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9:55 AM 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?
Jacqueline Alemany / Washington Post:
Power Up: ‘By the Book Bob:’ Prosecutors say Mueller will tightly hug Justice guidelines in report
Discussion: Vox
Washington Post:
Justice Department preparing for Mueller report in coming days
Justice Department preparing for Mueller report as early as next week
Stephen Collinson / CNN:
Bombshell Mueller report may never be fully revealed
Discussion: Raw Story and Breitbart
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
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Nina dos Santos / CNN:
Senate investigators pursue Moscow-based former Trump associate  —  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 …
Brett Murphy / USA Today:
Blackface, KKK hoods and mock lynchings: Review of 900 yearbooks finds blatant racism  —  In one of the most extensive searches of college yearbooks ever, we found blackface and Ku Klux Klan photos like Ralph Northam's far beyond Virginia.  —  The old yearbook photos capture the lighthearted moments …
Discussion: The Week and Splinter
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
Nicole Carroll / USA Today:
I became part of our story on racist images in college yearbooks.  I'm here to apologize for publishing that photo
Discussion: Raw Story
Washington Post:
Allies decline request to stay in Syria after U.S. troops withdraw  —  As the deadline approaches for the withdrawal of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, America's closest European allies have turned down a Trump administration request to fill the gap with their own troops, according to U.S. and foreign officials.
Discussion: Bloomberg and
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 …
Actor Jussie Smollett now a suspect in criminal investigation  —  “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been “officially classified” as a suspect in a criminal investigation for allegedly filling a false police report, according to a tweet from Chicago police communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi.
CBS Chicago:
Video Shows Brothers Linked To Jussie Smollett Attack Buying Items Allegedly Worn In Assault
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 …
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Why Sanders's money haul doesn't mean very much
Discussion: Wall Street Journal
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
Emma Green / The Atlantic:   These Are the Americans Who Live in a Bubble
Joe Pompeo / Vanity Fair:
“She Was Pitching Her Intimate Knowledge of the Mueller Probe”: Sarah Isgur Flores, Former Trumper, Talked to MSNBC Before Signing with CNN  —  The former Jeff Sessions spokesperson is now a power player at a network she once called the “Clinton News Network.”  How'd she close the deal?
The Daily Beast:
CNN in Damage-Control Mode Over GOP Operative Hire
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.
Discussion: Bloomberg
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 …
Amy Gardner / Washington Post:
Candidate's son warned father of N.C. political operative's alleged tactics  —  RALEIGH, N.C. — The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris testified Wednesday that he warned his father repeatedly that he believed a political operative now at the center of an election-fraud investigation …
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.
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 …
Sarah Ferris / Politico:
Pelosi: House moving ‘swiftly’ to block Trump's emergency declaration  —  Speaker Nancy Pelosi is throwing her muscle behind a legislative effort to block President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration, the first formal step to counter Trump and squeeze Republicans on the border wall.
Rachael Bade / Washington Post:   Pelosi says House will vote on resolution opposing Trump's emergency declaration
Jim Geraghty / National Review:
It's Not a Disinformation Campaign if the Facts Are True  —  Is It Really a Disinformation Campaign If It Uses Verified Facts?  —  Politico reports that certain Democratic presidential candidates are already the target of “wide-ranging disinformation campaign” with “signs that foreign state actors …
Discussion: Hullabaloo, Booman Tribune and Politico
Reid Wilson / The Hill:
Obama political arm to merge with Holder-run group  —  President Obama's political organization is merging with Eric Holder's National Redistricting Action Fund, giving it control of the vaunted list of supporters, donors and volunteers that Obama and his team built over more than a decade.
Discussion: Political Wire
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
Dutch professor exposes Tucker Carlson's fraud  —  “Tucker Carlson Tonight” is a binary production.  Here's how it breaks down: The host, Tucker Carlson, either welcomes a guest with whom he agrees, in which case the segment is a facile lovefest, or he welcomes a guest with whom he disagrees …
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 More Items: 
Glenn Kessler / Washington Post:
Stephen Miller's claim that ‘thousands of Americans die year after year’ from illegal immigration
Daniel Henninger / Wall Street Journal:
The Democrats' Socialist Gene
New York Times:
A U.S. Ambassador Promises a Global Push to Decriminalize Homosexuality
Discussion: NBC News and Shareblue Media
Transnational Emergency
Discussion: Raw Story
Michael Grunwald / Politico:
Trump's War on California
David M. Drucker / Washington Examiner:
Optimism in Trump camp grows as Democrats embrace their inner socialist
Discussion: New York Times
Marc Caputo / Politico:
Florida aims to torpedo Milwaukee 2020 convention bid
Hamilton Nolan / Splinter:
Rich People Have Been Taking Your Money For 40 Years And They Still Are
 Earlier Items: 
White House talks U.N. post with John James
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Fox News
Brianne Pfannenstiel / Des Moines Register:
Iowa Poll: Joni Ernst's approval rating hits new high as she readies for 2020 re-election bid
Jennifer Schuessler / New York Times:
The Obama Presidential Library That Isn't
Discussion: Chicago Tribune and AOTUS
Christopher Cadelago / Politico:
Kamala Harris shamed by Jamaican father over pot-smoking joke
Sean Hannity:
MANUFACTURED CRISIS? Border Agents Seize $13 MILLION of Meth Hidden in Frozen Strawberries
Discussion: CNN
Isaac Chotiner / New Yorker:
The Classicist Who Sees Donald Trump as a Tragic Hero