The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Michael Cohen to Testify Before Congress

    Can he be believed? President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney has agreed to appear before the now-Democrat-controlled House Oversight Committee. Cohen said he welcomed giving “a full and credible account” at the Feb. 7 hearing as part of his commitment to “provide the American people with answers.” It’s not his first hearing. In March, he’s to begin serving three years in prison for lying earlier to Congress, along with financial crimes and violating campaign finance laws for, as he admitted in court, paying hush money at Trump’s behest to hide alleged trysts.

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    Trump Storms Out of Shutdown Talks

    It was a “total waste of time.” That’s how President Donald Trump characterized Wednesday’s meeting to negotiate an end to the partial government shutdown, now in its 20th day. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recounted that after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear that Democrats would not fund the president’s Mexican border wall, Trump abruptly left the room, saying, “We have nothing to discuss.” White House officials indicated that without a deal, the president may circumvent Congress and declare a national emergency to build the barrier with Pentagon funds.

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    Rival Denounces ‘Rigged’ Congo Election Results

    The electoral commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo declared today that Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the country’s main opposition party, won the presidency with 38.6 percent of the vote. But rival Martin Fayulu called the result “rigged, fabricated and invented” and the Catholic Church — which had thousands of election monitors at polling stations — claimed Fayulu won. The Dec. 30 election was an attempt at the first democratic transfer of power since 1960. President Joseph Kabila, whose hand-picked successor came in third, has held power for 18 years.

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    Trump and Kim Will ‘Soon’ Meet as China Backs Summit

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in assured the world that a second summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to happen “soon.” After Kim concluded a three-day trip to Beijing yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping — who has reportedly accepted Kim’s invitation to visit North Korea — said that China would play a “positive and constructive role” in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Meanwhile, experts say U.S. sanctions will be a focus of any upcoming talks between Trump and Kim.

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    Markets Make Record Rebound, But It’s Not All Rosy

    U.S. stocks have made a fast recovery after December’s lows: Between Christmas Eve and Jan. 9, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 gained more than 9.5 percent. The latest rally is the best 10-day performance since July 2009. Analysts chalk it up to December’s jobs report and signs that the Federal Reserve will take its time in increasing interest rates. However, the good news may not last long. American stock index futures dropped in Asia after few details emerged from China-U.S. trade talks.

  6. Yemen Airstrike, Judd Judgment and Content Unavailable

    Know This:  A Houthi drone attacked a government military parade in Yemen today, reportedly killing several. A judge has dismissed Ashley Judd’s claim of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. And the Chinese government issued new guidelines yesterday for short online videos, banning content including “money worship,” parodying the national anthem and foot fetishes.

    #OZYfact: The number of foreign students studying full-time in Russia has risen by more than 60 percent over the past five years. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a prolific Sports Reporter and Editor to join our growing team. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Jeff Bezos’ Divorce May Drop Him to 4th-Richest Person

    Who gets custody of Alexa? The Amazon founder and world’s richest individual announced Wednesday that he and his wife, MacKenzie, are ending their marriage after 25 years. There’s no animosity, tweeted the parents of four, who plan to “continue our shared lives as friends.” The amicable split should help with managing the Day One Fund, which the couple founded to help homeless families and open preschools. If no prenuptial agreement exists, Washington state law would grant MacKenzie almost $70 billion, making her the world’s richest woman.

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    New Find Reveals Prehistoric Whale Was Deadly Hunter

    This Basilosaurus isis did not die hungry. Analysis of a 37 million-year-old fossilized whale found in Egypt indicates that its stomach contained parts of around a dozen smaller whales and large fish. Especially surprising was that the skull fragments consumed had bite marks, suggesting that Basilosaurus was an apex predator, not a scavenger as previously thought. The creature grew as large as 50 feet long, swimming in shallow Eocene seas in what is now North Africa. It also had small hind legs — vestiges of its land-walking ancestors.

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    China Wants More Tutors, Fewer Copycats in Tech Race

    When it comes to transportation, the country is increasingly shifting focus to homegrown approaches rather than copying foreign competitors. State-owned firms and private startups are partnering with foreign educational institutions, or buying niche companies, to embrace technological innovation without troubling intellectual property concerns. The partnerships have led to hyperloop investment, a new generation of flying cars and the world’s first 3D-printed car. Chinese businesses could soon redefine the way we get around — that is, with a little help from their friends.

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    ‘Green Book’ Writer, Director Under Heat for ‘Jokes’ and Tweet

    Golden Globe-winning director Peter Farrelly apologized Wednesday after a 20-year-old story surfaced about him flashing his genitals at coworkers as a joke. “I was an idiot,” said Farrelly, whose prank victims included Cameron Diaz on the set of There’s Something About Mary. Meanwhile, Green Book’s writer and producer, Nick Vallelonga, faced criticism after a 2015 tweet circulated in which he agreed with then-candidate Donald Trump about witnessing “thousands of people” in New Jersey cheering after the Sept. 11 attacks. Vallelonga has deleted his Twitter account.

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    World Readies for Australian Open

    Receiving top seeding, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep are the athletes to beat at next week’s competition — despite neither winning the tournament last January. The first of the four Grand Slam tournaments is sure to be heated as both defending champ Roger Federer and No. 2 Rafael Nadal seek to oust Djokovic. Although an unusually strong roster of up-and-comers, such as Germany’s Alexander Zverev, will take to the Melbourne courts Monday, many will be watching a familiar face: Serena Williams, who won in 2017 while pregnant, is seeded 16th.