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1:55 PM ET, February 21, 2019


 Top Items: 
Garrett M. Graff / Wired:
7 Scenarios for How the Mueller Probe Might ‘Wrap Up’  —  THE BREAKING NEWS hit a snowy Washington on Wednesday: Newly installed attorney general William Barr appears to be preparing to announce the end of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.  —  But what would “Mueller wrapping up” actually mean?
Neal K. Katyal / New York Times:
The Mueller Report Is Coming. Here's What to Expect.
Discussion: Washington Post
Jacqueline Alemany / Washington Post:
Power Up: ‘By the Book Bob:’ Prosecutors say Mueller will tightly hug Justice guidelines in report
Wall Street Journal:
Trump Inaugural Committee Challenged Vendor Requests and Budgeting, Documents Show  —  In the weeks before his inauguration, top officials on President Trump's inaugural committee repeatedly sounded alarms about the budgets submitted by several vendors, according to correspondence, committee records and draft budgets.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Raw Story
Asawin Suebsaeng / The Daily Beast:
Trump White House Is Forcing Interns to Sign NDAs and Threatening Them With Financial Ruin  —  Not even the interns are exempt from the legally dubious rite of passage practiced by the Trump White House.  —  Asawin Suebsaeng  —  When the Trump White House welcomed its newest batch …
American Democracy in Crisis: The Fate of Pluralism in a Divided Nation  —  The 2018 Election  —  Views of President Trump  —  After two years in office, the public's view of President Trump remains negative.  As of late December 2018, when this survey was conducted …
Discussion: The Atlantic and Political Wire
Emma Green / The Atlantic:
These Are the Americans Who Live in a Bubble  —  Most Americans do not live in a totalizing bubble.  They regularly encounter people of different races, ideologies, and religions.  For the most part, they view these interactions as positive, or at least neutral.
CBS News:
Jussie Smollett paid brothers $3,500 to stage attack, police say  —  “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to stage a violent attack on him, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.  Smollett turned himself in to police early Thursday morning and was expected to appear in bond court later in the day.
New York Times:
Jussie Smollett, Upset Over Salary, Staged Assault, Police Say
CBS Chicago:
Video Shows Brothers Linked To Jussie Smollett Attack Buying Items Allegedly Worn In Assault
Caleb Melby / Bloomberg:
Trump's Inaugural Team Scrambled to Defend Staff and Record Haul  — Tricky question a year after party: What did Rick Gates do?  — Staffers came from Barrack's Colony Capital, Manafort's circle  —  The leaders of President Donald Trump's inaugural committee saw trouble coming and tried to get ahead of it.
Discussion: Politico and Raw Story
Trump, Inc.:
Trump Inauguration Chief Tom Barrack's ‘Rules for Success’  —  Last year, our Trump, Inc. podcast with WNYC explored the mystery of how Donald Trump's inaugural managed to raise and spend $107 million.  A lot has happened since then.  —  We now know the inaugural committee is the subject of a wide-ranging criminal investigation.
Leigh Ann Caldwell / NBC News:
Republican candidate's son shakes up North Carolina hearing with surprise testimony  —  John Harris said he warned his father about potentially illegal activities of a political operative the candidate eventually hired.  —  RALEIGH, N.C. — The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris testified …
Lynh Bui / Washington Post:
Self-proclaimed white nationalist planned mass terror attack, government says.  ‘I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth.’  —  A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist has been arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons …
Dave Philipps / New York Times:
Coast Guard Officer Plotted to Kill Democrats and Journalists, Prosecutors Say
Nina dos Santos / CNN:
This man could shed light on Trump mystery, Senate witness says  —  London and Moscow (CNN)Senate investigators want to question a Moscow-based American businessman with longstanding ties to President Donald Trump after witnesses told them he could shed light on the President's commercial …
Nick Bilton / Vanity Fair:
“She Never Looks Back”: Inside Elizabeth Holmes's Chilling Final Months at Theranos  —  At the end, Theranos was overrun by a dog defecating in the boardroom, nearly a dozen law firms on retainer, and a C.E.O. grinning through her teeth about an implausible turnaround.
Khadeeja Safdar / Wall Street Journal:
Meet Under Armour CEO's Unusual Adviser: An MSNBC Anchor  —  Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank was questioned last year by the company's board over his ties to MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, who has traveled on his private jet and provided input on a range of business matters, according to current and former executives.
Discussion: TVNewser, Deadspin and Mediaite
Sam Dean / Los Angeles Times:
Facebook decided which users are interested in Nazis — and let advertisers target them directly  —  Facebook makes money by charging advertisers to reach just the right audience for their message — even when that audience is made up of people interested in the perpetrators of the Holocaust or explicitly neo-Nazi music.
BuzzFeed News:
Trump Said He Ordered His Administration To Withhold Wildfire Aid To California.  FEMA Says He Never Did.  —  The president tweeted that he was cutting off disaster assistance to wildfire survivors to punish California officials.  But no record of such an order exists.
Jennifer Schuessler / New York Times:
The Obama Presidential Library That Isn't  —  The Obama Presidential Center promises to be a presidential library like no other.  —  The three-building, 19-acre “working center for citizenship,” set to be built in a public park on the South Side of Chicago, will include a 235-foot-high …
Philip Klein / Washington Examiner:
Government report reveals CBO was scandalously off in Obamacare estimates  —  A new report from government actuaries has revealed that the Congressional Budget Office was scandalously off in its estimates of the impact of Obamacare's individual mandate, a miscalculation that has had significant ramifications …
Discussion: RedState and
Natalie Allison / The Tennessean:
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says he regrets participating in ‘Old South’ parties at Auburn University  —  Governor Bill Lee addresses audience at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 30th Commemorative Convocation at Tennessee State University's Gentry Center  —  Four decades removed from his time as a student …
Discussion: Political Wire
New York Times:
Advertisers Boycott YouTube After Pedophiles Swarm Comments on Videos of Children  —  SAN FRANCISCO — Nestlé, Epic Games and other major brands said on Wednesday that they had stopped buying advertisements on YouTube after their ads appeared on children's videos where pedophiles had infiltrated the comment sections.
John Solomon / The Hill:
FBI's top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it  —  For most of the past three years, the FBI has tried to portray its top leadership as united behind ex-Director James Comey's decision not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton …
Discussion: Daily Wire and The Resurgent
Fox News:
Former FBI general counsel thought Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted until ‘pretty late’ in email investigation
Discussion: RedState
Alan Gomez / USA Today:
The Trump administration keeps breaking up migrant families.  Here's how they do it  —  Amid public outcry over the thousands of migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep families together.
Discussion: NBC News and Daily Kos
Deconstructed / The Intercept:
Crazy in Gov: Why Won't the Media Discuss Trump's Mental Instability?  —  Photo illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept, Getty Images  —  Subscribe to the Deconstructed podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Radio Public, and other platforms.  New to podcasting?  Click here.
Nogales International:
Town says it's ‘taken action’ after marshal's encounter with young journalist  —  The Town of Patagonia says it has taken unspecified action after Marshal Joseph Patterson was video-recorded telling a pre-teen journalist that it was against the law for her to put his image on the internet during …
The Biggest Field Yet.  No Frontrunner.  A Divided Base.  Welcome to the 2020 Democratic Primary  —  Almost a year before the first votes of the 2020 -presidential contest, Democratic candidates are all over the map.  There's Elizabeth Warren in a drafty warehouse in Des Moines, Iowa …
Indianapolis Star:
Road rage, hate crime or both: Shooting death of Muslim man could draw FBI scrutiny  —  Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana allows Indianapolis residents to share anonymous tips with law enforcement.  Here are a few things Crime Stoppers wants you to know before you call.  —  CONNECT11  —  TWEET11
Discussion: Advocate and ThinkProgress
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Scoop: McConnell recommends Kelly Craft to Trump for UN ambassador  —  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken to President Trump and recommended U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft as the next UN ambassador, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
Discussion: Political Wire
Alex Linder / shanghaiist:
Uniqlo says its new spring jacket was not inspired by Mao Zedong  —  Is 2019 the year that the Mao suit makes a comeback!?  —  Searching for a new look for this spring that's light, simple, and proletarian?  Well, Uniqlo has just the thing!  —  The Japanese fashion brand has introduced a new …
Ronald Brownstein / The Atlantic:
Bernie Sanders Will Hit Huge Obstacles in 2020  —  Bernie Sanders's entry into the 2020 race amounts to a big stone in a lake: It will generate ripples that touch every other candidate.  But his own path to the nomination remains rocky unless he can attract a broader coalition than he did in 2016.
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Just Security:
Stop Using the Word “Collusion”—How to Frame the Critical Question at the Heart of Trump-Russia  —  Much of the discussion surrounding the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia in the months leading up to the 2016 election has been mystifying for the American public.
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 More Items: 
Kevin D. Williamson / National Review:
Where to Go on Health Insurance?
Darren Samuelsohn / Politico:
Manafort's Virginia sentencing set for March 8
Justin Sink / Bloomberg:
Trump Plans One-on-One Meeting With North Korea's Kim, Officials Say
Lauren Hilgers / New York Times:
The New Labor Movement Fighting for Domestic Workers' Rights
Liam Stack / New York Times:
Over 1,000 Hate Groups Are Now Active in United States, Civil Rights Group Says
Discussion: NB Blog
Anne Gearan / Washington Post:
Pence to address Latin American leaders Monday as Venezuela crisis deepens
Mike Memoli / NBC News:
Biden gets closer to a White House bid but serious concerns remain
Discussion: The Week, Politico and AOL
New York Times:
Alabama Woman Who Joined ISIS Can't Return Home, U.S. Says
 Earlier Items: 
Glenn Kessler / Washington Post:
Stephen Miller's claim that ‘thousands of Americans die year after year’ from illegal immigration
Reid Wilson / The Hill:
Obama political arm to merge with Holder-run group
Jeremy Barr / Hollywood Reporter:
Why Sean Spicer Joined ‘Extra’ as a TV Correspondent
Jim Geraghty / National Review:
It's Not a Disinformation Campaign if the Facts Are True
Discussion: Hullabaloo, Booman Tribune and Politico
Michael Grunwald / Politico:
Trump's War on California
Washington Post:
Allies decline request to stay in Syria after U.S. troops withdraw
Discussion: Bloomberg and
Hamilton Nolan / Splinter:
Rich People Have Been Taking Your Money For 40 Years And They Still Are
Joe Pompeo / Vanity Fair:
“She Was Pitching Her Intimate Knowledge of the Mueller Probe”: Sarah Isgur Flores, Former Trumper …