The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Administration To Crack Down On Leaks

    Enough is enough. Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged on Friday that the Justice Department would crack down more aggressively on disclosures of classified government information. In a press conference with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, he said his agency has already tripled the amount of investigations into leaks — a staple of the Donald Trump presidency, but one which Sessions claims jeopardizes American security — compared to the previous administration. The move came shortly after Trump rebuked Sessions for his perceived weakness, raising questions about whether Friday’s announcement was a display of authority by the attorney general.



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    ’Pharma Bro’ Shkreli Found Guilty of Securities Fraud

    He’s going up the river. Martin Shkreli, who became infamous two years ago when he drove up the price of a life-saving AIDS drug by 5000 percent, has been found guilty on three of eight charges against him. Prosecutors accused Shkreli, who was banned from Twitter for harassing a journalist, of running a Ponzi scheme, though the so-called ‘Pharmo Bro’ denied the allegations and called the trial a “witch hunt.” Though not yet sentenced, Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison.

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    Grand Jury Already Hearing Russiagate Evidence

    He’s chasing every clue. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly convened a Washington criminal grand jury to aid investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, allowing him to more easily issue subpoenas, gather testimony and seek indictments. The panel’s been operating in secret for weeks. The move signals a more intense and long-term phase for the inquiry, which President Donald Trump — whose financial dealings are being investigated alongside possible collusion with the Kremlin and its efforts to sway 2016 voters — has decried as a “witch hunt.”

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    West Virginia Governor Switches Parties at Trump Rally

    The Trump train has another passenger. Gov. Jim Justice, a billionaire elected last year as a Democrat, announced while standing next to President Trump at a rally yesterday that he’s officially becoming a Republican again. Justice was a registered GOP voter until 2015. Trump, who called Justice “big Jim,” hailed the switch as an “honor.” It also means the state’s governorship and legislature are both GOP-controlled, which will put increased pressure on West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III, who’s been urged to change parties as well.

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    China, India in Himalayan Border Standoff

    Everyone back away slowly. That’s the current plan from diplomats on all sides as China, India and Bhutan spar over territorial claims in a remote mountainous region where the three nations meet. Chinese officials say India’s been amassing troops and building roads on the border for months. Both nations have nuclear weapons, and several hundred soldiers are staring each other down across less than 500 feet of frontier. Diplomats on both sides still hope for a calm resolution, especially with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to visit China next month.

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    Uber Bought Fire-Prone Hondas and Leased Them to Drivers

    Safety first. Or not, if you’re Singaporean Uber executives, who bought more than 1,000 Honda Vezels both before and after a product recall that urged owners to get the cars serviced over an engine part prone to overheating. According to the ridesharing giant’s internal emails, it bought vehicles to lease to drivers in Singapore to offset prohibitively high vehicle ownership costs — and knew about the recall but didn’t get the cars serviced until one caught fire in January. The company says all cars have since been repaired.

  7. Building Blaze, Deadly Texts and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: Fire has again ripped through Torch Tower in Dubai, which was the world’s tallest residential building when it was constructed in 2011. A woman whose texts drove her boyfriend to suicide has been sentenced to 15 months in jail, but will remain at liberty as her appeals work through the courts. And Toyota and Mazda will collaborate on a $1.6 billion U.S. factory, Mazda’s first.

    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, Third Rail With OZY, is launching on PBS this fall! To kick things off, we’re shelving the PC and whipping up debates. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a provocative question, focusing on topics that might make it onto the show. This week: Should all Americans be entitled to health care? 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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    ‘Accidental Hero’ of WannaCry Arrested Over Malware Attacks

    Nobody’s perfect. Marcus Hutchins, also known as MalwareTech, earned international praise after he accidentally activated a “kill switch” on the WannaCry ransomware virus, curbing its worldwide proliferation in May. On Wednesday, the British citizen was arrested leaving Def Con, an annual cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, over allegations that he created a password-stealing virus in 2014 and 2015. Experts say it’s unusual to prosecute over creation, rather than use, of such software. Hutchins is to be arraigned today after a Thursday postponement, granted so he could hire an attorney.

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    South Korean Spy Agency Meddled in Nation’s Own 2012 Election

    They were deceiving themselves. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service says it operated a two-year campaign aimed at swaying the 2012 election in now-impeached President Park Geun-hye’s favor. She won, defeating Moon Jae-in — who became president in May after her downfall. Now Moon’s ordered an investigation into the agency’s domestic propaganda, promising reforms that will focus its efforts on international intelligence gathering. As former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon goes on trial for a second time, Park’s rebranded Liberty Korea opposition party’s calling the investigation “politically motivated.”

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    Scientists Capture Neutrino Phenomenon

    It’s no mean feat. A research team in Tennessee has detected never-before-seen neutrino interactions using a new technology that could pave the way for further research into dark matter and supernovas. The group successfully observed a neutrino — the infamously inert quantum mechanical question mark — colliding with an atomic nucleus in a phenomenon called coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering. The ability to detect these minute interactions could allow scientists to hone the “Standard Model,” a set of predictions in physics that, while describing everyday phenomena perfectly well, has failed with neutrinos.

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    Danish Prince Refuses Entombment With Queen

    He won’t bury his feelings. Prince Henrik of Denmark has stated that when his time comes, he won’t be placed next to his wife, Queen Margrethe, in response to the gender “discrimination” he claims he’s endured, thanks to her denying him the title “King Consort.” Her Majesty, 77, has apparently accepted her 83-year-old husband’s decision, which marks his latest outburst at the perceived slight. The two have been married since 1967 and were expected to have been buried together in a sarcophagus at the Roskilde Cathedral near Copenhagen.

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    What’s Happened to the NBA’s International Talent Pool?

    One might think they’re putting America first. A record-setting intake of international players during the 2016 NBA draft made this year’s haul of just 14 — the lowest number since 1998 — seem all the more dramatic. Some experts call it a natural dip in available overseas talent, saying that with prospects like Slovenian Luka Doncic already in the conversation about next year’s No. 1 pick, 2018 could see another international peak. And with the NBA looking to build its global fan base, it can’t hurt.