The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen microphones shutterstock 408637087

    Trump’s Taiwan Chat Was a Planned Provocation

    Hold the phone. Despite Donald Trump’s claim that President Tsai Ing-wen called him first, their Friday discussion — which broke 37 years of U.S. foreign policy precedent — had reportedly been arranged in advance, an indication of the emerging Trump administration’s policy shift. Yesterday the president-elect needled China in a series of tweets about currency manipulation and the South China Sea, though China’s response has been muted so far. Trump also nominated Ben Carson for housing secretary and added Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to his list of candidates for secretary of state.

  2. dc police car shutterstock 471111311

    Shots Fired Inside D.C. Eatery at Center of Fake Conspiracy

    The theory is fake, but the bullets were real. A North Carolina man was charged with assault after firing a rifle inside Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizzeria that’s been targeted over a bizarre conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate — which the gunman said he’d come to “self-investigate.” The theory, which has been spread by fake news website Infowars, alleges Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from inside the restaurant — and though Reddit’s banned the topic, the harassment hasn’t abated.

  3. Austria’s New President, a Twitter Goes Silent and Oakland’s Tragedy Multiplies

    Know This: Austria’s far right suffered a resounding defeat when a Green Party-backed independent candidate took the presidency yesterday. Popular New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced his surprise resignation, effective Dec. 12. And the U.K.’s Supreme Court has begun hearing an appeal from the British government over its previously denied power to unilaterally trigger Brexit.

    Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Twitter account of Bana al-Abed, a 7-year-old girl trapped under siege in Aleppo, has been deleted without explanation, causing advocates around the world to worry for her safety.

    Remember This Number: 33. That’s the number of bodies that have so far been recovered from the wreckage of a Friday warehouse fire in Oakland, California — and 70 percent of the Ghost Ship building has yet to be searched.


  1. Passport

    NYC’s Municipal ID Card May Be Used Against Immigrants

    Beware the IDs come January. Two years ago, New York City instituted municipal ID cards, which allow undocumented immigrants to access bank accounts and lifesaving civil services without being U.S. citizens. Now activists are worried that the data collected from the cards could be used by an incoming Donald Trump administration to facilitate promised mass deportations. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office has the option to delete all identifying data at the end of 2016, but Republican opponents are threatening to sue and it could mean alienating the NYPD.

  2. Miami skyline shutterstock 399998635

    Trump’s Presidency Could Unleash Property Boom

    Party like it’s 2006. For lay investors and Wall Street barons alike, real estate looks more attractive under a Donald Trump presidency. The property mogul has vowed to dismantle the Dodd-Frank law reining in the mortgage market, and proposed infrastructure investment could boost land values. Gains have been concentrated in New York, Los Angeles and Miami, where foreign buyers have inflated a luxury market bubble, but loosened mortgage and zoning rules could help lower-end buyers as well. Expected interest rate hikes might bring complications, though, and could lead to recession. 

  3. Berlin

    Airbnb’s New Approach: Play by the Rules

    It could be short-term. But the famously pushy start-up, which has battled cities from San Francisco to Barcelona, appears to be taking a new tack, promising to police its hosts in Amsterdam and London to make sure they stick to local limits on out-of-town travelers. Meanwhile, a far-reaching Berlin law enacted in May limiting short-term rentals and threatening $100,000 fines hasn’t quashed Airbnb’s presence there, but authorities stress that more convictions may arise under the new law as cases work their way through slow courts.

  4. Boy in school library shutterstock 257479897

    Virginia School May Ban Classics Over Racial Slurs

    If kids read a word, will they use it? After the mother of a biracial high school student complained about slurs in the text, Accomack County Public Schools are considering whether to yank Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird from classrooms and school libraries. The classics have long been debated for their ugly stereotypes, but experts say it takes strong teachers to lead students through the material with a critical eye, and shunting it aside could downplay the existence of racism.

  5. University of Washington football Husky stadium shutterstock 5549635

    Washington Edges Penn State for Final CFP Spot

    The field is set. Alabama will play Washington and Clemson will play Ohio State on New Year’s Eve in the college football semifinals, after the selection committee yesterday tapped the Huskies over Penn State for the four-seed. The Nittany Lions beat OSU in October and won the Big Ten Championship on Saturday, but their two losses — including a 39-point spanking by Michigan — hurt more than Washington’s weaker schedule. The Huskies’ reward: Nick Saban’s undefeated Crimson Tide, a two-touchdown favorite in its third consecutive playoff appearance.