The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Eight Dead in ISIS-Inspired New York City Truck Attack

    It fits a deadly pattern. Yesterday a truck plowed through a crowded Manhattan bike path, killing eight people before slamming into a school bus. The suspect, Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov, was shot by police after he emerged brandishing toy guns, and is in critical condition. Authorities are calling the incident terrorism, and police say Saipov had been planning the attack for weeks on behalf of ISIS. President Donald Trump says he’ll ask Congress to end an immigration program through which Saipov came to the United States.

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    Trump Allies Seek to Stifle Mueller Investigation

    Nobody’s fired. But while the White House has been largely cooperating with the special investigation led by Robert Mueller, some close to President Trump, including former adviser Stephen Bannon, are reportedly pressuring him to defund the probe and take a more directly combative approach. Trump’s lawyers insist firing Mueller isn’t on the table. Meanwhile, the president took to Twitter to trash George Papadopoulos as a “liar” and a “low level volunteer” after his former adviser pleaded guilty to charges, brought by Mueller’s investigation, of lying to the FBI.

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    Refugees in Australian Detention Camp Refuse Eviction

    It’s bad if they stay, worse if they go. Australia has cut off access to food, water and electricity at its Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea, which has operated since 2013 but is due to be closed after it was ruled unconstitutional. But over 600 refugees, some of whom have waited years for asylum, are refusing to leave, saying they fear for their safety from hostile locals at the new center nearby. Papua New Guinea’s military is expected to take control of the besieged facility today.

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    Congress Grills Internet Companies Over Russian Interference

    “So vile, so upsetting, so cynical.” That’s how Facebook lawyer Colin Stretch described Russia-backed social media posts, explaining that they largely didn’t promote specific candidates, but instead pushed divisive issues to widen the ideological gaps between Americans. Representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are on Capitol Hill this week, where they’ve been grilled by legislators seeking ways to regulate social networks to minimize foreign interference in American politics. Today, lawmakers released advertising data showing the scope of the Russian advertising operation, which targeted a wide array of social groups.

  5. Puigdemont’s Demand, the Spacey Effect and Tax Reform

    Know This: Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, having fled to Brussels, says he’ll return to Spain if he’s guaranteed a fair trial. Netflix has halted production of the sixth season of House of Cards. And congressional Republicans have delayed the release of the House tax reform bill until tomorrow.

    Taking a Stand: Contestants in the Miss Peru pageant this week delivered statistics on violence against women instead of their bodily measurements onstage, hoping to draw attention to thousands of murdered and trafficked women.

    Talk to Us: What book got you back to reading? Send the title and a paragraph on why it had that effect to


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    Houston Astros Win Fall Classic for First Time

    After the flood, they brought forth abundantly. Houston’s Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 to win the World Series for the first time in the franchise’s 56-season history. The Willie Mays World Series MVP award went easily to Astros’ George Springer who matched Reggie Jackson’s and Chase Utley’s record of five home runs in a World Series. His eight extra-base hits and 29 total bases were the most ever in a Fall Classic. As Houston continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey — now they have cause to celebrate.

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    New Zealand Bans Foreigners From Buying Houses

    They’re pressing the home advantage. Amid rising real estate prices, New Zealand says it’ll ban foreign speculators from buying existing properties starting next year. With the average home in Auckland valued at more than $685,000, many locals have been priced out of the market. The new plan fits a broader global trend to curb sales to foreign investors. The rules don’t apply to New Zealand’s closest neighbors, though — Australians will be exempt — and foreign nationals will still be allowed to buy land and develop new properties.

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    French Anti-Harassment Hotline Shuts After Harassment

    Apparently, it hit homme. French feminist activists set up a hotline aimed at helping women being harassed for their phone number on the street. They could give out the hotline number instead, and when men texted they’d get an automated response: “If a woman says no, there’s no point in insisting.” But now organizers have shut down the line after a “coordinated attack” sent it upwards of 20,000 insulting messages and death threats in just a few hours. A new hotline is already in the works.

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    Anti-Establishment Wave Threatens House Incumbents

    Is this draining the swamp? It’s rare for sitting members of Congress to lose a primary. But the populist tide that brought President Trump to the White House may still be swelling, posing new risks for establishment Republicans — as illustrated by insurgent Roy Moore’s recent victory in Alabama. Now GOP House members like Alabama Rep. Martha Roby, Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock, North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger, New York Rep. Dan Donovan and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan should, at a minimum, remain vigilant in 2018 if they hope to keep their seats.

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    Andy Dick Fired From Two Films for Sexual Misconduct

    He is the hostile work environment. The comedian was fired from two films this month for “multiple, flagrant acts of improper conduct” including groping people’s genitals on set. Dick denied the groping but conceded that he probably licked people’s faces. “That’s my thing,” he explained. He has a history of sexual misconduct, including several arrests, but his firing reflects changing attitudes in post-Harvey Weinstein Hollywood. Dick tried to laugh it off, joking “my middle name is ‘misconduct,’” but says he’ll retire if the allegations against him continue.