The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Patriots Beat Falcons in Thrilling Overtime Super Bowl

    What a comeback! New England claimed its fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy, beating Atlanta 34-28 to win Super Bowl LI. The Patriots overcame a staggering 25-point deficit in the second half — the largest comeback in the big game’s history — to force the first ever Super Bowl overtime. The dramatic rally was spearheaded by a stunning performance from Tom Brady, who threw a record 466 yards. Brady is now the first quarterback to earn five championship rings, and the first player to be named Super Bowl MVP four times.

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    In Week Two, America Adjusts to the New Normal

    Everything’s up for grabs. Another tumultuous week of executive orders has turned the nation on its ear, ending, on Friday, with an order to blunt Wall Street curbs enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. The week began with a retreat: allowing green-card holders to re-enter the country despite a legally precarious immigration ban. Then Donald Trump managed to alienate one of the staunchest U.S. allies by insulting Australia’s leader on the phone while chiding Israel for its settlement-building activities, showing that the unpredictable is to be expected.

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    As Ukraine’s War Heats Up, Trump Picks a Side

    Has the game changed? As America’s new leader spoke warmly of Vladimir Putin, pro-Russian eastern Ukrainian rebels took heart, engaging in fresh artillery duels with deadly effect. Both sides wonder how far Donald Trump’s apparent détente will go, with Congress and European allies wary of Moscow while Kiev fields U.S.-trained troops. But on Thursday, in her first appearance as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley seemed to answer the question, condemning Russia’s “aggressive actions,” while promising Western sanctions would remain in place until Crimea is returned to Ukraine’s control.

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    The Swift Rise of Trump’s Nationalist Chief Policy Adviser

    His handiwork is everywhere. Stephen Miller reportedly co-wrote President Trump’s “carnage” inauguration speech and his chaos-inducing travel ban. The 31-year-old played ultra-conservative provocateur at Duke University and helped to kill immigration reform as an aide for Alabama senator and attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions. His anti-trade, nativist views placed him among hitherto fringe characters in Republican Washington. But he and other populist insurgents, such as former Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon, have jumped from the margins to calling the shots for the next four years.

  5. President Trump Respects Political ‘Killer’ Putin, Corruption Still a Crime in Romania and the Nuclear Toothpaste Test

    Know This: In a Fox News interview, Donald Trump said he respects Vladimir Putin, even though he’s “a killer.”  After mass protests against a Romanian law decriminalizing some types of corruption, the government vowed to drop the measure. Trump has imposed new sanctions on Iran after its ballistic missile test. Billionaire Vincent Viola withdrew as the nominee for Army secretary, because of difficulties unwinding his business interests.

    Sanction This: “A lot of that toothpaste is already out of the tube. … I thought it was a huge mistake, but the multilateral sanctions are done.” — U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, explaining why he thinks the Iran nuclear deal will not be canceled.

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    Black History According to Donald Trump

    “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job.” That’s how the president praised the 19th century slave, orator and abolitionist, stoking suspicions he might not know who Douglass was or that he’s been dead since 1895. Trump’s speech marking Black History Month, which devolved into insults directed at CNN, has sparked commentary on his consistently shallow rhetoric about African-Americans. But the president is optimistic, and even though his campaign admittedly discouraged Black Americans from voting in 2016, he’s bragged he’ll get 95 percent of their vote in 2020.

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    Meet the Teenagers Who Fomented Pipeline Protests

    And children shall lead them. The tremendous international impact of the Standing Rock demonstrations has a group of teenagers to thank. Responding to endemic teen suicides in Native American communities, a group of young Sioux founded a movement in 2015 to support one another and reconnect with their culture. This meant getting political, prompting the One Mind Youth Movement to establish a “prayer camp” on the Dakota Access Pipeline route that started out as a safe haven but morphed into a base for protesters — giving members a powerful reason to face life head-on.

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    Is Elon Musk Aiming for the Wrong Planet?

    Earth to Elon. Musk’s SpaceX has vowed a Mars mission to make humans a “multiplanetary species,” possibly escaping the artificially intelligent overlords the billionaire fears. The cosmic cost of interplanetary colonization could arguably be lavished on terrestrial problems — a debate that goes back to the Apollo program — but now NASA has delegated much of the work to Musk, the Silicon Valley innovator who, despite the lofty rhetoric, mostly makes toys for rich people. And his vision of 1 million people on Mars ignores the 7 billion earthlings stuck with the robots.

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    Lesotho Schools: Where Girls Are First

    These books aren’t balanced. Among developing countries, Lesotho boasts the world’s highest proportion of females across its education system, with 16 of them for every 10 males. It’s more pragmatic than feminist, though. For generations, the country’s boys disappeared into remote mountain pastures to herd cattle, then worked South African gold mines, while their sisters got an education. Though Lesotho’s economy has changed, a strong cultural ethos remains — boys belong at work, girls in school. But now it’s up to the nation to find these women jobs, or risk losing its better halves.

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    Taylor Swift: Victim or Race-Baiter?

    Now she’s got bad blood. Taylor Swift’s media tussles have people questioning her rise to the top. Her dispute with Kanye West over his song “Famous” — with lyrics saying he made “that bitch famous” and might have sex with her — may not be as clear-cut as fans believe. Months after Swift called the lyrics misogynistic, Kim Kardashian released audio recordings of Swift approving the sex reference. It’s a familiar pattern of victimhood for Swift, whom writer Ellie Woodward suggests is capitalizing on being the “innocent” white woman beset by the “angry” Black man.