The Presidential Daily Brief


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    No Evidence Trump Tower Was Wiretapped

    You can’t argue with the evidence. Senate Intelligence Committee leaders along with House Speaker, Paul Ryan, have said they’ve seen no evidence that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, despite POTUS’ accusations to the contrary. Ryan cited intelligence reports to House leaders that apparently confirmed, “no such wiretap existed,” at any point before or after the election. The White House has been at pains to distance itself from Trump’s allegations, and the President himself even backpedaled yesterday on the meaning of “wiretapping,” saying he just meant general ”surveillance.”


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    Dutch PM Victorious as Wilders Underwhelms

    Populism turned out to be less popular. With almost 100 percent of votes counted — and 81 percent turnout, a 30-year high — Islamophobic candidate Geert Wilders and his anti-immigration Party for Freedom have been comfortably defeated in Dutch parliamentary elections by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centrist VVD party. The Netherlands’ ruling party claimed 33 of 150 seats, meaning that a coalition without Wilders is possible. Europe’s mainstream parties are breathing a collective sigh of relief, as this vote was considered a bellwether for populist candidates in upcoming French and German elections.

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    Trump Budget Makes Deep Cuts to Arts, Science, Infrastructure

    That’s a lot of jobs. President Trump’s budget, unveiled today, reserves funding for a border wall and a $54 billion boost to defense spending. But it slashes the EPA by over 30 percent, cutting 3,200 agency jobs, while entirely eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and many initiatives aimed at helping low-income Americans. It also axes a $500 million infrastructure program. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who must also raise the debt ceiling together, say the president’s budget will never get through Congress.

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    US Charges Russian Agents Over Yahoo Hack

    They wanted more than bank accounts. The Justice Department has charged two Russian intelligence officials — who ironically worked for an agency aiming to help foreign governments find cybercriminals — with directing a massive operation that hacked 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014. The compromised information was allegedly used to spy on Russian and American business leaders and political officials. It’s not clear if the Yahoo hack is linked to suspected Russian interference into the U.S. election, which is currently being investigated, but it may escalate tensions between the two countries.

  5. New Approaches, Rate Rises and Plans for the Death of a Queen

    Know This: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration will have to take a “new approach” to North Korea, though he didn’t detail what it will be. The death toll in Ethiopia’s garbage landslide has jumped to 113. And the Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark rate for the second time in three months.

    Read This: What happens when the Queen of England dies? Code words, secret plans and ceremony — all detailed in this longread.

    Talk to Us:  We want your feedback on the Presidential Daily Brief — what you think we’re doing right and what we should be doing differently. Send us an email at


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    Adapting to Survive in Istanbul’s Markets

    Is it as simple as supply and demand? Over the centuries, Istanbul’s celebrated bazaars have survived earthquakes and the fall of empires. Yet amid recent terrorism threats and political upheaval, 2016 saw a 26 percent drop in international tourism, leaving vendors scrambling. Now, as wary Western travelers shy away, sellers are changing their wares to appeal to Asian and Middle Eastern tourists, emphasizing mass-produced goods and designer duds. While some experts say it’s just economics, others worry that an important cornerstone of the bazaars’ historic identity may be upended.

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    Twitter Hackers Post Swastikas to Hundreds of Accounts

    They’re fighting a new cold war. Amid escalating tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands, pro-Turkey hackers compromised hundreds of Twitter accounts via a third-party app, posting tweets with swastikas, Turkish flags and the hashtags #Nazialmanya and #Nazihollanda (#NaziGermany and #NaziHolland). The tweets included references to April’s referendum to strengthen President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power, plus links to pro-Erdogan videos. Accounts operated by Amnesty International, Reuters Japan and the BBC were among the targets — and while hijacked accounts have been restored, no perpetrator has been identified.

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    One New Zealand River Is Now Legally a Person

    They refused to go with the flow. After a 160-year fight, the Whanganui River has been made a legal entity with all the rights and liabilities of a person. The first natural resource in the world to be so designated, New Zealand’s third-longest river has long been believed by Maori communities to have its own identity. The legal settlement includes future protections for the river, as well as $56 million for redress of grievances and a $21 million fund to further the Whanganui’s health and well-being.

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    Trump Takes Aim at Snoop Dogg

    It’s nuthin’ but a Trump thang. Having already targeted Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep, President Trump has now singled out “failing” rapper Snoop Dogg, who has sold over 35 million albums worldwide. Trump’s tweets, from both his personal account and the official presidential Twitter account, came just days after the release of a satirical video which includes Snoop firing a joke gun at a clown called Ronald Klump. Former presidential hopeful Marco Rubio says assassination is nothing to joke about, while the president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, says the rapper should apologize.

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    Local Restaurants Clash Over NCAA Game

    There’s some real beef. With No. 2 Kentucky facing No. 15 Northern Kentucky in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament, local restaurateur Jeff Ruby offered all 15,000 NKU students a free steak dinner if their team wins Friday’s showdown. That could add up to a $1 million bill if NKU nails its first visit to the tournament and pulls off a stunning upset. But don’t cry for Kentucky: Another local chain, Malone’s, responded by promising free steaks to 30,000 UK students and faculty if the Wildcats win the whole championship.