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2:45 PM ET, February 23, 2019


 Top Items: 
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.
Katelyn Polantz / CNN:
Mueller filing on Manafort sentencing still not public after midnight deadline  —  Why Mueller cares about Manafort & Gates  —  Washington (CNN)The public will have to wait a little longer to read Paul Manafort's sentencing memo from special counsel Robert Mueller.
Discussion: The Week and Mediaite
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 …
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.
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 …
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
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 …
Discussion: Washington Post and POLITICUSUSA
Annie Linskey / Washington Post:
Elizabeth Warren opens door to reparations for Native Americans
Discussion: Politico, TheBlaze and Political Wire
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
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
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.
Discussion: Bloomberg, East Bay Times and WPTV
Mary Helen Moore /
Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida spa
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,” …
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.
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 …
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.
Ben Schreckinger / Politico:
Qatar hired ex-Trump campaign staffer as D.C. lobbyist  —  A former national field director for President Donald Trump's presidential campaign registered as a foreign agent of Qatar late last year, the latest figure in Trump's orbit to profit from a scramble by Gulf states to win favor in Washington.
Discussion: Raw Story
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.
Paul Sonne / Washington Post:
Pentagon sending 1,000 more troops to the Mexican border  —  The Pentagon will increase the number of troops along the U.S.-Mexico border to about 6,000 by the start of next month as the Trump administration turns its attention to securing remote areas between official ports of entry, a senior U.S. defense official said Friday.
Discussion: ThinkProgress, The Hill and Townhall
Paul Bedard / Washington Examiner:
Gallup: Liberals outnumber conservatives in only 6 states, down from 9  —  The number of states where liberals outnumber conservatives has dropped more than 30 percent, with just six now in that category: Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Washington, New York, and New Hampshire.
Discussion: Joe.My.God. and The Gateway Pundit
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 More Items: 
Associated Press:
US pushes NATO allies to join observer force in Syria
Carrie Kahn / NPR:
Trump's Venezuela Moves Follow Long History Of Intervention In Latin America
Discussion: Washington Post
Daniel Horowitz / Conservative Review:
Not an emergency?! 1,744 percent spike in asylum claims
Discussion: Big League Politics
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
Trump Employs QAnon Believer Elizabeth Alfieri as Pastry Chef at Mar-a-Lago
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
Adam Cancryn / Politico:
2020 Democrats' progressive gamble is about to get real
Discussion: Reuters
 Earlier Items: 
Matthew Desmond / New York Times:
The $15 Minimum Wage Doesn't Just Improve Lives. It Saves Them.
Deanna Paul / Washington Post:
A teen was told her MAGA hat violates school code. She's fighting back.
Discussion: RedState
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