The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Kim Darroch Quits as British Ambassador to US

    Following a public spat with President Donald Trump, the diplomat said a recent leak in which he’d described Trump “clumsy and inept” made it “impossible” to continue in his post. After the revelation, the American president called Darroch “a very stupid guy” and vowed to no longer work with him. Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, had fully supported the British envoy.

    What’s next? It remains to be seen whether the episode will further sour relations between the two countries, especially with London aiming to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington.

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    White House Labor Chief Under Fire Over Epstein Scandal

    Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is facing calls from Democrats and other critics to resign for helping disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein secure a lenient 2008 plea deal in a sex crimes case involving minors. While Acosta said yesterday he’s “pleased” that federal prosecutors are pursuing new charges against Epstein, it’s unlikely to ease pressure over his role in the notoriously difficult case — which none of his then-colleagues in the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami have publicly defended.

    Will the White House step in? President Trump, who cautiously praised Acosta, said his administration would look into the case “very carefully,” while some Republicans also indicated they’re open to reviewing “new information.”

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    US Seeks Military Coalition to Guard Mideast Waters

    The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff announced yesterday that Washington is enlisting “a number of countries” to help protect commercial shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and off Yemen. Those strategic waters have come under increasing scrutiny after weeks of mysterious attacks on oil tankers and other assets by what the White House claims are Iran-backed forces.

    What’s it like on a patrol ship in the Persian Gulf? U.S. sailors say the increased tension hasn’t affected their daily grind — and that coming in contact with Iranian ships is “just normal professional dialogue.”

    Read OZY’s Donald Dossier about the Trump administration’s saber-rattling.

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    British PM Hopefuls Clash in TV Debate

    Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his successor, Jeremy Hunt, faced off in a contentious live debate last night focusing on their ability to deliver Brexit and on the evolving diplomatic spat with President Trump, among other issues. Hunt accused his rival of being evasive, saying, “Because Boris never answers the question, we have no idea what a Boris Johnson premiership would be like.” The former London mayor responded by challenging Hunt on a hard deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

    Will this debate matter? Neither candidate made a dramatic impression, experts say, which leaves Johnson as the front-runner in the race to Downing Street.

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    Airbus Deliveries Spike While Boeing’s Slump

    Data released yesterday shows the European planemaker increased deliveries by 28 percent during the first half of the year, while its American counterpart reported a 37 percent decline. If those trends hold, that means Airbus — set to deliver a record number of planes this year — could supplant Boeing, still reeling from the fallout of two deadly 737 Max crashes, as the world’s largest airplane manufacturer.

    When will the Max return to the skies? Analysts say there’s little chance the scandal-ridden jet will be back in the air before late September, leaving a delivery backlog extending deep into next year.

  6. Also Important…

    A U.S. federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from replacing nine lawyers in the dispute over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. American and Chinese negotiators held “constructive” talks over the phone yesterday aimed at ending the trade war. And the last-ever Volkswagen Beetles to be produced are expected to roll off a Mexican assembly line today.

    #OZYfact: The porn industry is worth an estimated $12 billion in the U.S. — and $97 billion globally. Read more on OZY.

    Want a trip for two to New York? Enter here for a chance to win two VIP OZY Fest tickets, airfare, hotel stay and more.


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    US Appeals Court: Trump Can’t Block Twitter Critics

    The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Tuesday that simply disagreeing with someone’s comments isn’t enough to let President Trump block them on Twitter. The 3-0 decision upholds an earlier federal ruling that found his tendency to block detractors is unconstitutional because he’s a public official. Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute had launched the lawsuit on behalf of seven Twitter users who’d found themselves cut off by the president.

    Will Trump appeal to the Supreme Court? That’s unclear: He’s previously said his personal Twitter account isn’t a public forum while also claiming his posts are “government speech,” which is beyond First Amendment jurisdiction.

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    Why Are Chinese Startups So Hopeful?

    With no end in sight to the economic standoff between Beijing and Washington, one corner of the Chinese economy is actually thriving. Or at least it thinks so: Chinese startups are nearly 40 percent more optimistic than their American counterparts, OZY reports. That’s partly because a booming middle class — expected to number 550 million by 2020 — is driving retail spending, while funding remains readily available.

    What’s in store for the future? A broadly positive outlook helps boost growth, with two-thirds of startups saying they’ll increase their workforce this year and others investing more in research and development.

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    First US Child Born From Deceased Uterus Donor

    A woman who received a uterus transplant from a dead donor has given birth to a baby girl at the Cleveland Clinic — only the second such birth worldwide. The success provides hope to thousands of prospective mothers born without a uterus or who had theirs removed. The 30-something mother, whose name was not released, underwent in vitro fertilization and delivery via cesarean as part of a research trial involving 10 women with uterine factor infertility.

    Have there been other success stories? Two other women in the Cleveland Clinic trial have received transplants and are awaiting embryo transfers.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Immodest Proposal about “birth vacations.”

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    Nicki Minaj Ditches Saudi Arabia Music Festival

    The hip-hop sensation decided not to perform at the Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia due to concerns over the ultraconservative kingdom’s human rights abuses. Minaj said she wanted to show “support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression” after the Human Rights Foundation posted an open letter urging her to rethink the performance.

    Who’s left to perform? British singer Liam Payne remains in the lineup — though Minaj’s absence serves a very public blow to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s image.

    Check out OZY’s Flashback about the mysterious death of a Saudi princess.

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    Harvard Fencing Coach Fired Over Home Sale to Recruit’s Dad

    Peter Brand is out after an independent investigation concluded he violated the school’s conflict of interest policy by selling his house — for nearly twice its value — to the father of a recruit. Brand sold his three-bedroom home in Needham, Massachusetts, for $989,500 to Maryland businessman Jie Zhao, whose son was later admitted to Harvard. In explaining his inflated purchase, Zhao said he felt “so sorry” Brand had to travel 12 miles to fencing practice.

    Is the case closed? A federal grand jury is reportedly also investigating the sale, but a Harvard spokeswoman declined to say whether the university has received a subpoena.