    His defense is down. The 31-year-old Denver Broncos linebacker is only the second active pro football player to reveal a positive coronavirus test. Miller's agent says the Super Bowl 50 MVP is resting at home "in good spirits," and is expected to address the public later today. He added that the eight-time Pro Bowler, who has asthma, "feels it's worth letting people know" about the dangers of COVID-19.

    Is the NFL on track to return? While next week's draft is still on, the league is reportedly mulling contingency plans that include a shortened schedule and games in empty stadiums.