The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. russia investigation magnifying glass flag shutterstock 164664809

    Democratic Party Sues Russia, Trump and WikiLeaks

    Claiming they conspired to hand the 2016 U.S. election to President Donald Trump, the Democratic National Committee today filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the three parties. In a statement, DNC Chairman Tom Perez said Russia’s “all-out assault” on the U.S. political system “found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign.” The lawsuit, filed in a New York City court, alleges campaign officials acted in concert with Russian intelligence and WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton’s shot at the White House by hacking into the DNC’s emails, then releasing them.

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    North Korean Leader Says No More Nuclear or Missile Tests

    Kim Jong-un said his country would also close a nuclear testing site which “has done its job.” It’s the latest in a string of concessions from Kim just days before a planned summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Earlier he dropped objections to military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. as well as a continued American troop presence on the peninsula. A direct hotline was also set up between the two Korean leaders. President Trump is set to meet Kim by June.

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    Comey Memos Detail Trump Concerns Over Flynn, Prostitutes

    He kept the receipts. Former FBI Director James Comey says he wrote the memos, which the Justice Department released to congressional committees yesterday, immediately after conversations with President Donald Trump. They detail the president’s fixation on the salacious Steele dossier, his exhortation to Comey to go easy on adviser Mike Flynn, and his musings on jailing journalists. Trump tweeted that the memos are “self-serving and FAKE.” Meanwhile, the Justice Department referred its probe into fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to the U.S. attorney for potential criminal prosecution.

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    Miguel Díaz-Canel Named Cuba’s New Leader

    That’s how to succeed. The 57-year-old was sworn in as president yesterday after Raúl Castro, Fidel’s younger brother, stepped down. It’s the first time since 1959 that Cuba is being led by someone outside the Castro family. Díaz-Canel’s ascendancy marks a generational shift that the government hopes will showcase the lasting power of communism in the island nation. But while Díaz-Canel is expected to continue rolling out gradual reforms, major decisions will likely need approval from the Communist Party — and Raúl Castro is still its leader.

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    Trump Adds Rudy Giuliani to Legal Team

    The former New York City mayor and two other former federal prosecutors have joined the team defending President Trump in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Also joining Trump’s defense are Florida-based attorneys Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin. Giuliani, a longtime Trump ally, said, “I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country.” He reportedly has been tasked with negotiating an interview between the president and Mueller. Meanwhile, Trump’s personal attorney is facing a criminal investigation in Giuliani’s old NYC stomping grounds.

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    Wells Fargo Reaches $1 Billion Settlement

    This won’t break the bank. But it’s the latest in a series of defeats for Wells Fargo, which saw a retail banking scandal two years ago and will now pay a record $1 billion fine for what federal regulators say were lending abuses and bad risk management. In 2016, the bank paid $185 million in fines after opening millions of accounts for customers without their consent. The details of the settlement, which could also include more scrutiny on compensation for certain employees, are expected to be released today.

  7. Sorghum, Unions and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: Several China-bound U.S. ships filled with sorghum have turned back as tariffs on their product shoot up. Looting and violence in South Africa caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to return home early from a Commonwealth summit in London. And a World Bank paper is under fire from unions for saying the response to growing automation in the workforce should be deregulation and the abandonment of minimum wages and labor protections.

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

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    US Opioid Prescriptions Fall by Record Amount

    A new report shows prescriptions of opioids in 2017 saw the largest decline in 25 years, falling in every state — and states with the highest consumption saw the biggest decreases. The total number of prescriptions fell 10 percent, while high-potency opiates plunged 16 percent. That’s likely due to several factors, say experts, including new government regulations and more educated patients. While the number of Americans dying from overdoses continues to increase, 66 percent of 2016’s cases involved opioids, so the drop in prescriptions could translate to lives saved.

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    Tech Workers Petition Against Pentagon Contracts

    The keyboard is mightier than the sword. That’s the idea behind a new petition by Silicon Valley employees calling on Google to drop its contract with the Department of Defense, and asking other companies to stay away from the Pentagon. “We believe that tech companies should not be in the business of war,” the Tech Workers Coalition says. Google was criticized by its own employees in recent months after taking on an artificial intelligence project for the government, and many tech companies are currently jockeying for a DOD cloud services contract.

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    Indonesian Divers Evolved to Hold Breath Longer

    It’s natural sea-lection. The Bajau people have spent centuries diving for food around their Indonesian island, and are reportedly able to reach incredible depths of 230 feet and hold their breath for 13 minutes. Now scientists say the Bajau have evolved 50 percent larger spleens than their landlocked relatives — and bigger spleens can supply more oxygenated red blood cells, allowing divers to hold their breath longer. Researchers hope insights into Bajau divers can help doctors treat patients who are deprived of oxygen, as in cases of sleep apnea.

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    No Charges in Prince Death Probe

    Minnesota officials announced yesterday that an “extensive, painstaking” investigation produced no evidence that anyone intentionally overdosed the iconic musician in April 2016, and they couldn’t find the source of the fentanyl, disguised as less-potent counterfeit Vicodin, that killed him. Prince, who was widely believed to abstain from alcohol and drugs, reportedly suffered from “significant” pain but secretly got prescriptions under a friend’s name. Investigators found no evidence the fentanyl was prescribed by a doctor. Meanwhile, Prince’s memoir — based on 50 handwritten manuscript pages — will be published later this year.

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    Lance Armstrong Settles With Government for $5 Million

    The bike stops here. The U.S. Postal Service was seeking $100 million from the disgraced cyclist for alleged fraud after sponsoring him for tens of millions of dollars, but yesterday’s settlement lets him dodge a trial, due to begin next month. Armstrong long denied doping, but eventually admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, resulting in him being banned from cycling and stripped of his seven Tour de France wins. He says he’ll focus on family, film and writing projects now that his legal trouble is in his rear-view mirror.