The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Man Who Killed 5, Injured 40 in Westminster Identified

    “Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.” So said Mayor Sadiq Khan after a lone attacker plowed his vehicle into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge yesterday, then stabbed and killed a policeman inside the gates of Parliament before being shot himself. The man has been identified as Khalid Masood, 52, who was British born, known to MI5 and with a range of criminal convictions, although none terrorist related. Police have arrested eight people in connection with the attack, and Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K.’s threat level will stay at “severe.”

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    North Korea Fails Latest Missile Launch

    Not with a bang, but a whimper. According to South Korean and American military intelligence, Pyongyang unsuccessfully fired a projectile that appears to have exploded seconds after launch. This test comes just four days after the country announced a new rocket engine capable of deploying long-range missiles, in a ramp-up thought to be retaliation for annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that no option, including a pre-emptive strike, is off the table to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

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    Markets Plunge as Trump Struggles With Health Care Overhaul

    The economy needs to stay healthy too. Yesterday was the worst single day for U.S. stock markets since November’s election, as President Donald Trump seemed to be stumbling in his first big legislative fight. While markets had been rallying, buoyed by the prospect of deregulation and a pro-business budget, the president’s difficulties corralling GOP lawmakers to pass Trumpcare are worrying investors: Will he have trouble passing the legislation they want? Meanwhile, Trump threatened Republicans with “political problems” if they continue to defy him over the unpopular bill.

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    US Laptop Ban on Flights Draws Flak — and a Copycat

    They say it’s about national security. Citing potential ISIS terror attacks, the U.K. has followed the U.S., banning electronic devices larger than a phone in cabin baggage on inbound flights from certain airlines and airports. The British ban, which will affect far more passengers, covers direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, a slightly different list of countries than the U.S. Meanwhile, Gulf carriers are suspicious that they’re being targeted not because of terror threats, but to reduce competition with U.S. airlines.

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    In Confirmation Hearing, Gorsuch Says He’d Rule Against Trump

    “No man is above the law.” So said Neil Gorsuch, would-be Supreme Court justice, as the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned him about whether he’d dare to rule against President Trump, should the need arise. In the second day of his confirmation hearings yesterday, Gorsuch distanced himself from the president in other ways, roundly denying that he had promised to overturn Roe v. Wade if given the opportunity. But Gorsuch also refused to admit his personal beliefs on issues like gun control. Hearings will continue today.

  6. Cardboard Trudeaus, Emmett Till’s Legacy and Richard Simmons

    Know This: At least six people are dead after multiple explosions on the outskirts of the Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Canadian diplomats in the U.S. have been ordered to stop using cardboard cutouts of Justin Trudeau to promote tourism. And a painting of murdered Black teenager Emmett Till is drawing protests at the Whitney Biennial.

    Consider This: A new podcast, “Missing Richard Simmons,” is drawing listeners — but also critics, who are unsure if its invasiveness is justified or prurient.

    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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    Stalled Nuclear Waste Project Could Restart in Nevada

    What’s 10,000 years between friends? That’s how long the U.S. wants to store radioactive waste under Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. The project sputtered under four presidential administrations, but has now been revived, with $120 million allocated for it in the new White House budget. Nevada lawmakers have vowed to fight the deeply unpopular initiative — the state’s already filed 218 contentions against it — and they’ve even gone for President Trump’s weak spot, noting that nuclear waste could be transported near his Las Vegas hotel en route to the dump site.

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    Alphabet Launches Digital Tools to Fight Election Fraud

    This way no one can say it’s rigged. Google and fellow Alphabet arm Jigsaw are collaborating on Protect Your Election, a project to help secure democracy worldwide. In recent history, election monitors in France, Mexico and South Korea have all been targeted with phishing and denial of service attacks, crippling their ability to ensure free and fair polling. The project hopes to avoid a repeat of the Russian cyberattacks during the 2016 U.S. presidential election by offering free tools to protect monitoring groups, human rights organizations and news agencies.

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    Could Recouped Costs Avoid a Constricting Budget?

    “And there will be pennies from heaven.” That was the promise from one group of recovery audit contractors who are hoping to track down and rectify years of improper government payments. According to one government estimate, 2011-2015 saw the federal government issue nearly $600 billion in improper payments due to glitches or rubber-stamping. While some of that may be money still owed, auditing lobbyists are confident that billions of dollars in government overpayments could be put toward the federal budget, potentially saving numerous departments from proposed spending cuts.

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    ‘Gong Show’ Host Chuck Barris Dead at 87

    The last tone has sounded. The producer of The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game and host of the variety show with its infamous kiss-off gong has died of natural causes. Before turning to television, Barris worked as a steelworker and a songwriter, penning the 1962 hit “Palisades Park.” In his autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which also became a film, the Philadelphia native claimed he’d been a CIA assassin. When questioned by the press about whether that was true, Barris replied, ”I don’t answer that question, ever.”

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    Puerto Rico Fans Go Blond for WBC Final Against USA

    They’re dyeing for victory. Puerto Ricans have been highlighting support of their team’s unbeaten run in the World Baseball Classic in a peculiar fashion: bleaching their hair. What started as a joke among team members has become a national trend as thousands color their hair and beards in solidarity. Puerto Rico’s blond bombshells will face off against the host nation tonight in San Diego after the United States overcame unbeaten Japan 2-1 in last night’s semifinal to earn its first appearance in the tournament’s championship game.