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9:45 PM ET, February 16, 2019


 Top Items: 
Police sources: New evidence suggests Jussie Smollett orchestrated attack  —  Chicago (CNN)Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault.  —  The brothers, who were arrested Wednesday …
Sara Dorn / Page Six:
Jussie Smollett hires Michael Cohen's criminal defense lawyer  —  Jussie Smollett has hired Michael Cohen's criminal defense lawyer, the attorney confirmed this week, amid the deepening mystery of the “Empire” actor's claim that he was the victim of a hate attack.
Discussion: National Review, TheBlaze and
Sam Roberts / New York Times:
Patrick Caddell, Self-Taught Pollster Who Helped Carter to White House, Dies at 68  —  Patrick Caddell, the political pollster who helped send an obscure peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter to the White House, later became disillusioned with fellow Democrats and finally veered to advise supporters …
Discussion: Yahoo News and Breitbart
John Cassidy / New Yorker:
A Weak and Rambling President Declares a Fake National Emergency  —  On Friday morning, Donald Trump walked up to a lectern in the White House Rose Garden to make an announcement of monumental importance that clearly couldn't wait a moment longer.  “Before we begin,” he said …
Dan Balz / Washington Post:
In declaring a national emergency, Trump reminds Republicans: It's all about him
Discussion: Raw Story, Mediaite, IJR and Axios
Annie Karni / New York Times:   Trump Follows Familiar Playbook When Confronted by a Loss: Distract and Digress
Jonathan Turley / The Hill:
Why Trump will win the wall fight  —  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “If my fellow citizens want to go to hell, I will help them.  It is my job.”  What he was expressing is the limited role of courts in challenges to federal law.  It is not their task as judges to sit …
Discussion: National Review
Denise Lu / New York Times:
Trump's Emergency Declaration Is the First Since 9/11 to Authorize Military Action
Discussion: Business Insider
Washington Post:
Trump foreign policy under attack from all sides at European security conference  —  MUNICH — An annual security conference where Western allies have long forged united fronts erupted Saturday into a full-scale assault on the Trump administration's foreign policy.
New York Times:   Merkel Rejects U.S. Demands That Europe Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal
Anne Gearan / Washington Post:
Pence urges E.U. to denounce Maduro and recognize Guaidó as Venezuela's leader
Discussion: Politico and Mother Jones
Zachary Basu / Axios:
Heather Nauert withdraws name from UN ambassador consideration  —  State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has withdrawn her name for consideration to be appointed ambassador to the United Nations. … The backdrop: Nauert was nominated to replace Nikki Haley in December.
Discussion: Politico and Washington Post
New York Times:
Trump Is Driving Out Precious Republican Voters  —  The young in particular are slipping away.  —  The authors are political data experts.  —  Ever since Donald Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, much of the media attention has been on how Democrats need to reconsider …
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Michael Goldstein / New York Daily News:
A campus infected with hostility: A professor says he's been targeted for being a conservative Jew  —  Each time I walk into my office at Kingsborough Community College, I draw inspiration from a picture of my father, Leon Goldstein, the school's president for 29 years and the man who built the college's modern-day campus.
Discussion: Geller Report
Peter Baker / New York Times:
The War That Wasn't: Trump Claims Obama Was Ready to Strike North Korea  —  WASHINGTON — America was on the brink of war.  As President Barack Obama prepared to leave office, he was contemplating yet another conflict in Asia, where the United States had already fought twice since the 1950s without winning.
Holly Otterbein / Politico:
Bernie Sanders records video announcing 2020 campaign  —  Bernie Sanders, inching closer to a second bid for the White House, has recorded a campaign video in which he says he is running for president in 2020, according to two people familiar with the spot.  —  It's the latest sign …
Discussion: Bloomberg and Talking Points Memo
David Wallace-Wells / New York Times:
Time to Panic  —  The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways.  And fear may be the only thing that saves us.  —  Mr. Wallace-Wells is the author of the forthcoming “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.”  —  The age of climate panic is here.
Andrew Desiderio / Politico:
Dems prepare to force Trump to reveal private talks with Putin  —  House Democrats are taking their first real steps to force President Donald Trump to divulge information about his private conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, setting up an extraordinary clash with the White House over Congress' oversight authority.
Andrew C. McCarthy / National Review:
Collusion: The Criminalization of Policy Disputes
Discussion: The New Neo
Christopher Ingraham / Washington Post:
Amazon paid no federal taxes on $11.2 billion in profits last year  —  Amazon, the e-commerce giant helmed by the world's richest man, paid no federal taxes on profit of $11.2 billion last year, according to an analysis of the company's corporate filings by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a progressive think tank.
Associated Press:
The Latest: Police: Aurora attacker took gun to firing  —  AURORA, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on the mass shooting at a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois (all times local):  —  Authorities say the man who killed five co-workers at a suburban Chicago manufacturing warehouse brought his gun to a meeting in which he was going to be fired.
Andrew McCarthy / Fox News:
McCabe, Rosenstein and the real truth about the 25th Amendment coup attempt  —  Ever wonder why people hate lawyers?  Consider Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's non-denial denial of his participation in discussions of an attempted coup against the duly elected president of the United States.
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 More Items: 
Caitlin Yilek / Washington Examiner:
Mueller calls for Paul Manafort to spend up to 24 years in prison
Discussion: RedState, Townhall and CNN
Alanna Durkin Richer / Associated Press:
Opioid maker used rap video to push powerful painkiller
Discussion: Gizmodo
John Funk / Plain Dealer:
Conservative Ohio voters want most of Ohio's electricity to come from renewable sources
Kevin Breuninger / CNBC:
State of the Union video tweeted by Trump is ‘removed’ after copyright complaint from R.E.M. publisher
Elizabeth Dwoskin / Washington Post:
Google reaped millions in tax breaks as it secretly expanded its real estate footprint across the U.S.
Bret Stephens / New York Times:
Is Nancy Pelosi a Climate Skeptic?
 Earlier Items: 
Jemele Hill / The Atlantic:
Kamala Harris's Blackness Isn't Up for Debate
The Intercept:
Locked Inside a Freezing Federal Jail, They United to Protest Their Conditions — Only to Face Reprisals
Robyn Kanner / New York Times:
Esquire's Cover Boy and Our Culture of Shame
Kait Bolongaro / Politico:
Spain could get right-wing government, survey suggests
Associated Press:
Vatican defrocks former US cardinal McCarrick over sex abuse
Discussion: Politico
Anne Applebaum / Washington Post:
‘Never again?’ It's already happening.
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Christopher Cadelago / Politico:
California's move to Super Tuesday hands Harris a big edge in 2020