The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Volcano in Guatemala Erupts, Killing Dozens

    At least 25 have been killed and hundreds injured after Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted on Sunday. The volcano, one of the most active in Central America and located around 25 miles from the capital Guatemala City, sent a five-mile stream of lava into the village of El Rodeo. It’s the second eruption this year and the largest since 1974 according to local observers. Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said a national emergency response had been put into effect as explosions continued and the capital’s airport closed due to falling ash.

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    Report: Trump Lawyers Said Presidents Can’t Obstruct Justice 

    He’s the man. That’s how President Donald Trump’s attorneys explained to special counsel Robert Mueller why their client needn’t answer potential subpoenas regarding obstruction of justice. The New York Times reports learning of the letter, which asserts that the Constitution empowers the chief executive to dismiss any federal official — like FBI director James Comey — or end any federal investigation for any reason. The disputed theory comes on the heels of another Times report: That Trump dictated a false statement about his son Donald Jr.’s infamous 2016 meeting with Kremlin-linked Russians.

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    ‘We’re Getting Along,’ Trump Says in Restoring Kim Talks

    After meeting a top adviser to Kim Jong Un at the White House, President Donald Trump declared Friday that his June 12 summit in Singapore with the North Korean leader is back on. Kim Yong Chol’s D.C. visit was the first in 18 years by a senior Pyongyang official, and has lent the discussion a new tone. Trump said he’ll avoid “maximum pressure” now that “we’re going to really start a process,” albeit a slow one. Some worry the U.S. is making concessions, but many are relieved to see diplomacy transcending belligerence.

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    Europe Braces for a Populist Italy

    After an inconclusive election left Italian politicians floundering without a government, the continent — and Wall Street — shuddered with the prospects of new elections and Italy flicking its chin at the eurozone. But on Friday, two leading parties, populist Five Star and right-wing Lega, cobbled together a government that won the approval of President Sergio Mattarella, who swore in Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Roiling stock markets stabilized on the news, but Europe won’t be the same, especially with a new Italian interior minister vowing to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.

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    GOP Senators Investigate the FBI

    Seemingly taking a cue from President Trump, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley plans to hear testimony from Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general. The hearing, recently rescheduled from Monday to June 11, is to examine the president’s oft-tweeted charges that FBI and its dismissed deputy director, Andrew McCabe, improperly investigated Trump and helped opponent Hillary Clinton by not prosecuting her. Meanwhile, D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office investigators reportedly interviewed dismissed FBI director James Comey on whether McCabe lied to federal agents, and are considering the possibility of filing charges against the ex-lawman.

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    Was the Truth ‘Assassinated’ With Arkady Babchenko?

    For nearly 24 hours, the world thought Arkady Babchenko, a Russian journalist, was dead. Then he showed up at a press conference, where Ukrainian officials said his staged assassination in Kiev was a sting to catch Russian agents at work. While they hailed the operation as a success, it merely added to the maelstrom of disinformation and propaganda that’s helped mobilize pro-Russian and Ukrainian combatants for the past four years. As those caught in the crossfire await details of the intricate deception scheme, they’ll undoubtedly be wondering: What else is fake?

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    Oklahoma Teachers Are Reshaping State Politics

    There’s been an awakening. After teachers decided on a walkout and march from Tulsa to Oklahoma City — inspired by activism in West Virginia demanding more funding — they were met with a surprising amount of grassroots support in their conservative state. Some 80,000 demonstrated at the capitol, where legislators routinely cut school outlays. Despite last century’s habit of electing Democrats, the state has been in Republican hands for over a decade. But the teachers’ movement seems to have galvanized a base looking for change, and maybe to revive a blue-state tradition.

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    The Week Ahead: Golden State again hosts Cleveland for Game 2 of the NBA finals today. Democrats hope to flip Republican congressional seats in November, but California’s unusual nonpartisan primary on Tuesday could shut them out of some competitive districts. And the G-7 summit begins Friday in Canada, where President Trump will face allies’ ire over steel and aluminum tariffs.

    Know This: The Washington Capitals beat the Las Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 to take a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup hockey finals Saturday night. After ending its latest round of trade talks with U.S. officials, China warned that its pledges to buy more American goods will be voided by new tariffs proposed by President Trump. And forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt, whose work included investigating the 1996 death of child beauty pageant star JonBenét Ramsey, is one of four people killed in Arizona last week by what police say is the same gunman.

    Get up to Speed: Can the European Union single-handedly protect the world’s online privacy? The OZY PDB Special Briefing will tell you what you need to know about the General Data Protection Regulation and its effect on how websites handle your data. With carefully curated facts, opinions, images and videos, this latest Special Briefing will catch you up and vault you ahead.


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    Steph Curry Leads Warriors to 2-0 Finals Lead

    And nine makes two. Stephen Curry’s nine three-pointers broke the NBA finals record and helped vault the Golden State Warriors to a 2-1 championship series lead over Cleveland. The 122-103 victory in Oakland was so lopsided that the league’s best player, LeBron James, sat on the Cavaliers’ bench for the final four minutes despite his impressive — for anyone else — 29 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Now the action turns to Ohio, where hometown fans might give King James’ Cavs a fighting chance to avert a sweep.



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    Who Owns America’s Riverbanks? 

    Since Roman Emperor Justinian, the principle of public access to the banks of waterways has influenced the laws of the civilized world. On 20 feet of beach along California’s Russian River, John Harreld and vacation homeowner Mark O’Flynn have created a two-year microcosm of a nationwide struggle: between the increasing rights of riverfront property owners and the codified right of, say, kayakers, to enjoy the riverside up to the high-water mark. But even law enforcement sometimes backs those posting “no trespassing” signs, leaving visitors the burden of proving they can disembark in peace.

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    Sexy Accounting Threatens the Global Economy

    Everyone blames the bankers after a financial crisis, but rock star accountants let it happen — and could well do it again — argues financial journalist Richard Brooks in his forthcoming book, Bean Counters: The Triumph of the Accountants and How They Broke Capitalism. The four largest accounting firms audit 97 percent of U.S. public companies and Britain’s top 100 corporations. And they make billions from consulting for those same clients and even for governments that regulate them. That’s fostering conflicts that demand, as one accountant said of his profession, to “make it boring again.”

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    Hit the Books and Get Happy

    For 1,200 Yale students, happiness is just a term paper away. For everyone else, there’s the Psychology and the Good Life crib sheet. Professor Laurie Santos saw that students at the elite university were highly achieving but appeared desolate, prompting the course PSYC 157, which focuses on the hows and whys of happiness. Now anyone can take the course online through and learn why aphorisms like “money can’t buy happiness” aren’t necessarily right or wrong, and how to strive for the upper percentiles on the 5-point scale of contentment.

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    Knock Off the Knockoffs, Japan Tells China

    They’re beefing over “Kobe.” Fraudulent online claims accompanying food products out of China — labeled as Japanese-made — are proliferating. An estimated 80 percent of the faux-Japanese web vendors, selling everything from Nishio no Matcha tea to Yubari melons, have Chinese origins, and Tokyo’s and Beijing’s brand infringement efforts aren’t keeping up. As the U.S. takes a step back from Asia, Tokyo is struggling to compete with Beijing on the global economic stage, but it’s insisting that when it comes to its own products, the fight must be fair.

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    How the ‘Trump Effect’ Could Derail the US World Cup Bid

    Be careful whom you rough up on the pitch. While its bona fides for hosting the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and Canada are unparalleled, the U.S. could still lose out to Morocco. President Trump’s description of Africa as home to “sh*thole countries” is but one insult that’s seen as possibly turning some small states, like the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, against America. With equal voting power in the host nation decision, expected on June 13, the little guys will get their chance to kick back.