The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump and Kim to Meet … for Real?

    It’s a “miraculous opportunity,” says South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Last summer, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un repeatedly hurled threats of nuclear war. Then came the Olympics, and North and South Koreans were suddenly marching together under a unity flag. That got the divided peninsula’s officials talking, and late Thursday, Trump accepted Kim’s invitation to discuss possible “denuclearization.” Both leaders are known for capriciousness, such as yesterday’s White House statements seeming to add meeting preconditions, so while many pray for success, few are banking on it.

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    As Walkout Plans Gel, Florida Enacts Gun Bill

    They won’t sit quietly. Students across the U.S. are coordinating a gun control demonstration on Wednesday, a 17-minute walkout — one minute for each person slain a month earlier at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. On Thursday, police released 911 calls from the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, attack, including one from a mother whose daughter had just texted that three people in her classroom had been shot. Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a groundbreaking bill that restricts gun purchases, but also helps arm teachers.

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    Veteran Murders His Former Helpers in California

    A man reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder entered his Northern California treatment facility Friday, took hostages and killed three of them before taking his own life. The eight-hour siege ended just past 6 p.m., after police made extensive unsuccessful attempts to contact the gunman, then entered a barricaded room at Pathway Home in Yountville. They found the body of the hostage-taker, reportedly a veteran who’d recently been ejected from the facility, and his victims — the home’s executive director, a therapist and a federal Veterans Affairs psychologist. Local authorities are investigating.

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    Tariffs Are One Position That Trump’s Never Changed

    He’s switched parties seven times and reversed himself on health care, but President Trump’s remained steadfast on trade. In 1988, Trump told Americans that “we have to fight back” against job-sapping import imbalances. On Thursday, saying his nation had been “ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices,” he enacted 25- and 10-percent tariffs on steel and aluminum, respectively — a move many fear will launch a trade war. While Canada, the largest supplier of both metals to the U.S., is exempt, other nations and many Republicans are struggling to weaken Trump’s resolve.

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    Leak Exposes NYPD’s Lies, Violent Cops

    They served and protected — themselves. From 2011 to 2015, at least 319 New York City officers and other police department employees nailed for fireable offenses kept their jobs, according to leaked records obtained by BuzzFeed. Instead, officers were put on “dismissal probation,” continuing to work. Their crimes included assaulting civilians, false arrest, lying in court proceedings and theft. New York is one of only three states that don’t release police misconduct information. But over the coming months, BuzzFeed plans to publish a database of the forgiven offenders, providing a powerful tool for defendants.

  6. Pennsylvania Showdown, Putin’s Concern and Turkish Press Freedom

    The Week Ahead: On Sunday morning at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time will begin in 48 U.S. states (Hawaii and most of Arizona remain on Standard Time), while Florida’s governor is mulling whether to keep his state on DST year-round. On Monday, President Trump will make his first trip to California, where he’s expected to look at border wall prototypes. And Democrats are energized ahead of Tuesday’s special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, where Democratic nominee Conor Lamb has a narrow lead despite Hillary Clinton’s 20-point loss there.

    Know This: Russian President Vladimir Putin says he “couldn’t care less” if Russians interfered with U.S. elections, something he insists doesn’t “represent the interests of the Russian state.” Ankara has released two Turkish journalists pending trial after imprisoning them for 14 months. And the U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs in February, the most since July 2016

    Give Us the Scoop: What do you know and what do you want to discover? If you’ve got an idea for an awesome story, we’d love to hear it. Send your pitches to and our reporters and editors will run them down.


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    Espionage Pro or Political Hack? The Dossier on Steele

    Thanks to his eponymous dossier, ex-spy Christopher Steele is at the dizzying center of a partisan battle over President Trump’s Russia links — and the fate of his presidency. While Trump’s congressional allies are seeking to undermine Steele’s credibility, his former British intelligence bosses and colleagues call him “respected” and “very careful” and the go-to Russia expert. As the battle over his reputation plays out, one thing’s becoming clear: As Russian election meddling gained steam in mid-2016, Steele, and not the FBI, was paying close attention.

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    Online Friends Need Funerals Too

    Personal relationships are often formed online, with real-world consequences. In the gaming realm, an increasing trend of virtual funerals after a community member dies has aided the grieving process. Not everyone understands how close one can get through a screen, but long-distance relationships have existed for centuries. And whether they’re friends through mental health message boards, Final Fantasy XIV chats or handwritten pen pal exchanges, their deaths need dealing with. So bereaved people are now searching — through the same media that forged these bonds — for ways to say farewell.

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    Putin’s Silent Majority Might Be Turning Against Him

    His approval ratings are formidable, but may not last forever. As Vladimir Putin runs for his all-but-inevitable fourth term as Russian president, there’s been an uptick in an unusual type of protest: now-small gatherings involving the strongman’s base. They’re nonideological, growing out of disenchantment over bread-and-butter issues such as falling wages. These otherwise stalwart Putin supporters’ demonstrations are far-flung and calmer than events in major cities, but experts say they could grow into something more troublesome — especially when coordinated with their more politically motivated counterparts.

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    Do You Really Want That Snail Mucus Facial?

    Cosmetics-makers are blazing a slime trail. But despite the popularity of their snail-secreted products, advertised as anti-aging and anti-acne, science hasn’t proven that the goop actually does anything. The few available studies tend to be industry-backed, and while some indicate that it helps reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles, many researchers remain skeptical. Maybe that’s why gastropod mucus is struggling to gain traction in America, where there’s only one federally approved snail farm, and its escargots are aimed at taste buds, not pores.

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    Kevin Love’s Panic Attack

    “My brain was trying to climb out of my head.” So wrote Cavaliers forward Kevin Love of his Nov. 5 on-court episode, to let men and boys know it’s OK to talk about mental health. Being able to open up is a struggle in itself, Love realized after shedding his fear that sharing reveals weakness. He’d never heard other professional athletes discuss anxiety or depression until Toronto Raptors’ guard DeMar DeRozan admitted bouts of depression last month. Love’s message? “Everyone is going through something that we can’t see,” and until it’s illuminated, it can’t be treated.