The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Jared Kushner Under Fresh FBI Scrutiny

    Proximity to power has its perils. The senior White House aide is in the crosshairs of an FBI probe into his father-in-law’s 2016 campaign and possible collusion with Russia. Specifically, questions have arisen over meetings between Kushner and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as well as the head of a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions. The meetings came around the time Kushner was scrambling for investors in his troubled 666 Fifth Avenue building. Kushner is not necessarily suspected of any crime, and his lawyers say he’ll cooperate with any inquiry.

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    US President Urges NATO Allies to Pay Up

    He’s got their backs … maybe. Though allies had hoped President Donald Trump would disavow previous disparaging statements about NATO yesterday in Brussels, he instead chided 23 of 28 members for “chronic underpayments” to the alliance. While unveiling a monument to 9/11 — the only time any NATO country has summoned fellow members to its defense — Trump nonetheless failed to commit to mutual defense. Meanwhile, after outrage from Britain over shared intelligence that was leaked to the media by U.S. officials, the president vowed to investigate unauthorized disclosures.

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    Pound Suffers as UK Campaign Tightens Ahead of June 8 Vote

    There’s no such thing as a sure thing. Though Britain’s ruling Tories have been polling with huge leads since the snap elections were called, that advantage is swiftly disappearing. A YouGov poll today showing the Labour Party just five points behind sent sterling to an 11-week low against the euro as traders got jittery over the uncertainty. Meanwhile, political campaigns suspended after this week’s suicide bombing in Manchester have resumed, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promising more funds for police and emergency services to fight terrorism.

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    Gianforte Wins Montana Seat Despite Assault Charge

    It didn’t move the numbers. Greg Gianforte has won Montana’s single House seat in a special election, eking out 51 percent of the vote even after being charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly “body slamming” Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in front of witnesses. It lost him previous endorsements from Montana newspapers and briefly buoyed Democrats’ hopes for a win in a state that voted for President Trump by more than 20 points. Gianforte, who’ll have to appear in court next month, apologized to Jacobs during his victory speech.

  5. Travel Ban Blocked Again, Temer Backtracks and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: At least 23 people were killed in Egypt today when gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians to visit a monastery. After an appeals court ruled against President Trump’s revised travel ban, the administration vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court. Russian officials say they’re investigating claims of an anti-gay “purge” in Chechnya. And Brazil’s embattled president has rescinded his deployment of 1,500 troops after accusations that he was using military force to maintain power despite the will of the people.

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

    Answer This:  Tell us how you really feel. OZY’s next TV show is premiering on PBS this fall. The Third Rail will tackle hot topics typically taboo for television. In anticipation, we’ll be posting a provocative question right here each week, focusing on topics that might make it onto the show. First up: Do you think it’s OK to have a racial preference in dating? Why or why not? Email with your thoughts or a personal story. We’ll publish the most intriguing answers Tuesday on


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    Mexican Candidate Goes Viral Over Hashtag

    Maybe it’s a post-modern campaign. Gubernatorial candidate Javier Zapata’s campaign has gone viral thanks to billboards that feature his name and mustachioed face next to the campaign hashtag #hashtagcampaña, which translates to #campaignhashtag. Zapata — whose previous hashtag was #PorMisBigotes, or “because of my mustache” — claims the slogan was a purposeful choice to reflect his closeness to “ordinary people” rather than campaign consultants. Nevertheless, it’s been widely ridiculed on social media, with even the official Netflix Latin America twitter account using it to promote House of Cards.

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    Using Smartphones Could Affect Moral Decision-Making

    It’s your left brain that’s swiping left. A British study of 1,010 people found that when faced with moral dilemmas, those using PCs were more likely to allow emotions to influence their decision-making, whereas those using smartphones made more rational choices. Researchers theorize that smartphones make users focus on a single task and increase “psychological distance,” leading to more utilitarian responses — even to highly emotional problems. They say it’s important to study the effects of technology on moral behavior given how much socializing, shopping and decision-making takes place online.

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    Study: Coffee Drinkers Less Likely to Develop Liver Cancer

    Drink up. Researchers surveying data from 26 studies and more than 2.25 million people found that drinking five cups of coffee a day is correlated with a 50 percent drop in hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer and second leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. One cup per day reduced the risk by 20 percent, and two cups by 35 percent. The research team cautioned that they’re not suggesting suddenly upping your caffeine intake to five cups a day, as other potential adverse effects are unknown.

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    Amazon Opens Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore in NYC

    If they can make it there, they’ll make it anywhere. The online giant opened its first New York City bookstore at Columbus Circle, its seventh physical location nationwide, with six more planned in 2017. Derided by the New York Post as “a glorified airport stall,” the cash-free 4,000-square-foot store carries around 3,000 titles rated 4 stars or higher online, with discounts for Prime members. Amazon’s stock is up 32 percent this year, notching an all-time high as it touched $999 per share in trading yesterday.

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    Pittsburgh Penguins Shoot for Back-to-Back Stanley Cups

    There’s no time to preen. The NHL’s reigning champions took a thriller into double-overtime Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators, winning 3-2 after forward Chris Kunitz — who’d scored zero goals in his first 13 playoff games this season — scored twice. The dramatic Eastern Conference victory gives the Penguins a chance to defend their Stanley Cup title against the Nashville Predators, who are making their first ever championship appearance. The well-rested Predators will meet the Penguins on Pittsburgh’s home ice for Game 1 Monday night.