The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Reports: Fashion Designer Kate Spade Found Dead

    The celebrated businesswoman was found hanged in her New York City apartment, local police told the Associated Press. Spade, who was discovered by a housekeeper this morning, launched her eponymous handbag company in 1993 with husband Andy Spade. It grew into a world-renown brand, which she left in 2007 after it was sold for $125 million, with 140 U.S. stores and more than 175 international locations. The Kansas-born designer was known for her sleek and brightly-colored products. Police said Spade, 55, left a note.

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    Robert Mueller Accuses Paul Manafort of Witness Tampering

    Prosecutors for the special counsel’s office said President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, currently on house arrest, contacted witnesses in his case through encrypted WhatsApp messages and phone calls, and via an intermediary. One witness said Manafort asked him to commit perjury regarding a secret lobbying campaign in the United States. Manafort faces multiple charges including laundering millions of dollars from lobbying for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine. Prosecutors have asked a judge to revise the terms of his $10 million bail or send him to jail to await trial.

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    Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple

    In a 7-2 decision, America’s highest court ruled yesterday that a Colorado baker was exercising his constitutional right when he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012. Still, the decision — seen as a victory for religious freedom advocates — is not a broader ruling on businesses that refuse to serve LGBT customers on religious grounds. Instead, the Supreme Court’s verdict was based on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission expressing an anti-religious bias when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips.

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    Entire Villages Buried by Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano

    The death toll is at 62 and expected to climb after Sunday’s volcanic eruption about 25 miles from Guatemala City. Soldiers and firefighters are searching for survivors and thousands of people are living in shelters after the villages of El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes were completely engulfed by pyroclastic flows. Undeterred by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake off the country’s southern coast yesterday, rescuers braved ground hot enough to melt their shoes, combing the ash-covered landscape for the scores of people who are still missing.

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    New Apple Feature Jams Facebook’s User-Tracking Tools

    How do you like them apples? Facebook has long automatically tracked users around the internet using cookies attached to “like” and “share” buttons, as have other companies like Google. But at its WWDC conference yesterday, Apple announced a new Safari browser feature that will explicitly ask users if they accept cookies every time a site like Facebook tries to track them. If other browsers follow suit, it could put a serious dent in Facebook’s lucrative data-collection operations — and raise tensions between the social network and Apple over privacy.

  6. Long Swim, Political Capital and the Stanley Cup

    Know This: French swimmer Ben Lecomte, 51, has embarked from Japan in his attempt to be the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean. Today’s primary races in California could be critical to Democratic attempts to retake the House in November. And the Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights 6-2 last night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, bringing them one win away from the ultimate prize.

    Remember This Number: $800,000. That’s how much U.S. intelligence officer Ron Rockwell Hansen, arrested Saturday on suspicion of ferrying classified information to the Chinese government, allegedly accepted from Beijing.

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    Howard Schultz Stepping Down From Starbucks

    A latte speculation is brewing. The executive chairman and former CEO, who joined Starbucks in 1982 and oversaw its dramatic expansion, said he’ll step down June 26 to consider new ventures “from philanthropy to public service.” Some speculate the Democrat may even try a bid for the presidency. During his tenure, Schultz, 64, focused on social responsibility measures, and in an interview about his departure said he was “deeply concerned about our country.” He’ll remain chairman emeritus while Myron Ullman, former CEO of J.C. Penney, takes his place on the board.

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    Investors Are Getting Interested in Somaliland

    While most investors shy away from war-torn Somalia, the country’s north — which has declared itself a separate nation — might be a different story. Most of the world doesn’t recognize the Republic of Somaliland as independent, or all that safe, but its strategic geography, relative stability and mineral wealth mean investment is pouring in. Efforts to create roads across the desert and modernize a Berbera port to accommodate supertankers are opening Somaliland up to nearby markets and could transform its economy if the region can keep the peace.

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    Canadian Cop Fired After 11 Years on Paid Suspension

    He got his money’s worth. Toronto officer Ioan-Florin Floria was arrested in 2007 on charges of stifling investigations into two violent kidnappings. Though he was cleared of criminal charges in 2012, he remained on paid suspension awaiting a disciplinary hearing. He was found guilty of misconduct last year, and yesterday he was finally fired after a police tribunal found him “well beyond rehabilitation.” But Floria is appealing his dismissal — a move that’ll keep him on the city’s payroll. He has reportedly already collected $774,000 during his suspension.

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    Woody Allen Boasts About His #MeToo Credentials

    “I should be the poster boy for the #MeToo movement.” That’s what the Oscar-winning director told an Argentinian news program yesterday, boasting that he has a “wonderful record” of working with actresses and has never been accused of sexual impropriety by a coworker. Allen described himself as “a big advocate” for the movement to expose harassers. But he also expressed dismay about being lumped in with disgraced Hollywood figures like Harvey Weinstein over the allegations — which Allen denies — that he molested his adopted 7-year-old daughter in 1992.

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    Trump Cancels Philadelphia Eagles’ White House Visit

    He called an audible. The traditional Super Bowl champs’ visit was called off at the last minute after fewer than 10 Eagles players said they’d attend. President Trump blamed the cancellation on some players’ support for national anthem protests. Instead, he invited fans to a “different type of ceremony” to be held today, accompanied by military bands playing patriotic tunes. An OZY poll last year found that fans’ loyalty to the president was a major reason for boycotting NFL games. Meanwhile, some Pennsylvania Democrats invited Eagles players to tour the Capitol instead.