The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. jussie smollett 2018

    All Charges Dropped Against Jussie Smollett

    Criminal charges against the Empire star for fabricating a racist and homophobic attack in downtown Chicago earlier this year were dropped by a judge at a court hearing Tuesday. The actor, who is black and gay, was charged with felony disorderly conduct when he filed the police report claiming two people he could not identify attacked him on Jan. 29. 

    What has been the impact on the star? While his record has now been wiped clean of the complaint, his legal team made the point that Smollett had been vilified in the very public case around the events.

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    House Failed to Override Trump Veto

    A vote in the Democratic-controlled House of Congress Tuesday failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to override President Donald Trump’s first veto. It comes after Donald Trump tried to circumvent Congress for additional border security funding by declaring a national emergency at the southwestern border, triggering a bipartisan disapproval resolution struck down with the veto.

    What does this enable the president to do? It allows Trump to mobilize an additional $3.6 billion from military construction projects to erect barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Attempts to block the additional border funding will now move to the courts.

    Read this OZY feature on the wall collapse Modi is counting on.

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    Trump, GOP Ride Post-Mueller Momentum

    After special counsel Robert Mueller’s partial exoneration of President Donald Trump, both the president and his party are on the offensive: As Trump accused investigators of “treasonous things,” Republican lawmakers called for a probe into Mueller’s work and demanded the resignation of the House Intelligence Committee’s Democratic chairman. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders asked Attorney General William Barr to release Mueller’s full report next week.

    Will the GOP strategy pay off? One Republican consultant wrote on OZY that the party’s “energy will not quickly fade” — and that Mueller’s findings will secure Trump’s re-election.

  4. gaza border square shutterstock 408336367

    Tensions Simmer as Gaza, Israel Trade Fire

    Palestinian group Hamas says Egypt helped broker a cease-fire with Israel after the two sides became embroiled in another round of tit-for-tat fire, which saw Israel launch airstrikes against the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket attack near Tel Aviv. Although no deaths were reported, the exchange has stoked fears of another war between Israel and Gaza — which would be the fourth since 2007.

    What could this mean for Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu? With an election just two weeks away, some say Gaza poses a long-term problem Netanyahu is unlikely to surmount any time soon.

    Read OZY’s Donald Dossier on why Trump’s and Bibi’s fates are intertwined.

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    Apple Eyes New Path With Services Launch

    In a major strategic shift, Apple unveiled a slew of new products — including entertainment, financial, gaming and news services — aimed at helping the company pivot away from product sales. The focus of Monday’s much-vaunted announcement was video subscription service Apple TV Plus, which will include around two dozen series involving celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. It’s part of an effort to challenge streaming giants like Netflix.

    Are investors going crazy? Not exactly: While Apple shares closed down 1.2 percent yesterday, some analysts expressed concern about the lack of details offered about Apple TV Plus.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Apple’s big launch.

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    Michael Avenatti Charged With Extortion, Fraud

    Federal prosecutors in New York say the 48-year-old celebrity attorney and prominent critic of President Trump attempted to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening to publicly damage the company’s reputation. Avenatti was also charged in Los Angeles with wire and bank fraud for allegedly embezzling a client’s settlement cash. He was arrested in Manhattan on Monday and released on bond.

    What are his former clients saying? Stormy Daniels, the adult film star represented by Avenatti in her lawsuit against Trump, wasn’t surprised by the charges, saying he’d dealt with her “extremely dishonestly.”

  7. Also Important…

    British lawmakers have set up a series of votes tomorrow on alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Airbus has inked a multibillion dollar deal with China to sell it 300 planes. And the Pentagon has allocated up to $1 billion for 57 miles of “pedestrian fencing” along the U.S.-Mexico border in support of President Trump’s emergency declaration.

    #OZYfact: More than 600 U.S. personnel died in air crashes during World War II while flying over a part of the Himalayas known as “the Hump.” Read more on OZY

    Listen Up! Get inside the minds of Lorena Bobbitt, James Holmes and John Hinckley — and explore the history of the insanity defense — with Season 4 of The Thread, the latest installment of OZY’s popular podcast. Subscribe now on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


  1. Mueller

    Mueller Report Will Embolden World’s Strongmen

    Special counsel Robert Mueller’s partial exoneration of President Trump is music to the ears of a growing breed of entrenched world leaders who liken investigations against them to witch hunts, OZY reports. Taking a page from Trump’s playbook, leaders like Israel’s Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are casting themselves as fighters against the “establishment” and various versions of the “deep state.”

    Will it work? Mueller’s findings could echo through the world’s democracies — especially those lacking solid checks and balances — in upcoming elections.

  2. shell

    Shell Offers UK Customers Fully Renewable Energy

    Acquired last year by the British-Dutch oil and gas giant, First Utility — the U.K.’s seventh largest energy supplier — has switched its 700,000 customers to 100 percent renewable electricity. Energy sources will include biomass, wind and solar power. A top Shell executive said the move would give customers “more flexibility, greater control and cleaner energy.”

    What’s next for Royal Dutch Shell? Aiming to become the world’s largest power company within 15 years, it’s spending an annual $2 billion on its new energies division to help diversify beyond fossil fuels.

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    US Authorities Need Help Burning Tons of Drugs

    They’re lighting up. According to a recent job posting, the Drug Enforcement Administration is seeking a contractor in Arizona to incinerate marijuana at a rate of 1,000 pounds per hour for the next six months. Likewise, Customs and Border Protection’s Atlanta office is seeking an incinerator to burn up to 5,000 pounds of assorted drugs at least eight times a year.

    What are the job requirements? Besides mandating that all employees are subjected to background checks and drug tests, the DEA also requires the burn site have a fence tall enough to keep curious onlookers away.

    Read this OZY story about the podcast giving you the straight dope about drugs.

  4. the walker brothers

    Musical Icon Scott Walker Dies at Age 76

    Often cited as one of modern music’s most unique voices, Walker died Friday in London, his record label confirmed yesterday. Born Noel Scott Engel in Hamilton, Ohio, Walker began his career in the teen pop act The Walker Brothers in the early 1960s. He later turned his back on his heartthrob image to pursue a solo career defined by darker and more experimental sounds, incorporating influences from drone rock to Gregorian chants.

    What’s his legacy? Critics have praised Walker’s “avant-garde genius,” while legendary acts like David Bowie and Radiohead have named him as an influence.

    Read OZY’s profile of the female rocker both punks and swifties can love.

  5. conor mcgregor

    Is Conor McGregor Really Retiring?

    He’s notorious for this. In a surprise announcement via Twitter today, the 30-year-old Irish fighter said he’s bowing out of mixed martial arts. While McGregor’s most recent bout — against Russian lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov in October — ended in defeat, the former trainee plumber has done well for himself: Though hobbled by legal troubles, he earned $30 million in a career-defining 2017 fight against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

    But is McGregor for real? Some suspect his announcement is a negotiating ploy, noting that he tweeted a similar statement in 2016 while seeking a rematch.