The Presidential Daily Brief


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    McCain To Oppose Obamacare Repeal, Spelling Its Likely Defeat

    Is that a wrap? Republican Sen. John McCain has announced his opposition to the latest bill aimed at dismantling Obamacare, citing a lack of details. The legislation, a last-ditch effort by Republicans, was set to hit the Senate floor next week, but McCain’s opposition means it’ll probably fall short of the 50 votes needed to pass. The senior lawmaker, who said he could not “in good conscience” vote for the measure, also called for greater bipartisan cooperation on the issue: “I believe we could do better working together.”

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    Kim Jong Un: Trump Will ‘Pay Dearly’ After Sanctions

    They’re kicking it up another notch. Just days after lashing out at Kim Jong Un, calling him “Rocket Man” and threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea, President Donald Trump said he’s stepping up economic pressure with an executive order targeting nations, individuals and financial entities that trade with Pyongyang. In a rare public statement, Kim called Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and said he was still considering his response, while North Korean officials implied that he may order a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.

  3. Facebook

    Facebook to Share Russian-Linked Ads With Congress

    Know your enemy. As Congress analyzes alleged Kremlin meddling in the 2016 election, it’ll look at thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russian entities and used to sow division among American voters. The disclosure follows two weeks of diffidence on Facebook’s part: The company originally only showed a sample of the ads to Congress. Now CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he doesn’t want the social network used to “undermine democracy,” promising that Facebook will boost disclosure requirements for ad buyers and more than double the size of its election integrity team.

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    Iran’s Rouhani Vows to Strengthen Missile Program

    A deal’s a deal … or is it? President Trump has been doubling down on inflammatory rhetoric over the international deal to halt Iran’s nuclear program, calling it an “embarrassment” and threatening to rip it up. Now Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, addressing a military parade in Tehran, says Iran will not “seek permission” to defend itself or increase its missile capabilities. Meanwhile, Chinese state media counseled against reneging on the Iran deal, noting that such action by the U.S. could destroy its credibility when trying to make peace with Pyongyang.

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    Bankrupt Puerto Rico Has Few Options in Wake of Hurricanes

    They were already in crisis. Puerto Rico was weighed down with debt before, but two massive hurricanes have further complicated its economic situation. The commonwealth has no money or political clout to demand aid for the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, which killed 10 on the island and completely knocked out electricity. President Trump officially declared Puerto Rico a disaster, freeing up some funds, but the power’s expected to be out for months, and communication is difficult with 95 percent of cell towers destroyed by the storm.

  6. Brexit Negotiations, an Imaginary Country and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to give a major speech attempting to break a deadlock over Brexit negotiations with the EU. The world’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, has died at age 94. And this week President Trump twice mentioned the African country “Nambia,” which doesn’t exist.

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

    Tune In: OZY and WGBH have teamed up to create a fabulous new show for PBS, Third Rail With OZY. The show tapes every Friday in NYC in front of a live studio audience. Want to get in on the action? Sign up here. We’re also hosting a watch party tonight at Spreadhouse. RSVP here to attend!


  1. earthquakeshutterstock 415252909

    Girl Trapped in Mexican Earthquake Rubble Was Imaginary

    Her name was Frida Sofia. Media around the world breathlessly reported the story of the 12-year-old buried under the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school who wiggled her fingers at rescuers and told them about other children trapped in the rubble nearby. But authorities say no child with that name was registered at the school and all students are now accounted for. Frida Sofia’s story had inspired rescuers and spurred donations of cranes and tools — leading some angry citizens to complain they were manipulated by “fake news.”

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    Gatorade Pays $300,000 in Settlement Over Anti-Water Game

    They’re in hot water. This week, California’s attorney general filed a complaint against the sports drink giant over Bolt!, a free mobile game in which players urge Usain Bolt to race faster using Gatorade. But the game’s exhortation to “keep your performance high and avoid water” violated California law, according to authorities, who added that it’s ”morally wrong” to mislead children about the benefits of water. Gatorade settled quickly: The game is no longer available, and the company will pay $300,000 and promise not to slander water again.

  3. Galaxy

    New Study: Powerful Cosmic Rays Originate Outside Our Galaxy

    But can they give us superpowers? New research from an international group of scientists concluded that cosmic rays — high-energy particles bombarding Earth’s atmosphere — are coming from beyond our galaxy. Some had speculated that they originated in the middle of the Milky Way, but this 12-year study of more than 30,000 particles indicates they come from much farther away, possibly from explosive centers of distant galaxies. Scientists say that understanding more about these particles may answer questions about the origins of other galaxies, and the universe itself.

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    Tom Cruise Accused of Negligence in Deadly Plane Crash

    He’s on the hook. The families of two pilots killed in a 2015 plane crash while filming American Made are accusing the Hollywood actor, along with director Doug Liman, of negligence in their deaths. Though they’re suing the film’s producers — not Cruise and Liman — the families say the two pushed for dangerous scenes and ignored safety procedures to save time and money. The two estates are also suing each other, and one is suing a third pilot who survived the shoot but was left without feeling in his legs.

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    Aaron Hernandez Posthumously Diagnosed With Advanced CTE

    He’s the brain behind the NFL’s worst nightmare. An autopsy on the former New England Patriots tight end, who was convicted of murder and later committed suicide at age 27, revealed that he suffered from “unusually severe” Stage 3 CTE. The disease is increasingly common among football players, and known to cause mood swings and depression. Now Hernandez’s fiancée has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the Patriots and the NFL for negligence, which could shatter the league’s stonewalling about the causes of CTE — and change the way football is played.