The Presidential Daily Brief


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    GOP Presents Sweeping Tax Reform Plan

    It’s been a long time coming. House Republicans have unveiled their plan for the most comprehensive tax reform in decades. Among other proposals, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would slash corporate tax to 20 percent — a move observers say would disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans — as well as consolidate family and individual tax brackets. GOP lawmakers hope their bill, which isn’t final and faces a major political fight ahead, will prove the party’s capable of getting things done, especially ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

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    Trump Says ‘Happy’ NYC Attacker Deserves Death

    He’s innocent until tweeted guilty. Federal prosecutors charged Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov with terror-related offenses in Tuesday’s truck attack that killed eight. Saipov, wounded by police gunfire, reportedly asked for an ISIS flag in his hospital room. President Donald Trump tweeted that the suspect deserves death and suggested the “animal” be sent to Guantanamo Bay to bypass America’s “joke” of a justice system. The charges were filed in a civilian court. Trump also blamed Sen. Chuck Schumer for the visa program that brought Saipov to America, though Schumer opposed the program.

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    Gunman ‘Nonchalantly’ Kills Three at Colorado Wal-Mart

    They’re calling it “random.” Police in the Denver suburb of Thornton have arrested the man who allegedly walked into a Wal-Mart store there Wednesday evening and calmly opened fire on shoppers, killing three. The gunfire sent screaming employees and customers diving for cover, and witnesses reported hearing as many as 30 shots. The suspected shooter, identified as 47-year-old Scott Ostrem, was arrested in traffic while trying to escape in a red Mitsubishi hatchback. Records show Ostrem had financial difficulties, while neighbors described him as unfriendly. 

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    Catalan Ex-Leader Skips Day in Court, Ministers Jailed

    He sends his regrets. Carles Puigdemont, removed as Catalonia’s president after his region declared independence, did not join nine lower-ranking Catalan officials who appeared for questioning in Spain’s high court today. Puigdemont, who has taken refuge in Belgium, has dismissed it as a “political trial.” Prosecutors are now seeking a European arrest warrant for the former leader. Meanwhile, eight of his former ministers have already been jailed by Spain’s national court, pending investigation into potential charges of rebellion and sedition, as well as misuse of public funds.

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    Trump’s New Federal Reserve Choice Faces Rocky Shoals

    Is he changing horses mid-boom? President Trump has announced he’ll replace current chair Janet Yellen with another board member, multimillionaire Jerome Powell. While Trump described Yellen — who’s been targeted by Republicans — as “excellent,” he said he wasn’t tied to presidential tradition to retain her. Investors are encouraged by stability, though, so while Powell apparently supports Yellen’s policies of slowly braking an accelerating economy with modest interest hikes, any change could precipitate a bubble or leave little room to cope with unforeseen disasters.

  6. Rohingya Homeland First, Bin Laden’s Data and Satan for President

    Know This: De facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been criticized for ignoring the unrest in her country, is visiting Rakhine province for the first time since violence there caused 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. The CIA has released a trove of computer files found in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan, including viral cat videos, Mr. Bean clips and crocheting tutorials. And North Korea is reportedly working on an advanced missile with enough range to reach the continental United States.

    Know Him in All Her Forms: “Satan: If I win, Clinton wins!” — text of just one of scores of political ads, released Wednesday by Congress, that Russian agents paid for on Facebook and Twitter in attempts to polarize U.S. voters.

    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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    Tempest-Tossed Astros Win Franchise’s First World Series

    It was a Hollywood ending — just not for Los Angeles. The Astros capped a dramatic Fall Classic by shutting down the Dodgers 5-1 Wednesday, claiming the first title in Houston’s 56-season history. Outfielder George Springer earned World Series MVP honors, tying Reggie Jackson and Chase Utley with a record five home runs, and setting new records with eight extra-base hits and 29 total bases. As Houston rebuilds after Hurricane Harvey, an emotional Springer said he’s “proud to bring a championship to city that desperately needed it.”

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    Conservative Coffee Shops on the Rise

    Maybe you shouldn’t ask for a shot. Salt Lake City’s Black Rifle Coffee Company is among a new wave of conservative coffee shops born from frustration over a national cafe culture that’s so liberal that 800 coffee shops joined an ACLU fundraiser in February. Rather than strictly promoting right-wing views, like rejecting gun control, these companies say they’re more interested in creating a diverse environment where free expression flourishes without judgment. And that plays into the classic image of an American coffee shop as a place for community and discussion.

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    Massive Planet Discovered Orbiting Tiny Star

    Now that’s an eclipse. Astronomers are rethinking planet formation after discovering a gaseous Jupiter-sized planet closely orbiting a star half the radius of our sun. Each year there — which lasts 2.6 Earth days — the “monster” planet nearly eclipses its tiny sun. It’s the first discovery from the new Next Generation Transit Survey, designed to spot exoplanets. Scientists previously believed little stars only spawned small, rocky planets, so they’re eager for more data and hoping the powerful James Webb Space Telescope can shed more light on the mysterious pairing.

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    Brett Ratner, NPR Exec Join Ranks of Accused Harassers

    We’ve seen this movie. Director and producer Brett Ratner, known for his work on the Rush Hour and X-Men franchises, has been accused by six women — including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge — of sexual misconduct. “He physically forced himself on me,” Henstridge said, describing an assault when she was 19. Ratner denied all allegations. Meanwhile, Michael Oreskes, National Public Radio’s chief editor, has resigned over two decades of harassment allegations, fueling the big question facing Hollywood and the media since Harvey Weinstein’s fall: “Who’s next?”

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    Russia Bans Anonymous Web Browsing With VPNs

    There’s nowhere to hide. A law banning anonymous browsing via proxy services has gone into effect as the Russian government steps up efforts to bring the internet under its control. VPNs are massively popular there, used to spoof foreign IP addresses and bypass web censors. But under new rules, VPN providers must register with the state media watchdog and block access to its list of censored sites: Those that don’t comply will be banned. Meanwhile, China has employed similar oversight and has forced Apple’s App Store to remove some VPN software.