The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. protect mueller sign at protest shutterstock 1225340527

    Robert Mueller to Testify on Capitol Hill

    Complying with subpoenas from Democrats probing potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump, the special counsel has agreed to testify before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 17. In what observers say will be Washington’s most high-profile spectacle in years, the famously tight-lipped former FBI chief will field questions about the particulars of his team’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. In response, Trump tweeted, “Presidential Harassment!”

    Will Mueller reveal anything meaningful? That’s unclear, since he’s already said he wouldn’t provide Congress anything that isn’t already public.

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    House Approves Massive Border Aid Bill

    After reports of migrant children facing dismal conditions at Customs and Border Protection facilities, the House approved $4.5 billion in emergency funding to address the border crisis. The package includes strict stipulations on how federal authorities could spend the cash and requires higher standards for migrant care. Meanwhile, acting CBP chief John Sanders resigned yesterday over what insiders claimed was the overwhelming nature of the challenge.

    Will the legislation make it through the Senate? It’s unlikely — especially since the GOP-controlled chamber has produced its own $4.6 billion bill, which includes far less funding for those in custody.

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    US-Iran Dialogue Appears Distant Amid War of Words

    Fears of conflict between Washington and Tehran continue to rise after President Trump yesterday threatened “obliteration” against the Islamic Republic if it struck “anything American.” For his part, President Hassan Rouhani told French leader Emmanuel Macron that Iran “never seeks war,” though a Revolutionary Guard leader declared that no country “would dare violate Iran’s soil.”

    Are talks even possible? Experts suggest few Iranian officials — who see little difference between sanctions and war — can afford to sit down with the U.S. in the absence of any economic or diplomatic incentives.

    Read OZY’s op-ed about the two countries’ “shaky ladder of escalation.”

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    South Korea: US, North Korea Holding Talks

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in has suggested a third summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could be in the cards, saying the two sides are holding “behind-the-scenes talks.” That follows reports that the leaders exchanged personal letters: Kim’s was “beautiful,” Trump said, while the president’s was “excellent,” according to Kim. Still, North Korea’s foreign ministry slammed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday after he touted the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions.

    Will the third time be the charm? While Washington and Pyongyang remain far apart on policy, Moon suggested recent diplomacy by Beijing and Moscow has helped narrow the gap.

  5. Also Important…

    Tonight Democratic contenders for the U.S. presidency will appear in the first of two televised debates this week. A photograph of an immigrant man and his daughter lying face-down in the Rio Grande River has become the grisly symbol of the Central American migrant crisis. And a Gambian beauty queen has claimed she was raped by former President Yahya Jammeh while he was in office.

    #OZYfact: Today’s monopolies are likely to be the most productive companies around. Read more on OZY.

    OZY Fest is back! Join OZY in New York’s Central Park July 20-21, where some of the biggest names and boldest thinkers — from John Legend and Trevor Noah to Stacey Abrams and Malcolm Gladwell — will help make this year’s OZY Fest the most memorable yet. Click here for tickets.


  1. juul shutterstock 1429931198

    San Francisco Bans E-Cigarettes in US First

    City officials voted yesterday that nicotine vaporizers will need the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before they can be sold in San Francisco — a process that’s unlikely to happen before 2022. That means Juul and other manufacturers will be banned from store shelves by early 2020, while San Franciscans will also be barred from ordering vaping products for delivery. 

    How is Juul fighting back? It’s pushing for a ballot initiative that would override the legislation — a move critics say is reminiscent of a Big Tobacco tactic.

    OZY asks: What can e-cigarettes teach us about fake news?

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    UN Expert: ‘Climate Apartheid’ Is Looming

    The world is heading toward a scenario where wealthy people use their resources to evade environmental catastrophe while the poor suffer limited access to water, food and housing, according to U.N. expert Philip Alston. He anticipates that the poorer half of the world’s population will see the worst consequences, despite being responsible for only 10 percent of emissions. Even if current climate targets are met, Alston says, tens of millions will still slip into poverty.

    What other consequences can we expect? Democracy itself could come under threat, as governments curb civil rights to cope with the crisis.

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    These Spin-offs Are Overtaking Ride-Hailing Giants

    Uber and Lyft haven’t turned a profit yet, but that hasn’t stopped businesses from sprouting up alongside them, OZY reports. Firefly installs screens atop vehicles with neighborhood-specific ads, while HyreCar helps would-be drivers and car dealers find each other. Together, these firms are faring better than their much bigger counterparts — whose performance since going public has some concerned about the potential for another dot-com bust.

    Does this trend have enough gas? Faith in these new apps must still be strong, since they’re cashing in on big investors looking to get in on the ground floor.

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    Did German Firms Sell Weapons-Grade Chemicals to Syria?

    Local media are reporting that German companies defied sanctions and exported chemicals to a pharmaceutical firm with close links to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. One of them, Brenntag AG, is believed to have sold diethylamine and isopropanol to Syria from a Swiss subsidiary in 2014, despite EU rules banning such sales due to the regime’s use of chemical weapons.

    Will there be repercussions? Three NGOs have filed criminal charges, while prosecutors in Essen, where Brenntag AG is based, have begun legal proceedings and are deciding whether to open an investigation.

    Read OZY’s story about why the poorest country spends the most on weapons.

  5. Caster Semenya shutterstock 729098842

    IAAF Demands Court Reverse Semenya Reprieve

    The athletics governing body wants to overturn an order by Switzerland’s Supreme Court that allows South African runner Caster Semenya to compete while appealing her case. The IAAF, which says it believes in “equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls in our sport,” wants Semenya to take testosterone-reducing medication in order to race. It submitted an explanation of its testosterone policy, which the court will review before considering whether to grant the Olympic medalist a full appeal.

    Who will win? Support for Semenya is increasing, and the IAAF has been accused of demonizing her and engaging in “race science.”