The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s New Travel Ban

    Not so fast. Hours before President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban was to take effect, a federal judge in Hawaii ruled to freeze the executive order nationwide. The White House argued that the president, now 0-2 on travel bans making it past the courts, is acting legally within his national security powers. Opponents say the ban’s discriminatory nature, targeting Muslim-majority nations after campaign promises to do just that, violates the Constitution. The next stop may be the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the original ban last month.

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    Exit Polls Give Prime Minister Victory over Wilders

    They didn’t quite go Wilders. As votes continue to be counted, exit polls from the Dutch election suggest that Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his liberal VVD party have, with 31 seats, comfortably held off Islamophobic demagogue Geert Wilders and his anti-immigration Party for Freedom. Now, a ruling coalition without Wilders is possible. The result is a major relief to the mainstream parties of Europe, where a rise of far-right populism seemed like it might prove victorious in the Netherlands, itself considered a bellwether for upcoming French and German elections.

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    Support for Scottish Independence Surges

    This could put the “go” in Glasgow. A new survey suggests that support for Scottish independence is at record levels — but it doesn’t necessarily correlate with support for the EU. That means the promised second referendum on splitting from the U.K. may not focus on remaining in the European bloc. Prime Minister Theresa May is embarking on a goodwill tour of the U.K. this month, but some are skeptical she’ll convince Scotland that hard Brexit is in its best interest, especially with a decimated pound sending import costs soaring across Britain.

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    GOP Senators Suggest Alterations to Health Bill

    “Obviously we’re going to make some modifications.” So said House Speaker Paul Ryan of the Republican replacement for Obamacare, which is expected to save money, but according to a nonpartisan government estimate would also leave 14 million more Americans uninsured next year and 24 million by 2026. Now Senate Republicans are suggesting the bill be changed to make it easier on low-income Americans, especially older ones, even as diehard conservatives maintain that it doesn’t go far enough to dismantle Obamacare. Either way, Ryan says the bill won’t be changing much.

  5. China Back at Work, France’s Would-Be President Investigated and Sean Spicer’s Confidence

    Know This: China’s begun new construction on a disputed island in the South China Sea. François Fillon, former front-runner in the French presidential election, is under formal investigation over allegations that he paid his wife and children for jobs they never performed. And White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says he’s “very confident” that the president will be vindicated in his unproven claim that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration.

    Remember This Number: 440 to 880 million tons. That’s the volume of insects consumed by spiders every year, according to scientists who hope humans will appreciate the world’s 45,000 spider species for the work they do.

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    Heinz Launches Ad Campaign Invented by ‘Mad Men’

    Life imitates art. In season six of Mad Men, slick creative Don Draper comes up with an eventually rejected ad campaign for Heinz ketchup. Now the company is actually using Draper’s idea, with plans to run images of french fries, steaks and burgers without any ketchup, and the tagline “Pass the Heinz.” They’ll appear on several New York City billboards and in print magazines. The company’s real-life ad agency, David Miami, brought the idea to Heinz — and will share credit with fictional company Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

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    Ivanka Trump’s Fine Jewelry Line to Be Discontinued

    Sales trump everything. The first daughter is shutting down her fine jewelry line after declining numbers (and boycotts from consumers) saw department stores like Nordstrom drop the label. But outraged tweets from President Trump and Kellyanne Conway’s ethics-defying plug on Fox & Friends may have spurred sales of Ivanka’s more affordable lines: They’re up 557 percent. Her brand has opted to focus on those, abandoning the small percentage of sales brought in by what was reportedly Ivanka’s first foray into licensing her name to a high-end manufacturer.

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    Could Dynamic Scoring Help Sell Trumpcare?

    It might help with PR. When it comes to analyzing the ramifications of big bills — like the GOP’s health care replacement plan — some conservatives are pushing ”dynamic scoring,” which takes into account the potential economic stimulus that tax cuts could provide. Liberals call it guesswork, arguing that George W. Bush’s tax cuts didn’t stimulate the economy. But some Republicans are disputing the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis that Trumpcare would mean 24 million extra uninsured Americans — especially as the CBO said it hasn’t explored the bill’s wider macroeconomic implications.

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    New Plant Fossils Shift Timeline of Life on Earth

    History’s turned over a new leaf. Swedish researchers have discovered two fossils in central India of tiny red algae that date back 1.6 billion years — 400 million years older than the hitherto oldest plant-like fossils. That means complex multicellular organisms existed on Earth far earlier than previously thought. The microscopic plants, found accidentally by a researcher studying single-celled cyanobacteria, show distinct organelles and cell walls. While seemingly small, the plants’ existence will likely shift the accepted timeline for the evolution of life on our planet.

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    Player’s Father Steals March Madness Spotlight

    The dad also rises. UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, a projected top-two NBA draft pick, is preparing for the men’s NCAA championships. But it’s his dad, LaVar Ball, who’s stealing the show. His string of incredible statements includes demands for a $1 billion shoe deal, a claim that he could’ve beaten Michael Jordan one-on-one in his heyday, and boasts that his son is already better than MVP Stephen Curry. Lonzo, 19, says he’s not embarrassed by his dad — even as a burgeoning #LaVarBallSays meme takes his braggadocio viral.