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1:20 PM ET, February 23, 2019


 Top Items: 
Kevin Roose / New York Times:
Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain  —  My name is Kevin, and I have a phone problem.  —  And if you're anything like me — and the statistics suggest you probably are, at least where smartphones are concerned — you have one, too.  —  I don't love referring to what we have as an “addiction.”
John Bowden / The Hill:
Judge tosses North Carolina mandatory voter ID amendment citing gerrymandering  —  A judge in North Carolina on Friday tossed out the state's constitutional amendment requiring a voter ID, citing prevalent gerrymandering in the state's General Assembly.  —  Wake County Superior Court Judge …
Discussion: Axios, Joe.My.God. and
New York Times:
Republican Cries Against Voter Fraud Go Mostly Quiet After Scheme Tied to Party  —  RALEIGH, N.C. — Republican politicians across the country have for years railed against the threat of voter fraud.  Some have made unproven claims about how rampant it has become in order to pass voter ID laws and open sweeping investigations.
Mike Allen / Axios:
Looming Mueller investigation report leaves Washington in suspense  —  For 21 months, Robert Mueller has been an omnipresent but unseen lead in D.C. drama.  —  Driving the news: As soon as he delivers his farewell letter or report, the protagonists become Attorney General William Barr …
Deanna Paul / Washington Post:
Even if Mueller's probe concludes soon, things are far from over
Discussion: Raw Story, POLITICUSUSA and LewRockwell
Washington Post:
Access to Mueller's report and evidence may be guided by Congress, Clinton email case
Discussion: Associated Press
Matthew Walther / The Week:
The Mueller joke
Discussion: Viking Pundit
Associated Press:
Court records reveal a Mueller report right in plain view  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump was in full deflection mode.  —  The Democrats had blamed Russia for the hacking and release of damaging material on his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.  Trump wasn't buying it.
John Bowden / The Hill:
Warren: Native Americans should be ‘part of the conversation’ on reparations  —  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Friday that Native Americans should be “part of the conversation” on reparations, The Washington Post reported.  —  Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender …
Annie Linskey / Washington Post:
Elizabeth Warren opens door to reparations for Native Americans
Discussion: Politico and Political Wire
Ali Schmitz /
Florida human trafficking: Billionaire equity firm owner John Childs wanted on prostitution charge in Vero Beach  —  Billionaire equity firm owner John Childs is one of several men accused of soliciting prostitution in connection with a Florida spa tied to an international human trafficking ring, police said Thursday.
Mary Helen Moore /
Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida spa
Aaron Lorenzo / Politico:
Average tax refund down 17 percent, IRS reports  —  The average tax refund issued so far this year is down by 17 percent, the IRS said, a steep decline that promises more headaches for Republican lawmakers.  —  The agency released data late Friday showing refunds are down for the third consecutive week …
Naomi Jagoda / The Hill:
Average tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows
Discussion: Politico
Elon Green / Columbia Journalism Review:
How Esquire lost the Bryan Singer story  —  On February 11, news broke that Millennium Films was delaying Bryan Singer's Red Sonja, which was to begin production this year.  This was, on the face of it, a remarkable turn of events.  Singer's Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, had just been nominated for five Oscars.
Discussion: The Daily Californian
New York Times:
Russian Spy or Hustling Political Operative?  The Enigmatic Figure at the Heart of Mueller's Inquiry  —  WASHINGTON — In the nearly two years that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has been investigating whether there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign …
Caroline O'Donovan / BuzzFeed News:
YouTube Just Demonetized Anti-Vax Channels  —  YouTube on Friday said it would prevent channels that promote anti-vax content from running advertising, saying explicitly that such videos fall under its policy prohibiting the monetization of videos with “dangerous and harmful” content.
Robert Pear / New York Times:
Health Care and Insurance Industries Mobilize to Kill ‘Medicare for All’  —  WASHINGTON — Even before Democrats finish drafting bills to create a single-payer health care system, the health care and insurance industries have assembled a small army of lobbyists to kill “Medicare for all,” …
Trump's Trade Chief Lectures His Boss and Gets an Earful in Return  — Lighthizer tries to shape debate on key element in China talks  — Trump rejects Lighthizer case for memorandums of understanding  —  An exasperated Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative …
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
The top 15 Democratic presidential candidates of 2020, ranked  —  It's just February 2019 and we already have 10 declared well-known 2020 Democratic candidates for president.  The 2016 runner-up for the nomination just got in.  Others are set to decide within days or weeks.  The debates start in three months.
New York Times:
Cohen Gave Prosecutors New Information on the Trump Family Business  —  Michael D. Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, met last month with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, offering information about possible irregularities within the president's family business and about a donor …
New York Times:
An Emergency for the G.O.P.  —  The Constitution or The Donald?  Why is this such a hard choice for congressional Republicans?  —  The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher.  It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.
Melanie Zanona / Politico:
Dems prepare to subpoena family separation documents from Trump administration  —  House Democrats are laying the groundwork to subpoena the Trump administration for a trove of documents relating to its controversial migrant family separation policy at the border, according to several sources familiar with the matter.
Discussion: Political Wire
Hunter Walker / Yahoo News:
Democrat predicts House will get Trump's tax returns — but there are a few complications
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Washington Post:
Trump announces nomination of Kelly Knight Craft to be ambassador to United Nations  —  President Trump announced Friday evening that he will nominate Kelly Knight Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada and a major Republican donor, to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Trump nominates Kelly Craft as ambassador to the U.N.
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 More Items: 
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
Trump Employs QAnon Believer Elizabeth Alfieri as Pastry Chef at Mar-a-Lago
Ben Schreckinger / Politico:
Qatar hired ex-Trump campaign staffer as D.C. lobbyist
Sue Halpern / New Yorker:
Why the U.K. Condemned Facebook for Fuelling Fake News
Barbie Latza Nadeau / The Daily Beast:
An Italian Expose Documents Moscow Money Allegedly Funding Italy's Far-Right Salvini
Discussion: Mother Jones
Paul Bedard / Washington Examiner:
Gallup: Liberals outnumber conservatives in only 6 states, down from 9
Discussion: Joe.My.God. and The Gateway Pundit
Adam Cancryn / Politico:
2020 Democrats' progressive gamble is about to get real
Discussion: Reuters
Matthew Desmond / New York Times:
The $15 Minimum Wage Doesn't Just Improve Lives. It Saves Them.
 Earlier Items: 
Deanna Paul / Washington Post:
A teen was told her MAGA hat violates school code. She's fighting back.
Discussion: RedState
Jonah Goldberg / National Review:
Strategy Isn't Everything  —  Sean Trende, one of my favorite analysts …
Juliegrace Brufke / The Hill:
Dems call on Trump to fire Acosta
Stephanie Akin / Roll Call:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's call for a ‘living wage’ starts in her office
Discussion: and Hot Air
Kushner Cos. Seeks Federal Loan in Biggest Deal in Decade, Sources Say
Discussion: Raw Story
Washington Post:
Grand jury is examining whether former interior secretary Ryan Zinke lied to federal investigators
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg / Wall Street Journal:
George R.R. Martin Isn't the Only Author Who Can't Finish a Beloved Series
Discussion: Outside the Beltway