The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Transcripts Show Trump Pressed Ukraine Leader for a ‘Favor’

    President Donald Trump sought help from a foreign leader to tarnish political rival Joe Biden and his son, according to a transcript that the White House released on Wednesday morning. The call document was released a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched impeachment proceedings against Trump. White House aides said that the transcript is not verbatim and that it is based on ‘the notes and recollections’ of Situation Room and National Security Council Officials. 

    How did Trump make his request? He told Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky that he would ask his personal lawyer and Attorney General William P. Barr to reach out to him about a possible investigation into the business activities of Biden’s son in the Ukraine. 

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    Boris Johnson Faces Heat as Parliament Reconvenes

    After yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling that his suspension of Parliament was illegal, the British prime minister is already facing calls from opposition lawmakers to resign. Forced to cut short his visit to New York, Johnson’s expected to address the legislature today, where deputies will likely demand details about his Brexit plans just weeks before the country’s scheduled withdrawal from the European Union.

    Will he quit? All signs suggest Johnson wants to tough it out, with sources saying he’ll continue to seek a snap election.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on the political chaos gripping Britain.

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    Macron Plays Deal-Maker Between US, Iran

    As President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani consider the possibility of a historic sit-down today at the United Nations, various world leaders have been trying to make sure it happens. French President Emmanuel Macron appears to have been the most active: He reportedly tried to broker a meeting before the prospect fell apart over Tehran’s demand that Washington ease sanctions. Failing to sit down, Macron said, would be “a lost opportunity.”

    Could it still happen? In his own address, Trump indicated his “maximum pressure” campaign was still on — though some are waiting to see what Rouhani says today at the U.N. General Assembly.

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    WeWork CEO Resigns Amid Investor Revolt

    Saying “too much focus has been placed on me,” Adam Neumann has agreed to step down as CEO and give up majority control of the company. Tuesday’s announcement came shortly after the workspace startup company — whose $47 billion valuation was reportedly slashed more than 50 percent — delayed its initial public offering, thanks to investor concerns over corporate governance and profitability. The 40-year-old has also come under scrutiny for his hard-partying lifestyle.

    What’s next? Besides potentially laying off staff, WeWork is said to be paring down its expansion to save money.

  5. Also Important…

    The U.S. Navy has confirmed that three sailors committed suicide last week in separate incidents aboard the same aircraft carrier. Thousands of demonstrators took to Indonesian streets yesterday in the second consecutive day of protests against a controversial new criminal code. And opera singer Plácido Domingo has withdrawn from the Metropolitan Opera following multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

    #OZYfact: During the 1930s, the Mexican city of La Paz grew into a major importer of U.S.-made goods, including clothing, chocolate … and Longmont hot dogs. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious journalist to cover business and finance through unique, analytical and globally minded write-ups. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.

intriguing

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    Is Facebook Giving Politicians a Free Ride?

    The social media giant has announced that politicians won’t be subjected to the same fact-checking rules as other users, since Facebook considers their statements to be newsworthy. That explanation has angered critics, who worry that the platform will amplify misinformation ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Facebook defended the decision by arguing that it’s not the company’s job to referee the speech of political candidates.

    Is there more to this move? Some observers suggest the platform’s taking the easy way out by cutting out the need for fact-checkers and avoiding potential accusations of bias.

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    Africa’s Bickering Giants Are Dragging the Continent Down

    Tensions between Nigeria and South Africa have exploded recently, with xenophobic attacks destabilizing Africa’s two biggest economies and leading to a suspension of diplomatic relations. Now, smaller countries on the continent are worried the spat will take them down too, OZY reports. The African Continental Free Trade Area, ratified in May, aims to create a giant trading zone second only to the European Union — but neither Nigeria nor South Africa will come to the table.

    Why does it matter? It could derail attempts to integrate the region’s economy, where intra-African trade accounted for just 17 percent of the continent’s exports in 2017, well behind Europe’s 69 percent.

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    New Overtime Pay Rule Covers 1.3 Million More US Workers

    The Department of Labor announced that next year Americans who earn up to $35,568 will be eligible for extra pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. That’s a $12,000 increase over the current limit, which was set in 2004. In 2019 that $23,660 salary threshold falls below the poverty line for a worker supporting a family of four.

    Is this a win for workers? Yes and no: The law won’t automatically increase the threshold to accommodate inflation, and critics argue that an Obama administration proposal would have covered an additional 2.8 million by raising the cut-off to $47,000.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series, Unconventional CEOs.

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    Grateful Dead Lyricist Robert Hunter Dies at 78

    The icon who wrote some of the band’s most beloved songs died peacefully at home Monday night from an unspecified cause. Hunter befriended singer and guitarist Jerry Garcia in the early 1960s, and their shared devotion to bluegrass music and Stanford University’s legendary LSD testing lab sparked an enduring era of psychedelic rock, producing standout songs like Dark Star and China Cat Sunflower.

    What else is on Hunter’s resume? He released two solo albums in the ’70s, and after the Dead called it quits in 1995 following Jerry Garcia’s death, he collaborated with Bob Dylan, Jim Lauderdale, Los Lobos and Bruce Hornsby.

    Check out OZY’s dispatch from a San Francisco weed tour.

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    MLB Strikeouts Climb for 12th Straight Season

    As New York Yankees pitcher Stephen Tarpley struck out Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames last night, he set a new record — for the league, anyway. The season’s 41,208th strikeout busted last year’s record and continued a streak going back to 2008. It’s a dramatic increase from 29,937 strikeouts in 1996. Less than two weeks ago, MLB also surpassed the season home run record, with 6,550 posted by Tuesday.

    What’s behind the high strikeout rate? Analysts suggest tough new pitching tactics are at play, while teams and fans have become more accepting that Ks are just part of the game, even for the highest-paid sluggers.