The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Mark Zuckerberg Apologizes to Congress

    “It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough.” That’s what Facebook’s CEO told a U.S. Senate committee today, where he apologized in a bid to restore both the government’s and the public’s faith in his embattled company. Zuckerberg, who is also expected to appear before a House committee tomorrow, said Facebook is “going through a broad philosophical shift” and added that it’s cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling. Some lawmakers are mulling more extensive regulation of networks like Facebook, despite company promises to self-police.

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    FBI Seizes Records From Longtime Trump Lawyer

    They came, they saw, they confiscated. FBI agents appeared yesterday at the Manhattan office of Michael Cohen, the personal attorney for President Donald Trump, and seized a variety of documents — including those pertaining to a payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had an affair with the president. Trump called the Justice Department-approved action “an attack on our country” and mused about firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who referred prosecutors to Cohen but didn’t initiate the seizure as part of his probe into Russian meddling.

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    Yulia Skripal Discharged From Hospital After Poisoning

    The daughter of former double agent Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned with a suspected military-grade nerve agent, has been hospitalized for more than a month. But she was reportedly discharged last night and immediately taken to a secure location. Britain has blamed the attempt on the Skripals’ lives on the Kremlin despite Russia’s denials. Testimony from Yulia, 33, and her father — who’s also said to be swiftly improving — will likely be crucial to the U.K.’s case. Russian media reported that Yulia is seeking political asylum in Britain.

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    Trump Promises Swift Response to Syria Chemical Attack

    “We have a lot of options militarily,” President Trump explained, promising a “forceful” answer to what’s believed to be a chemical attack Saturday in Douma, a rebel-held area near Damascus. The attack, according to an aid group, killed at least 60 people and wounded as many as 1,000. Trump is in communication with French President Emmanuel Macron, who’s also promised to respond if the use of chemical weapons is verified. A Russian U.N. representative suggested that rebels staged the attack themselves and promised “grave repercussions” for U.S. military involvement.

  5. Drug Arrests, Denied Appeal and Tammy Duckworth

    Know This: A key member of Colombia’s FARC group was set to take a seat in Parliament, but now may be extradited to the U.S. on drug charges. A South African court has dismissed Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius’ appeal of his sentence for killing his girlfriend. And Tammy Duckworth has become the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office.

    Remember This Number: 63,724. That’s how many New Zealanders were likely exposed to Cambridge Analytica’s data mining tactics, even though just 10 people in the country downloaded the quiz that provided the access.

    Talk to Us: May 7–11 is Teacher Appreciation Week, and we’re giving you the chance to honor your favorite teacher with the OZY Educator Awards. Tell us what’s special about this excellent teacher in your life, and they could win an OZY Educator Award.


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    Trump’s Trade Policies Are Making Politics Unusual

    President Trump’s promised tariffs against China have Democrats and Republicans swapping sides on policy. The free market favoring GOP has mostly opposed the taxes, while many Democrats — especially those in Rust Belt districts — have quietly agreed with increased protectionism. It’s becoming clear that Trumpism isn’t synonymous with traditional Republicanism, but vocal support or derision of the tariffs will likely depend on how the economy responds if the trade war escalates. That’s especially true with midterms coming in November and jobs likely to be a central theme in campaigns.

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    Ancient Finger Bone May Shed Light on Human Migration

    It’s all wrapped around this finger. Researchers have determined that an 88,000-year-old middle finger found in Saudi Arabia’s Nefud Desert belonged to an ancient human, making it the oldest directly dated Homo sapiens bone found outside Africa. Scientists believe humans could have lived in the area as long as 200,000 years ago, but this bone suggests the migration from Africa may have taken place 25,000 years earlier than previously believed. Some scientists remain skeptical, though, saying without DNA evidence it could easily be a Neanderthal finger.

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    Facebook Launches Election Research Initiative

    Fresh off the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook announced yesterday that it’s backing an independent initiative aimed at probing the effects of social media on elections. It’s providing funding and anonymized user data to social science researchers from seven prominent nonprofits to devise studies for peer review. Facebook says it won’t have oversight of the research or review the findings before they’re published. Meanwhile, CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted his company was “too slow identifying election interference” during the 2016 campaign — but also said he’s got no plans to step down.

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    Bill Cosby Retrial Opens Amid Protests

    The opening day of the disgraced comedian’s retrial on three counts of sexual assault was marked by at least two protests — including one organized by the National Organization of Women and another by an actress who once appeared on The Cosby Show. Nicolle Rochelle was arrested Monday outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, after she rushed the 80-year-old defendant yelling, “Hey, hey, hey, women’s lives matter.” Rochelle, who was topless with feminist slogans and accusers’ names written across her body, was charged with disorderly conduct.

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    Lawsuit Alleges Another Rape by MSU Athletes

    A woman claims that three Michigan State University basketball players raped her in 2015 — and that school officials discouraged her from going to the police. According to court filings, a school counselor told the freshman that a police report wasn’t in her “best interest” and “would create anxiety and unwanted media attention.” This is the third allegation of rape against MSU basketball players since 2010. The university is also facing investigations into its handling of complaints against disgraced Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, plus over 250 lawsuits from his victims.