The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Mueller Report Details Trump’s Efforts to End Probe

    In his highly anticipated report, special counsel Robert Mueller revealed that although there was “insufficient evidence” to establish that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia, Trump sought to derail the investigation for months. His attempts were unsuccessful, investigators wrote, mostly because his aides “declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.” Mueller chose not to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice but pointedly did not exonerate him.

    What happens next? It’s up to Congress to decide how — or whether — to pursue Mueller’s findings, while Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale pledged that “justice will be served.”

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    Journalist Killed in Northern Ireland Riot

    “Sick to my stomach tonight.” So said a colleague of 29-year-old Lyra McKee, who died after being shot by a “violent dissident republican,” police claimed. Rioting erupted in Londonderry last night after authorities executed a search warrant while probing suspected attacks planned for Easter weekend. The deputy leader of the republican Sinn Fein party described McKee’s murder as “an attack on the Good Friday agreement.”

    Is violence returning to Northern Ireland? Observers say the so-called New IRA, a dissident movement born in 2012, has been active in the area and is linked to numerous attacks, including a January car bomb and the murder of two prison officers.

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    UN Warns Against Full-Blown War in Libya

    As renegade Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar continues his assault on Tripoli, the United Nations says increasing international support for both sides of the conflict could push it to a boiling point. Haftar, who enjoys support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Russia, is hoping to overthrow the UN-backed Government of National Accord. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says at least 205 have died so far in the fight for Tripoli.

    How messy could it get? Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj believes the mounting chaos could invite ISIS back into the mix.

    Check out OZY’s profile of the general dreaming of becoming the next Gadhafi.

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    National Enquirer Will Be Sold for $100M

    Former Hudson News chief James Cohen will buy the supermarket tabloid from publisher American Media Inc. along with its sister tabloids, the Globe and National Examiner. The sale transfers control of the scandal-ridden Enquirer away from AMI President and CEO David Pecker, a Trump confidant who faced criticism for allegedly using the tabloid to help boost his ally. It also follows public accusations of extortion leveled by Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.

    What’s Cohen’s plan? He says he aims to expand the Enquirer’s content across numerous platforms, including using its archive for documentaries and podcasts.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Donald Dossier on the tabloid scandal.

  5. Also Important…

    Japanese prosecutors are reportedly preparing to indict disgraced former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn on yet another charge. Police say the 37-year-old man arrested outside New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral with gas canisters late Wednesday had purchased a one-way ticket to Rome for the following day. And an Australian father saved his 14-month-old son after a dingo dragged the sleeping child from a motor home.

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

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    Years After School Shootings, Property Prices Are Still Down

    As these tragedies have crept into otherwise quiet American suburbs in recent years, they’ve left an unforeseen consequence, OZY reports: falling house prices. Researchers studying shooting-affected areas found that the average house price dropped around $15,000, and that homes with more bedrooms — those most likely to include school-age children — saw the steepest declines. They point to stigma, rather than safety, as a likely cause.

    How big is the impact? The U.S. property market loses an estimated $2.3 billion annually because of homicides that have affected homes or neighborhoods.

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    Uber to Spin Off Driverless Unit With $1B in Japanese Cash

    Confirming earlier speculation, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced yesterday that Uber Advanced Technologies Group will be a new corporate entity valued at $7.25 billion — thanks to a $1 billion investment from Toyota, auto parts supplier Denso and SoftBank’s VisionFund. The cash injection gives a badly needed boost to an unprofitable unit that’s been marred by unfavorable PR after one of its test cars killed a pedestrian in Phoenix.

    What does this mean for Uber? Spinning off ATG’s expensive research and development costs will reduce Uber’s losses, which could make it more appealing to investors ahead of its May IPO.

    Check out OZY’s Special Briefing on this year’s wave of tech IPOs.

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    Earthquakes Rattle California Every Few Minutes

    They’re shaking things up. According to a new study by California-based researchers, the Golden State’s sunny southern areas are hit with a tiny earthquake about every three minutes — 10 times more often than previously known. Aided by more advanced technology, experts were able to clock formerly undetected tremors with a magnitude of 0 to 1, leading to the discovery of some 1.8 million micro-temblors between 2008 and 2017.

    Why does this discovery matter? Seismologists hope the study could help detect undiscovered faults and patterns of foreshocks and earthquake swarms, potentially leading to more effective predictions.

    Read this OZY feature about Tajikistan’s natural-disaster-in-waiting.

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    Hollywood Writers Fire Agents En Masse

    In a sharp escalation of the entertainment industry war between writers and agents, the Writers Guild of America says 92 percent of its members who backed a new code of conduct for talent agencies have dismissed their representatives. Last month, thousands of WGA members voted to approve the code, which condemns so-called packaging fees, while just this week the organization sued Hollywood’s four largest talent agencies.

    Will the show go on? The power struggle threatens to throw the industry into chaos, especially since neither side seems willing to back down.

    Read OZY’s profile of the Hollywood stuntwoman fighting whitewashing.

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    UK Soccer Players Boycott Social Media Over Racism

    After a number of racist incidents online and in stadiums recently, professional soccer players in England and Wales are boycotting social media for 24 hours to protest how platforms and sporting authorities respond to abuse. Athletes have been encouraged by the Professional Footballers’ Association to spread the hashtag #Enough before they disengage. FIFA said it “applauds” the campaign, adding that it’s planning a global anti-discrimination action of its own.

    What do the players want? Many are hoping to compel social media networks to more effectively punish users who harass or discriminate against others.