The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Senate GOP’s Health Law Repeal Dashed

    Obamacare isn’t going anywhere just yet. Shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the GOP would be unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the effort to overhaul the nation’s health care system was dealt another crushing blow. Three Republican senators voiced their opposition to McConnell’s back-up plan, to simply repeal the law, effectively dooming it to failure. It’s a major defeat for President Donald Trump’s young administration, especially since a new health care law was a key campaign promise. Now, Trump says his plan is to “let Obamacare fail.”



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    Venezuela’s Unofficial Referendum Delivers Blow to Maduro

    Dissent is powerful. Sunday’s “public consultation,” called by Venezuela’s opposition parties in a bid to destabilize President Nicolas Maduro, has no legal status. But 98 percent of the 7.2 million who cast ballots opposed Maduro’s plan to create a new legislative body and supported holding new elections before his term ends in 2019. About 19.5 million Venezuelans are registered to vote, but every election since 2015 has been postponed. The opposition hailed it as a victory, hoping it’ll give protesters new energy even as Maduro’s expected to ignore the outcome.

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    Secret Service Denies Lawyer’s Claims About Trump Jr. Meeting

    They’re not shielding him on this. Jay Sekulow, one of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers, suggested yesterday that the Secret Service would have vetted attendees at a controversial campaign meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, a Russian lawyer, a Russian-American lobbyist and at least two others. But the Secret Service has responded that Trump Jr. wasn’t under their protection in June 2016, and therefore they wouldn’t have screened the meeting’s guests, eliminating that line of defense. Sekulow maintains that President Trump was unaware of the meeting.

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    US Officials: Qatar Cyberattack Originated in UAE

    All it took was a little push. A report from U.S. intelligence sources indicates that senior United Arab Emirates officials orchestrated May’s cyberattack on Qatar’s state media, fabricating incendiary quotes from Qatari leader Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani. Those quotes — which Qatar has maintained were planted by hackers — led to the nation being shunned by several Gulf neighbors, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which unsuccessfully pressured Qatar to submit to a list of demands in exchange for lifting the blockade. The UAE denies orchestrating the hack.

  5. Korean Diplomacy, a Spying Sentence and the President’s Approval Rating

    Know This: South Korea has proposed military talks with Pyongyang, the first since 2015. Oscar winner Martin Landau has died at the age of 89. And Iran has sentenced American student Xiyue Wang to 10 years in jail for alleged spying.

    Remember This Number: Thirty-six percent. That’s the proportion of Americans who approve of President Trump’s job performance, a six-point drop since April that analysts are blaming on his handling of health care reform and rumors of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. It’s the lowest six-months-in rating for any U.S. president in 70 years.

    Answer This: Tell us how you really feel. OZY’s next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is launching on PBS this fall! To kick things off, we’re shelving the PC and launching debates. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a provocative question, focusing on topics that might make it onto the show. This week: Should cheating be grounds for a divorce anymore? Why or why not? Go deep. Email with your thoughts or a personal story, and we might feature your answer next week.


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    Zombie Movie Pioneer George Romero Dies at 77

    He inspired whole generations. Romero’s cult classic Night of the Living Dead, made for just $114,000 in 1968, set tropes that are still lurching through modern zombie movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later. Horror fans, including directors Robert Rodriguez, Jordan Peele and Eli Roth, took to Twitter to eulogize Romero, who died yesterday after a brief battle with lung cancer. Stephen King, who adapted his short stories into Romero’s 1982 comedic horror anthology Creepshow, wrote, “George, there will never be another like you.”

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    The Secret Cash Stashes of the Mega-Rich

    The family that banks together outflanks together. Many of the world’s ultrawealthy send billions to Wall Street hedge funds for investment, but others opt for a “family office,” a private investment vehicle set up by an individual family to preserve both control and secrecy. While exact numbers are unknown due to the secretive nature of family offices, some estimates have put their combined size at a staggering $4 trillion — surpassing the entire $3.2 trillion hedge fund industry — with an emphasis on long-term investments to preserve wealth.

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    In China, Your Nurse Might Soon Be a Robot

    Maybe we all need some tender loving carebots. Having spent more than $3 billion on industrial robots in 2015 alone, China’s already the world’s largest producer. Now it’s looking to service-oriented robots, starting with the elderly care industry. With rapidly growing ranks of retirees — 25 percent of the world’s seniors — China’s nursing homes struggle with high labor costs and low profitability. Several dozen facilities are now testing robots that monitor residents’ health, help them stay in touch with family, and simply keep them company.

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    Next ’Doctor Who’ Incarnation Will Be Female

    It’s about timey-wimey. Jodie Whittaker has been revealed as the 13th iteration of the beloved Time Lord. Whittaker, best known for British crime drama Broadchurch, said she hopes fans won’t be “scared” by the gender reversal, noting that “Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change.” The announcement comes just three months after the long-running sci-fi show debuted its first openly gay companion to the time-traveling alien lead. Whittaker will take over the role from Peter Capaldi when the Doctor regenerates in this year’s Christmas special.