The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Touts His ‘Right’ to Declare an Emergency

    While visiting the U.S.-Mexico border yesterday, President Donald Trump claimed he has “the absolute right to declare a national emergency” if House Democrats refuse to fund his border wall to end the three-week partial government shutdown. He also claimed he “never meant” Mexico would directly pay for the wall — even though the pledge was a key part of his campaign platform.

    What’s left at Trump’s disposal? Back in Washington, White House officials were reportedly considering diverting $13.9 billion in federal aid from disaster-hit Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and California for the project. One source even claimed Trump asked the Army Corps of Engineers whether they could start work within 45 days.

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    Carlos Ghosn Is Facing Fresh Charges

    They’re driving this one home. Japanese prosecutors have leveled a new indictment against the former Nissan chairman, who’s already been charged with underreporting his pay by around $44 million over a five-year period that ended in early 2015. Now authorities say the 64-year-old continued the illicit practice through March 2018.

    What’s in store for Ghosn? His lawyers are pushing for his release on bail, but prospects for the disgraced executive — once one of the auto world’s most powerful — don’t look good: Japan boasts a 99 percent conviction rate for criminal indictments.

    Don’t miss OZY’s profile of the comic superhero-turned-international villain.


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    These Reuters Journalists Will Stay Jailed in Myanmar

    Two reporters imprisoned for violating the country’s Official Secrets Act will remain there after a court found they’d presented insufficient evidence to prove their innocence. Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, are serving seven-year sentences for what critics claim are fabricated charges in retaliation for their reporting on Myanmar’s alleged ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. 

    What does their case tell us about Myanmar? Human rights groups say it represents the country’s broader crackdown on civic freedoms. Meanwhile, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler called their prosecution “yet another injustice among many” visited upon the two journalists — just for doing their work.

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    Michael Cohen Will Testify Before Congress

    President Trump’s former personal attorney will appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee early next month. Cohen — who in March will begin serving three years in prison for financial crimes, lying to Congress and violating campaign finance laws — said he welcomed giving “a full and credible account” as part of his commitment to “provide the American people with answers.” 

    What might those answers reveal? We’ll have to wait until Feb. 7 to find out. But the first major move by Democrats to scrutinize the president’s dealings with Russia will likely shed light on details, including Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and other unsavory aspects of his personal life, about which we’ve long only speculated.

    Check out OZY’s profile of the prosecutor going after Cohen.

  5. Also Important…

    A spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition in Syria has announced that the American troop withdrawal has begun. A 13-year-old Wisconsin teen has been found alive after being missing for nearly three months following the murder of her parents. And Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will reportedly head to Washington later this month to talk trade with his U.S. counterparts.

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

    We’re hiring! OZY is looking for a prolific Sports Reporter and Editor to join our growing team. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    These Carriers Say They’ll Stop Selling Your Location Data

    Following a Motherboard investigation this week that revealed how wireless customers’ phone locations were sold to bounty hunters, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T have all pledged to completely end the practice. The announcement came shortly after U.S. lawmakers, spurred by the report, called on the Federal Communications Commission to look into the alleged breach of privacy.

    Do the companies mean it, though? That’s the thing: It’s the second time in the past year that they’ve made such a pledge. It even sparked Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden to tweet that they appeared to be “empty promises.”

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    US Brewers Are Facing a Bottleneck Amid the Shutdown

    Looks like trouble’s brewing. Those new spring ales by craft breweries will likely be delayed as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau — responsible for approving bottle labels — remains closed due to the partial government shutdown.

    What does that mean for beer-drinkers? As the 3,000 weekly applications pile up, the Brewers Association estimates that half of American craft beermakers will have at least one new brew delayed. Since there’s no end in sight to the woes in Washington, patrons may have to pull a draft to taste the season’s latest drink.

    Check out this OZY feature on the rebel brewers fighting back in Thailand.

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    More Patients Are Opting for Single-Embryo IVF

    In a shake-up of the American in vitro fertilization industry, more women are choosing single-embryo therapy rather than the riskier — though long-favored — multiple-embryo treatment. In 2015, OZY reports, more than a third of aspiring moms under 35 opted for that approach, up from only 5 percent in 2007.

    What’s made it more popular? Technological improvements, including greater success in implanting blastocysts, have decreased the risk of failure for the single-embryo procedure. Experts say the shift could be a transformative one for millions of Americans who rely on fertility treatments.

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    This Japanese Singer Apologized for Reporting an Assault

    Maho Yamaguchi, a member of J-pop girl group NGT48, apologized onstage Thursday for “causing trouble for those who have taken care of me.” The 23-year-old was referring to her recent comments about an incident last month when she was grabbed and pinned down outside her apartment by two men, allegedly after another group member leaked her address.

    How have fans reacted? Yamaguchi’s apology has sparked angry responses from social media users, who have decried the  exploitation and idol-shaming they claim abounds in Japan’s entertainment industry.

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    British Tennis Champ Andy Murray Will Retire

    Is the ball still in his court? In a tearful address today, the three-time Grand Slam winner said he’s in too much pain to keep playing. The 31-year-old is struggling to recover from hip surgery last January that forced him to miss nearly six months of action.

    When’s his last match-up? While Murray said he plans to retire after Wimbledon in July, the pain’s so bad that it could force him to bow out sooner — meaning this year’s Australian Open could be the final tournament of his career. He’ll face Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne on Monday.

    Check out this OZY story asking whether teen phenom Frances Tiafoe is the future of U.S. tennis.