The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Ten Dead in Texas School Shooting

    Ten people were killed by gunfire at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, this morning, according to Gov. Greg Abbott. He added that the suspect — identified by police as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis — also left explosives around Sante Fe High School, as well as his home. “You could smell the gunpowder that came from the gun,” one student told the Houston Chronicle. The school was placed on lockdown shortly after 7:30 a.m., when the shooting began. Police say a second suspect has been arrested.

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    Plane With 104 Passengers Crashes in Cuba 

    “It appears there is a high number of victims.” That’s what Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel reportedly said after visiting the site of a plane crash near the Jose Marti International Airport earlier today. According to Cuban state media, a Boeing 737 carrying 104 passengers, plus nine crew members, crashed shortly after taking off from Havana’s main airport. The Communist Party newspaper, Granma, reported that only three people had survived the crash, which resulted in an explosion that sent black smoke billowing into the sky, eyewitnesses reported.

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    Trump Threatens Kim in Confusion Over ‘Libya Model’

    Describing plans for North Korea’s denuclearization, national security adviser John Bolton recently referenced the “Libya model,” a 2003 deal when then-leader Moammar Gaddafi voluntarily abandoned a nuclear weapons program. That prompted an angry statement from Pyongyang. But yesterday, President Donald Trump, apparently interpreting “Libya model” to mean NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya and Gaddafi’s subsequent death, threatened that Kim Jong Un could suffer a similar fate “if we don’t make a deal.” Pyongyang’s said it may cancel a scheduled June 12 summit, but Trump’s still predicted a “successful meeting.”

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    Police Raid Former Malaysian Prime Minister’s Properties

    They’re in hot purse-uit. Among the goods reported seized from six locations are 300 boxes of designer purses and 72 bags filled with cash and jewels. Najib Razak, who was defeated at the polls last week after his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad came out of retirement to challenge him, has been accused of siphoning billions from a state investment fund. Though investigators during Najib’s term found no evidence of wrongdoing, he and his wife are banned from leaving the country as the new government continues its own investigation.

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    White House Plans End to Funding for Clinics That Discuss Abortion

    A new U.S. rule mirroring Reagan-era regulations would deprive health centers like Planned Parenthood of federal dollars if they share space with abortion providers or counsel women that abortion is an option. Though a 1991 Supreme Court ruling found that the rule is legally valid, it was never enforced. The administration has already reinstated the global gag rule, which keeps international organizations that receive U.S. aid from discussing abortion. The new rule’s expected to prompt lawsuits from abortion rights advocates — and figure into this year’s midterm elections.

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    Senate Confirms Gina Haspel as CIA Director

    Despite concerns over her role in a post-9/11 interrogation program, Haspel won confirmation in a 54-45 vote yesterday, becoming the first woman to lead the CIA. Several senators — including Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam — argued against her confirmation. Haspel, who also wrote a memo that led to video evidence of brutal interrogations being destroyed, said she would never restart a program that many critics say amounted to torture — though President Trump has said such a program should be reestablished.

  7. Sorghum Concessions, Family Ties and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: China has dropped an anti-dumping probe into U.S. sorghum imports as part of ongoing trade negotiations. Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law has cut a plea deal that entails his cooperation with the Justice Department. And Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle at tomorrow’s royal wedding after scheduled surgery kept her own father from flying to the U.K.

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

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    Ukraine Claims Combat Dolphins Died in Anti-Russia Hunger Strike

    When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it took over Ukraine’s facility for training military dolphins. Kiev repeatedly requested the animals be returned amid fears that the mammals could be used as Russian military assets. But now Kiev’s representative in Crimea, Boris Babin, says the dolphins died after going on a patriotic hunger strike. ”Many Ukrainian soldiers took their oath and loyalty much less seriously than these dolphins,” he said. Some have disparaged Babin’s account, including a Russian official who claimed the dolphins died of old age or were sold.

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    EU Sues Six Member Nations Over Diesel Engines

    This is exhausting. Yesterday, the European Union filed suit against Germany, Hungary, France, Romania, Italy and the U.K. for exceeding their pollution targets — a lapse largely blamed on diesel engine emissions. The EU has sent warning letters and requested clarification on how cars in those six countries are deemed fit to take on the road. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her government has taken huge steps to battle pollution — though those haven’t yet included driving bans, which are expected to be a hard sell in the country’s car-focused culture.

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    US Birthrate Falls 2 Percent to 30-Year Low

    At least Americans have fertile imaginations. Theories as to why the U.S. saw just 3,853,472 births in 2017 — the biggest one-year drop in seven years, and a plunge across almost every maternal age group — range from economic uncertainty to young people delaying milestones like having kids. The teen birthrate has also fallen 55 percent in the last decade. The numbers align with previous predictions that American population stability will increasingly depend on immigration, not just the fertility of current U.S. citizens.

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    ‘Get Out’ Director Gets New Amazon Prime Series

    Amazon just picked up its first series since executive Roy Price left the studio amid sexual harassment allegations: A Jordan Peele-produced story about 1970s Nazis. The Hunt follows a troupe of former Nazi hunters, now living in 1977 New York, who discover that Nazis have escaped to the U.S. and are conspiring to create a new empire. Peele, who won an Oscar for Get Out, is also producing a new HBO show and rebooting The Twilight Zone for CBS. The Hunt will start with a 10-episode season.

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    Qatar Pays $100,000 to Keep DC Metro Open for Hockey Fans

    Last year, President Trump accused Qatar of funding terrorism and the country saw its bitter regional conflict with Saudi Arabia capture world headlines. But since then Qatar’s been running a campaign to rehabilitate its image. That apparently includes paying $100,000 to keep D.C.’s metro system open for an extra hour last night as the Washington Capitals battled the Tampa Bay Lightning in Eastern Conference playoffs, likely to curry favor with the U.S. political elite. Not so favorable: The game, as the Lightning beat the Caps 4-2.