The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Sean Spicer Resigns as White House Press Secretary

    The crazy briefings may be coming to an end. The White House press secretary resigned today, reportedly in objection to President Donald Trump’s appointment of Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director. Spicer — known for his peculiar, often heated responses to reporters’ questions — is apparently not the only one who’s got a problem with Scaramucci: Chief of staff Reince Priebus and advisor Steve Bannon are also rumored to be opposed to the pick. Scaramucci, who’s never held a political communications position, was a key Trump campaign supporter. 


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    White House Reportedly Probes Mueller’s Team, Ponders Pardons

    They’re watching the watchmen. With President Donald Trump’s political and business dealings with Russia under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller, the administration is reportedly compiling research on members of Mueller’s team, seeking ways to discredit the investigation. Trump has warned Mueller against digging into his personal business dealings, saying they’re beyond the investigation’s scope. He’s also reportedly asked about his power to pardon family members, advisers and himself, sparking an ongoing legal debate. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, however, argued that such pardons would be “crossing a fundamental line.”

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    Millions Strike in Venezuela Over Maduro’s Election Plans

    The opposition called; the people answered. More than 300 people were arrested as public transit ground to a halt and barricades went up in the first major countrywide strike that Venezuela’s seen in 15 years. Three people were killed during the 24-hour action, aimed at protesting President Nicolas Maduro’s plans to elect a constitutional assembly on July 30 that would allow him to bypass the current legislature, which is controlled by the opposition. Maduro maintained that the strike was minimal and promised to arrest its leading figures.

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    Exxon Sues Over $2 Million Russian Sanctions Fine

    Are they digging themselves deeper? The U.S. Treasury Department says Exxon violated sanctions against Russia by making a deal with persona non grata Igor Sechin, and has fined the company $2 million, the maximum amount. But Exxon’s suing to avoid the fine, saying Sechin signed the 2014 deal — made when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was still CEO — as head of Rosneft, rather than as an individual. As Congress considers increasing sanctions on Russia, both Exxon and President Trump have voiced concerns that they would impede business interests.

  5. A New Travel Ban, Justin Bieber and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: The U.S. is reportedly planning to ban Americans from traveling to North Korea beginning next week. Elon Musk says he has verbal government approval to build an ultrafast hyperloop along the Eastern Seaboard, though many are skeptical. And Justin Bieber has been banned from touring in China for causing “discontent among the public.”

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

    Join Us: If you can make it to the Big Apple, be sure to get your tickets and join us — along with Jason Derulo, Samantha Bee and Van Jones — tomorrow in Central Park for OZY FEST 2017!


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    O.J. Simpson Granted Parole for Robbery

    He’s off the hook again. Amid another media circus, a Nevada parole board ruled yesterday that the 70-year-old former NFL star can go free after serving nine years in prison for armed robbery. In 2008, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years for a sports memorabilia heist in Las Vegas. That conviction came 13 years to the day after he was acquitted in the slayings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. Simpson, who apologized for the robbery, could be released as early as Oct. 1.

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    Dark Web Markets Hit by Coordinated Sting

    There’s mayhem in the marketplace. Europol and the U.S. Department of Justice have announced that a massive joint sting operation has severely crippled the dark web’s black market trade. Two weeks ago, authorities seized AlphaBay, thought to have generated $1 billion in illicit sales, which sent its users fleeing to another market, Hansa. But Hansa was already secretly under control of Dutch authorities, who for weeks logged the activities of its users, including AlphaBay refugees, before finally shuttering that market too. Prosecutions are expected, but have not yet been announced.

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    Saudi Arabia’s Luxury Prison for Jihadis

    This is the carrot, but you don’t want to see the stick. Saudi Arabia, known for executing prisoners convicted of terrorism, has found another approach to taming radicals: Amenity-loaded prisons, where — for well-behaved jihadis, anyway — conjugal visits are included. The approximately 5,000 inmates in the system are encouraged to see their families, considered key to rehab, and to attend therapy and eventually reintegrate into society. But critics say the approach wouldn’t work in the West, and the rate of recidivism may be as high as 20 percent.

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    Linkin Park Frontman Dies in Apparent Suicide

    He tried so hard and got so far. A representative of Chester Bennington, 41-year-old lead singer of Linkin Park, confirmed his death Thursday morning, which was reportedly self-inflicted. The news sparked an outpouring of grief across the entertainment industry. Linkin Park exploded onto the nu-metal scene in 2000 with their multiplatinum debut album Hybrid Theory, thanks largely to Bennington’s emotional vocals on songs that blended metal, rap and electronic music. The band released its seventh album in May and was slated to start touring again this month.

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    American Golfers Lead Open Championship

    They’re seeing stars — and stripes. Three Americans have stormed to a shared lead at the 146th Open Championship with a score of 5 under par after yesterday’s opening round. A brisk wind blew away the scattered showers at the Royal Birkdale links course in Ireland, where U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka showed no signs of rust, despite barely playing since grabbing his first major win over a month ago. Joining him were Matt Kuchar, who shot a record-tying 29 on the front nine, and wunderkind Jordan Spieth, who finished bogey-free.