The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Iraqi Forces Carry Out Airstrikes on Syria for First Time

    There’s a first time for everything. Iraqi fighter jets have attacked ISIS targets in Syria, as a retaliation to car bombings that killed dozens in Baghdad recently. A spokesman with the Joint Operation Command said the raid was coordinated with the Damascus government. Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, reported that the strikes ”were successfully executed.” ISIS hideouts and headquarters in the border towns of Albu Kamal in Syria and Husaiba in Iraq’s western Anbar province were allegedly destroyed.


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    Judge Only Allows One Other Bill Cosby Accuser to Testify Towards His Character

    A bitter-sweet victory. Judge Steven T. O’Neill has ruled that Andrea Constand’s team may call upon a second witness, who has also accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct, to testify at trial. Constand alleges that in 2005, the comedian sexually assaulted her, and prosecutors hoped to call on 12 more women, selected from a pool of 50 similarly accusing Cosby, as “prior bad act” witnesses to show a pattern in behavior. The judge denied the full request despite 2015 court documents emerging in which Cosby admitted to drugging women before sex.


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    Anti-Globalist Trump Tells Conservatives He’s Delivering on Pledges

    He’s making a list and checking it twice. President Donald Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference: “We will reduce your taxes. We will cut your regulations. We will support our police. We will defend our flag.” OZY’s Daniel Malloy reports that amid stump lines about building up the military, tearing down Obamacare and bashing the “fake” news media, Trump’s key message was against globalism: ”There’s no such thing as a global anthem, a global currency or a global flag.” Trump’s next major stage comes Tuesday before a joint session of Congress.

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    Malaysia: Kim Jong Nam Killed With VX Nerve Agent

    It only takes one drop. Malaysian police have announced that the substance used to kill Kim Jong Un’s half-brother at the Kuala Lumpur airport was VX, a banned chemical weapon that can only be created in a sophisticated lab. The substance, which can be mixed as two compounds that are lethal when combined, may have been delivered by two assassins who touched Kim Jong Nam’s face separately. Ten milligrams of VX, the most toxic known nerve agent, is enough to kill. Authorities are now decontaminating the airport.

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    Conservatism Struggles With New Identity at CPAC

    Not everyone’s all right with the alt-right. This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference began with a reckoning between old guard Republicans and their more populist, extremist kin. Organizer Dan Schneider called the alt-right a “sinister organization that is trying to worm its way in,” and white nationalist leader Richard Spencer was escorted from the premises. President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, however, hailed Trump’s election as the birth of a “new political order,” promising a border wall, isolationist trade policies and the dismantling of the administrative state.

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    Kansas Man Shoots Three, Yelling ‘Get Out of My Country’

    He’s charged with first-degree murder. Adam Purinton, 51, was arrested after shooting three men, killing one, in an Olathe, Kansas, bar. Two of the victims were Indian nationals, while the third was a bystander who tried to intervene. Witnesses said Purinton used racial slurs and shouted “Get out of my country!” Authorities are investigating for bias motivation but haven’t yet classified the attack as a hate crime. President Trump’s administration has been relatively popular in India, but the crime has drawn attention to growing intolerance in America.

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    EU Prepares to Demand Brexit Billions

    It’s going to get expensive. Germany and Italy have backed the EU’s main negotiator, Michel Barnier, demanding that Britain and the EU work out the bill for divorce proceedings and establish the rights of EU citizens in the U.K. before they start discussing a trade deal. Britain has maintained that trade talks must happen in parallel with negotiations over the costs for Britain, which are estimated at around $63.5 billion. Meanwhile, Ireland’s calling for a provision that could allow Northern Ireland to become part of Ireland — and thus the EU.

  8. 45 Die in Syria, Jenner Questions Trump, and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: A suicide bomber in al-Bab, Syria, has killed 45 people and injured dozens. Caitlyn Jenner, a longtime supporter of President Trump, calls his orders on transgender bathroom laws “a disaster.” And the Swedish town of Overtornea is considering boosting the local birth rate by giving municipal employees a weekly paid hour off to go home and have sex.

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

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    Arizona Bill Aims to Curtail Protest Rights

    They think Americans doth protest too much. Arizona’s Senate voted 17-13 to approve SB1142, a bill aimed squarely at the recent surge in demonstrations. The bill classifies all protest-related property damage as rioting — meaning police could charge and seize the assets of anyone involved in planning or attending a peaceful protest that turns sour, regardless of whether they cause any damage. Opponents worry it’ll discourage peaceful demonstrations, while supporters claim many protesters are “full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs.” The bill now goes to Arizona’s House.

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    Google Sues as Uber Woes Grow

    It’s a pileup. The anti-Trump #DeleteUber campaign was followed by a former employee’s viral post alleging sexual harassment. Now the ride-hailing company is facing a lawsuit from Waymo, Google’s self-driving car division, over possible copyright infringement and theft. The suit alleges that ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, now leading Uber’s self-driving initiative, stole over 14,000 confidential design files while he was working on Waymo. Though Google invested $250 million in Uber four years ago, the two companies, both pursuing the self-driving dream, are now bitter rivals.

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    Kellyanne Conway Denounces Feminism at CPAC

    Maybe it’s an alternative definition. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the White House counselor discussed her career success, being raised by a strong single mother, and demanding equal pay. But Conway maintained she doesn’t call herself a feminist, saying it’s “very anti-male” and “very pro-abortion.” She characterized feminist protesters, many of whom supported Hillary Clinton, as having “a problem with women in power.” But Merriam-Webster offered a clarification, tweeting that feminism’s definition is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

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    Beyoncé Cancels Coachella Gig and Prices Tumble

    Doctor’s orders. Beyoncé, pregnant with twins, has called off her headline performance at this year’s Coachella, citing medical advice. The announcement saw ticket sales for the California festival’s first weekend drop 12 percent on the secondary market, from $978 to $872. Organizers likely won’t refund the tickets of the angry Bey fans who helped the world’s biggest and highest-grossing festival sell out with record speed this year. Queen Bey will headline in 2018 instead, but there’s no word yet on who will replace her this year.

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    Premier League-Winning Ranieri Fired by Leicester City

    From the toast of the town to just toast. Nine months ago manager Claudio Ranieri was hailed as a miracle worker, taking Leicester City to arguably the most unlikely title in soccer history. They defied betting odds of 5000-1 to win the Premier League, beating star-studded teams like Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. But with Leicester on the brink of relegation after a prolonged slump, team owners today announced the “painful” decision to let Ranieri go, saying they were “putting long term interests above … personal sentiment.”