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5:40 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: WVEC and WTVR-TV
Patrick Howley / Big League Politics:
Stanford Fellow Hints At Possible Justin Fairfax Sex Assault  —  A woman named Vanessa Tyson, who is a fellow at Stanford University, says that a man who allegedly sexually assaulted her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention is now an office-holder about to get a “very big promotion,” …
Ashe Schow / Daily Wire:   Washington Post Refused To Run Sketchy Sex Assault Allegation Against A Democrat.
Caitlin Oprysko / Politico:
Virginia lieutenant governor says timing suspect for ‘smear’ allegations against him
Discussion: Washington Post
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 …
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: Vox
Aída Chávez / The Intercept:
Ana Maria Archila, Who Confronted Sen. Jeff Flake, Will Be Ocasio-Cortez's SOTU Guest
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
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 …
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 …
Washington Post:
Trump to nominate David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist, as the next Interior secretary  —  President Trump announced Monday that he will nominate David Bernhardt, a veteran lobbyist who has helped orchestrate the administration's push to expand oil and gas drilling as the Interior Department's number …
Discussion: ThinkProgress, New York Times and CNN
RELATED:
Ben Lefebvre / Politico:
Trump to nominate Bernhardt as Interior secretary
Discussion: ABC News
Clémence Michallon / The Independent:
Liam Neeson: 'I walked the streets with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by a “black bastard” so that I could kill him'  —  Exclusive: The actor details his ‘awful’ past behaviour in an interview with The Independent  — Clémence Michallon @Clemence_Mcl
RELATED:
Clémence Michallon / The Independent:
Liam Neeson interview: Rape, race and how I learnt revenge doesn't work
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.
CNN:
Intense competition for 2020 talent ramps up in South Carolina  —  Washington (CNN)The South Carolina Democratic primary is more than a year out, but the scramble for top political talent is well underway as the Democratic presidential campaigns jockey for advantage in the Palmetto State.
RELATED:
Katie Glueck / McClatchy Washington Bureau:   As Beto mulls 2020 bid, Dems warn he has major challenges
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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
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
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.
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.
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 get the House Ways and Means chairman to subpoena the president's tax returns.
Discussion: Political Wire, The Guardian and CNN
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 …
Mike Allen / Axios:
A big leak rattles the White House  —  The massive leak of President Trump's private schedules, which dropped yesterday in the weekly Axios Sneak Peek newsletter, set off internal finger-pointing and speculation more fevered than any since the New York Times' anonymous op-ed.
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Attacking a Pay Wall That Hides Public Court Filings  —  WASHINGTON — The federal judiciary has built an imposing pay wall around its court filings, charging a preposterous 10 cents a page for electronic access to what are meant to be public records.  A pending lawsuit could help tear that wall down.
Discussion: Politico
Jonathan V. Last / The Bulwark:
The Awful Game Theory Behind Ralph Northam  —  History shows he might be better off staying the course.  —  Let's stipulate that Governor Ralph Northam is a bad person—or at least a person who, as an adult, did something really stupid and hurtful by dressing in blackface and/or Klan garb.
Damian Carrington / The Guardian:
A third of Himalayan ice cap doomed, finds report  —  Even radical climate change action won't save glaciers, endangering 2 billion people  —  At least a third of the huge ice fields in Asia's towering mountain chain are doomed to melt due to climate change, according to a landmark report …
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
Gavin McInnes Sues Southern Poverty Law Center for Branding Proud Boys ‘Hate Group’  —  Ex-boss of the ‘Western chauvinist’ clique claims he's been made ‘socially despicable’ by the civil-rights group.  —  Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes sued the Southern Poverty Law Center on Monday …
Bloomberg:
Manafort Judge Clears Courtroom to Hear Sealed U.S. Evidence  —  The federal judge who must decide whether Paul Manafort lied to investigators after pledging to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe began a hearing Monday in a sealed courtroom to discuss secret evidence gathered by the government.
Discussion: Raw Story
 
 
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 More Items: 
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
Missy Ryan / Washington Post:
After bloody insurgent wars, Pentagon launches effort to prevent civilian deaths
Kelsey Snell / NPR:
House Democrats Play Catch-Up On Agenda After Shutdown
CNN:
US-South Korea reach agreement over cost of US troops in region
Discussion: Axios
Mark Zuckerberg:
Fifteen years ago today, I launched the first version …
Rebecca Morin / Politico:
Christie won't rule out presidential run in 2024
Discussion: Breitbart and Political Wire
Todd S. Purdum / The Atlantic:
The Second Coming of Nancy Pelosi
 Earlier Items: 
TMZ.com:
Patriots' Duron Harmon Says He Won't Visit Trump's White House
Alexandra DeSanctis / The Atlantic:
Democrats Overplay Their Hand on Abortion
Reuters:
Iran's first president says Khomeini betrayed 1979 Islamic revolution
Washington Post:
Iraqi president rejects Trump's plan to ‘watch Iran’ from military bases in Iraq
Jill Abramson / Washington Post:
Will the media ever figure out how to cover Trump?
Discussion: Power Line
Washington Post:
‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’