The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. white house storm clouds shutterstock 562939351

    Congress, Pompeo Clash Over Impeachment Inquiry

    Foreshadowing a wider conflict between the legislative and executive branches over the Democrat-led probe of President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday slammed efforts to question officials from his agency. In the coming days and weeks, House committees will depose State Department diplomats about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Today congressional staffers are expected meet with the State Department’s inspector general.

    What’s next? Some are expecting a new twist in the political drama following reports that the inspector, Steve Linick, suddenly requested an “urgent” briefing with committees in both houses of Congress.

  2. hong kong protest shutterstock 1437457952

    Hong Kong Reels From Holiday Violence

    “These turned out to be very dangerous riots.” That’s how Hong Kong’s government described protests aimed at spoiling China’s National Day celebrations yesterday. But demonstrators are blaming police for raising the stakes — especially after shooting an 18-year-old at close range with a live round. All told, more than 100 people were hospitalized and 180 arrested after pitched battles in the one of the world’s most crowded cities.

    How bad will things get? The incident has further fueled public anger, with hundreds hitting the streets again today to decry yesterday’s shooting, which reportedly occurred when the victim rushed at an officer.

  3. north korea missile on flag shutterstock 687626749

    North Korea Preps for US Talks With Another Missile

    With dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington set to resume shortly, the Hermit Kingdom fired a ballistic missile today — reportedly from an underwater platform. But the ninth launch since President Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone in June didn’t come as a surprise, some say, since analysts have been tracking the country’s military preparations.

    Why does it matter? Besides raising the stakes for nuclear negotiations, Wednesday’s launch signals that North Korea is expanding its missile capacity.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Pyongyang’s struggling economy.

  4. oxycodone opioid pills shutterstock 562612936

    Johnson & Johnson to Settle Ohio Opioid Cases

    Shortly before a federal trial to determine whether it was responsible for fueling an opioid epidemic in two Ohio counties, the pharmaceutical giant announced it will pay $20.4 million to resolve those cases — without admitting guilt. The settlement, seen as a bellwether for thousands of similar lawsuits across the country, will make Johnson & Johnson the fourth drugmaker to strike such a deal to avoid trial.

    What else does the settlement include? About $10 million in cash will go to Cuyahoga and Summit counties, $5 million will cover legal fees, and another $5.4 million will make its way to local opioid-related nonprofits.

  5. Also Important…

    President Trump has attracted fresh scrutiny for reportedly suggesting that border guards shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. Announcing that he’s presenting his Brexit plan to the European Union today, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. would no longer be “taken for fools.” And a sweeping law against “fake news,” which critics claim is an assault on free speech, takes effect in Singapore today.

    #OZYfact: The U.S. faces an estimated shortfall of 7 million rental units for low-income renters. 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.


  1. vodka drinkers shutterstock 651381580

    Alcohol Consumption in Russia Has Plunged

    According to new data from the World Health Organization, Russians scaled back their boozing by 43 percent between 2003 and 2016. That drop — which the WHO credits to a government campaign to restrict advertising, raise taxes and ban sales during particular hours — also resulted in an increase in life expectancy. It’s now at a historic high, with men living to 68 and women to 78.

    What’s the bigger picture? The international body believes Russia could serve as a model for other European countries seeking to reduce their own levels of alcohol consumption.

    Check out OZY’s feature about Eastern Europe’s fire fatality problem.

  2. mark zuckerberg shutterstock 1098814598

    Would Facebook Really Fight Elizabeth Warren?

    In leaked recordings, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was caught suggesting his company might sue the Democratic presidential contender if she wins the White House. He criticized her plan to break up Big Tech — which he said would “suck” — by arguing that greater coordination by Facebook, Amazon and Google could help protect against election interference. Warren responded by doubling down on her pledge to hold those companies more accountable.

    Was this an intentional leak? Tech outlet The Verge says it didn’t get the audio from Facebook, but some observers were skeptical after an unperturbed Zuckerberg posted the story himself.

    This OZY op-ed asks whether impeachment has killed Warren’s chances.

  3. harvard shutterstock 641888671

    Judge Sides With Harvard in Affirmative Action Case

    A Massachusetts District Court judge ruled yesterday that the Ivy League institution’s race-conscious admissions policy doesn’t intentionally exclude Asian Americans. Students for Fair Admission, the group that filed the lawsuit, is expected to appeal, and the case could reach the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Harvard conceded that some admissions officers may unintentionally give African American and Hispanic candidates a boost while scoring applications.

    What are the wider implications? A coalition of Harvard student groups said the ruling “stopped a blatant attack on diversity at Harvard and at colleges across the country,” warning that they’ll become far less diverse if they aren’t allowed to consider applicants’ race.

  4. prince harry and megan markle square shutterstock 790059514 (1)

    British Royals Sue Tabloid Over Leaked Markle Letter

    Claiming the British tabloid press is waging a “ruthless campaign” against Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry announced the couple is taking legal action against The Mail on Sunday. Citing the media harassment of Princess Diana, he explained: “I lost my mother, and now I watch my wife falling victim.” The suit alleges the tabloid illegally published a private letter Meghan wrote to her estranged father.

    Will the royals win? That remains to be seen — but if they do, they say they’ll donate any proceeds to anti-bullying charities.

    Read OZY’s Flashback on an American’s romance with the prince of a tiny kingdom.

  5. bball shutterstock 173318291

    This Serbian Baller Is a G League Rarity

    Only the third international player to be drafted from the NBA’s minor league, Golden State Warriors recruit Alen Smailagic could be something special, OZY reports. Smailagic, 19, was plucked from Belgrade but was kept out of the limelight for fear that he’d be snagged by rivals during the draft. 

    Could other teams pull off a similar move? It’s rare for the G League to attract players from countries where they can compete professionally at a young age — and rarer still that a pro franchise trusts its farm team enough to develop him properly.