The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Hawaii Declares Emergency Over Volcanic Eruption

    Fire in the hole. Though Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea has been continuously erupting for 35 years, the state has now declared an emergency after a 500-foot crack appeared in a residential neighborhood and began spewing red lava 100 feet in the air yesterday. A series of 300 earthquakes preceded the incident. The last time such an event occurred was 1960, when an entire town was destroyed. By Thursday evening the lava appeared to have stopped gushing from the fissure, but volcanologists are monitoring the area and about 1,700 people have been evacuated.

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    Trump Gambit on Daniels Payment May Backfire

    Turnabout may not be fair play. Yesterday, President Donald Trump’s legal advisers were reportedly blindsided by his decision to change his story about a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, allegedly as hush money. He’d previously claimed ignorance of any payment, but now says he reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the full amount. While opponents argue that the payment constitutes an undisclosed campaign contribution, others note that Trump and lawyer Rudy Giuliani say that they didn’t know what the money was for — which could open Cohen to new prosecution.

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    Report: China Deploys Missiles to South China Sea Islands

    They’re pulling out the big guns. The country’s military buildup in the disputed sea now includes cruise missiles and surface-to-air systems on three bases, though China claims the facilities are purely defensive. The key shipping route, which sees $3.4 trillion of trade annually, is also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines. Beijing has around 27 outposts in the Spratly Islands and recently installed equipment to jam radar and communications there. According to experts, the next step may be for China to deploy troops to protect its influence.

  4. Shipwrecks, History’s Mistakes and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: The search for missing flight MH370 recovered two 19th century shipwrecks. More than 1,000 economists have signed a letter to President Trump warning that his economic policies threaten to repeat mistakes that led to the Great Depression. And a congressional chaplain who was ousted last week by House Speaker Paul Ryan has rescinded his resignation and will keep his job.

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

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    Trudeau Pledges Cannabis Legalization by Summer

    “Make no mistake: This is a public health and public safety issue.” That’s what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about his government’s quest to legalize recreational marijuana, which could finally come to fruition next month. Trudeau has pushed hard for the June 7 Senate vote on a bill that addresses a key campaign promise. But he’s encountered resistance from lawmakers who are recommending a delay of up to a year over issues including revenue-sharing with indigenous communities and assessing the risks of home-growing.

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    Anheuser-Busch Picks Nikola Over Tesla for Electric Truck Fleet

    The beer empire, which plans to power all its long-haul trucks with renewable energy by 2025, previously ordered 40 of Tesla’s electric semis — but now they’ve ordered up to 800 of Nikola’s hydrogen-electric vehicles, citing better range. Nikola’s trucks, which depend on hydrogen stations, have a range of up to 1,200 miles, versus Tesla’s 500-mile maximum. Anheuser-Busch’s reversal adds insult to injury: Days ago, Nikola sued Tesla — both are named for inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla — for $2 billion over patent infringement.

  3. Finland

    Finland Home to World’s Cleanest Air

    Take a deep breath. According to the World Health Organization, the European nation has the highest air quality in the world, narrowly beating out fellow northern nations Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Canada for the top spot. Local experts point to Finland’s relative remoteness, away from major industrial hubs that produce high levels of pollution, as well as its strict environmental protection laws and low-emission cars. Worldwide, nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air, and the lowest-ranking countries on WHO’s list include Uganda, Mongolia, Qatar, India and Cameroon.

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    Reports of Charlie Rose Sexual Misconduct Skyrocket

    A Washington Post investigation, which spanned five months and over a hundred interviews, has found 27 more women who claim sexual harassment by the longtime host. The report includes claims of inappropriate behavior from 14 CBS News employees dating from 1976 to 2017 and reveals that on three occasions, CBS managers were warned about Rose’s behavior. The network said it could not “corroborate or confirm many of the situations,” while Rose wrote that the story was “unfair and inaccurate.” CBS has reportedly formed an employee group to assess its workplace environment.

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    Mega Hitter Ichiro Suzuki Leaves the Field

    Don’t call it retirement. After 18 seasons and a record 4,367 career hits, Suzuki was removed from the Mariners roster Thursday. The 44-year-old outfielder will stay in uniform, though he won’t take the field: He’ll move inside Seattle’s front office as special assistant to the chairman. To be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he’ll need to officially retire and wait five years — but with the Mariners opening next season in Tokyo, some are speculating that Suzuki’s waiting to make one last start in his homeland.