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6:50 PM ET, February 4, 2019

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 Top Items: 
Theresa Vargas / Washington Post:
Va. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax denies sex assault allegation from 2004  —  Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax issued a statement early Monday denying a sexual assault allegation that appeared on the same conservative website that posted a racist photograph from Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page.
RELATED:
Eli Yokley / Morning Consult:
Virginia Voters Quickly Sour on Northam Amid Blackface Scandal  —  Democrat sees 41-point drop in net approval after yearbook photo emerges  —  Northam spoke to reporters Saturday, denying that he is in the picture on his medical school yearbook page.  (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
David French / National Review:
Comparing the Allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and Justin Fairfax  —  When it comes to sexual-misconduct claims against public officials, the same standard should be applied to everyone.  We must reject slogans like #believewomen and instead grant the accused a presumption of innocence.
Discussion: WTVR-TV and WVEC
Patrick Howley / Big League Politics:
Stanford Fellow Hints At Possible Justin Fairfax Sex Assault
Ashe Schow / Daily Wire:   Washington Post Refused To Run Sketchy Sex Assault Allegation Against A Democrat.
BuzzFeed News:
Lobbyist at Trump Tower Meeting Received Half A Million Dollars In Suspicious Payments  —  A Russian-born lobbyist who attended the controversial Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 received a series of suspicious payments totaling half a million dollars before and after the encounter.
Discussion: Political Wire
RELATED:
Jordain Carney / The Hill:
Graham: There could be GOP ‘war’ over border wall  —  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned on Monday that there could be a “war” among Republicans if President Trump declared a national emergency to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall.  —  Graham, speaking in South Carolina …
Discussion: ABC News, Hullabaloo and Political Wire
Steven T. Dennis / Bloomberg:
Graham Warns GOP to Back Trump on Wall Emergency
Discussion: Fox Carolina News
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Howard Schultz's Own Polling Finds His Campaign Would Reelect Trump  —  Howard Schultz's presidential campaign opened up to mixed reviews — within the prized demographic of socially liberal, fiscally moderate billionaire moguls.  (Michael Bloomberg expressed disapproval, while Schultz himself expresses strong enthusiasm.)
RELATED:
Brian Schwartz / CNBC:
Democratic super PAC unleashes opposition research taking aim at Starbucks settling lawsuits with employees as Howard Schultz considers 2020 run  — A major Democratic group targeting Howard Schultz unleashes opposition research focusing on Starbucks' history settling lawsuits with employees.
Discussion: Political Wire
Washington Post:
'It's way too many': As vacancies pile up in Trump administration, senators grow concerned  —  From the Justice Department to Veterans Affairs, vast swaths of the government have top positions filled by officials serving in an acting capacity — or no one at all.
RELATED:
Ben Lefebvre / Politico:
Trump to nominate Bernhardt as Interior secretary
Discussion: ABC News
Ben White / Politico:
Soak the rich?  Americans say go for it  —  The prospect of 70 percent tax rates for multimillionaires and special levies on the super-rich draw howls about creeping socialism and warnings of economic disaster in much of Washington.  —  But polling suggests that when it comes to soaking the rich …
RELATED:
Claire Williams / Morning Consult:
Warren's Proposed Tax on Wealthy Draws More Support Than Ocasio-Cortez's
Discussion: Washington Post and Vox
Aída Chávez / The Intercept:
Ana Maria Archila, Who Confronted Sen. Jeff Flake, Will Be Ocasio-Cortez's SOTU Guest
John Santucci / ABC News:
New York prosecutors seek records from Trump inauguration committee: Sources  —  Prosecutors in New York's Southern District have reached out to President Donald Trump's inauguration committee and plan to subpoena the organization for documents, sources with direct knowledge tell ABC News …
Discussion: Raw Story and Political Wire
Monmouth University Polling Institute:
Dems Prefer Electability in 2020  —  Some GOP voters want a primary challenge but most would back Trump  —  West Long Branch, NJ - In the run-up to 2020, fewer than 4-in-10 voters back a second term for President Donald Trump.  The Monmouth University Poll finds a sizable number of GOP voters …
Clémence Michallon / The Independent:
Liam Neeson interview: Rape, race and how I learnt revenge doesn't work  —  Exclusive: Sitting down with Clémence Michallon to discuss his latest action film ‘Cold Pursuit’, the actor recounts a disturbing incident from his past  —  Liam Neeson is sitting in an armchair with a flask of tea at his side.
RELATED:
Kyle Mantyla / Right Wing Watch:
Liz Crokin Warns of ‘Vigilante Justice’ if QAnon's Promised Mass Arrests Don't Happen Soon  —  Last week, right-wing “journalist” and Trump-worshiping conspiracy theorist Liz Crokin posted a video on her YouTube channel in which she suggested that she was beginning to lose faith …
Jim Morrison / Washington Post:
Northam's med school banned yearbooks in 2013 — after students posed in Confederate garb  —  NORFOLK — The first person Richard V. Homan hired after becoming provost of Eastern Virginia Medical School President seven years ago was Mekbib Gemeda, in the newly created position of vice president for diversity and inclusion.
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
McClatchy buyouts could claim chain's full-time Guantanamo reporter  —  Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald witnessed the arrival of the first al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba on Jan. 11, 2002.  “They wore fluorescent orange jumpsuits, and those whose legs were shackled walked with baby steps.
Carl Campanile / New York Post:
Cuomo announces income tax revenues have dropped by $2.3B … Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that state income tax revenues plummeted by $2.3 billion since he introduced his new budget plan last month — a bombshell that will force him to curb spending.  —  Cuomo attributed the revenue drop …
Discussion: twitchy.com
Alexander Burns / New York Times:
Democrats Are Urging Stacey Abrams to Run for Senate.  She's Listening.  —  Stacey Abrams's defeat in the Georgia governor's race was only a few weeks old when she arrived in New York in December to meet with campaign donors and political allies.  At a reception in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood …
Ian Parker / New Yorker:
A Suspense Novelist's Trail of Deceptions  —  Dan Mallory, who writes under the name A. J. Finn, went to No. 1 with his début thriller, “The Woman in the Window.”  His life contains even stranger twists.  —  Dan Mallory, a book editor turned novelist, is tall, good-looking, and clever.
CNN:
lost to an enemy  —  The US shipped weapons and secrets to the Saudis and Emiratis.  Now, some are in the hands of fighters linked to al Qaeda and Iran.  —  Hodeidah, Yemen (CNN) - Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters …
Rebecca Ballhaus / Wall Street Journal:
Trump to Call for Bipartisanship as He Threatens to Declare Emergency  —  President Trump in Tuesday's State of the Union is expected to issue a plea for bipartisanship at a moment of deep partisan divisions, including an impasse over spending and a presidential threat to declare an emergency to pay for a border wall.
Stephanie Murray / Politico:
Steyer throws brushback pitch against powerful Democratic chairman  —  The billionaire-funded group dedicated to impeaching Donald Trump launched a television ad buy Monday targeting Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in his own backyard as part of an effort to prod the House Ways and Means chairman to subpoena the president's tax returns.
Discussion: Political Wire, The Guardian and CNN
Tony Rizzo / Kansas City Star:
Kansas judge calls children the ‘aggressor’ in sex abuse case with 67-year-old man  —  Can children aged 13 and 14 years old be the aggressors in a sexual encounter with a 67-year-old man?  —  A Leavenworth County judge recently said he thought so when he reduced the prison sentence for a man …
Discussion: Law & Crime, Raw Story and myfox8.com
J. David Goodman / New York Times:
Senate Appoints Critic of Amazon Deal to Key Board (With Veto Power)  —  [What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]  —  When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio crafted a deal to bring a major new Amazon campus to New York City late last year, they tried to make it hard to block.
Jamelle Bouie / New York Times:
Blackface Is the Tip of the Iceberg  —  The structural problems we need to solve lie at the roots of American society.  —  Over the last month, we've learned just how much racism is too much to sustain a career in American politics.  —  It took almost 16 years for House Republicans …
Molly Osberg / Splinter:
Here Are The Racist Conspiracy Emails Rotting Right-Wing Billionaire Joe Ricketts' Brain  —  Welcome back to the Billionaire's Inbox, where we get a chance to hear from the other half, in its own words.  Today we're looking at how racist conspiracy theories have the potential to influence policy …
Edward-Isaac Dovere / The Atlantic:
Biden's Anguished Search for a Path to Victory  —  Joe Biden reliably blows through every public and private deadline for making a decision about running for president.  But he's giving everyone he's seen in recent weeks the feeling that he's very close to saying yes.
Missy Ryan / Washington Post:
After bloody insurgent wars, Pentagon launches effort to prevent civilian deaths  —  The Pentagon has launched a major examination of civilian deaths in military operations, responding to criticism it has failed to protect innocent bystanders in counterterrorism wars worldwide.
Discussion: Just Security
 
 
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 More Items: 
David Harsanyi / The Federalist:
Questions The Media Should Ask Democratic Presidential Party Hopefuls (But Won't)
Margaret Harding McGill / Politico:
T-Mobile pays Democratic former FCC commissioner to advise on Sprint merger
CNN:
Intense competition for 2020 talent ramps up in South Carolina
Matthew Dowd / ABC News:
In State of the Union address, President Trump's promise to ‘heal’ sounds familiar, but unconvincing: COLUMN
Discussion: Breitbart
Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj / CEOWORLD magazine:
Report: Facebook's Annual Revenue From 2009 To 2018
Mark Zuckerberg:
Fifteen years ago today, I launched the first version …
 Earlier Items: 
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
Gavin McInnes Sues Southern Poverty Law Center for Branding Proud Boys ‘Hate Group’
Katie Glueck / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
As Beto mulls 2020 bid, Dems warn he has major challenges
Bloomberg:
Manafort Gets New Sentencing Date After Closed-Door Hearing
Discussion: Raw Story
Todd S. Purdum / The Atlantic:
The Second Coming of Nancy Pelosi
Jonathan V. Last / The Bulwark:
The Awful Game Theory Behind Ralph Northam
Reuters:
Iran's first president says Khomeini betrayed 1979 Islamic revolution
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Attacking a Pay Wall That Hides Public Court Filings
Discussion: Politico