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4:40 PM ET, February 23, 2019


 Top Items: 
Rachel Weiner / Washington Post:
Paul Manafort a ‘hardened’ and ‘bold’ criminal, Mueller prosecutors tell judge  —  Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort “repeatedly and brazenly violated the law” and shows a “hardened adherence to committing crimes,” prosecutors told a Washington federal judge.
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.
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 …
Zachary Basu / Axios:
Robert Mueller files 800+ page sentencing memo for Paul Manafort  —  Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed a sentencing memo for President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.  Mueller does not take a position on how much time in prison Manafort should serve, but accuses him of …
Discussion: Politico
Katelyn Polantz / CNN:
Prosecutors say Manafort's ‘criminal actions were bold’ in redacted sentencing memo  —  Mueller's Manafort filing today may provide important info  —  (CNN)In the sentencing memo for Paul Manafort, prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller's office wrote that the former Trump campaign chairman's …
Discussion: Political Wire
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.”
Washington Post:
Four dead, 24 injured after pro-government militias open fire on Venezuela-Brazil border  —  The standoff between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó continued to intensify Saturday as the two sides clashed over delivery of humanitarian aid into the impoverished country.
Stephania Taladrid / New Yorker:   Venezuela's Food Crisis Reaches a Breaking Point
Associated Press:   The Latest: 2 killed, 18 injured in Venezuela border clashes
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.
Aaron Lorenzo / Politico:
As tax refunds shrink, Republicans scramble to defend Trump tax cut  —  Size apparently does matter, at least when it comes to tax refunds, and that's put Republicans on the defensive as Americans start filing their returns.  —  With headlines blaring about smaller refunds in the first weeks …
Discussion: Raw Story
Naomi Jagoda / The Hill:   Average tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows
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
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, LewRockwell and POLITICUSUSA
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: TheBlaze and Politico
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,” …
Joshua A. Geltzer / CNN:
What if Trump refuses to accept defeat in 2020?  —  Joshua A. Geltzer is executive director and visiting professor of law at Georgetown Law Center's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and an ASU future of war fellow at New America.  He previously was senior director …
Discussion: Hullabaloo
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.
New York Times:
Inside the Rise and Fall of a Multimillion-Dollar Airbnb Scheme  —  Multiple misleading identities, more than 100 host accounts and 18 corporations were created to run an illegal hotel business in Manhattan, according to a lawsuit filed by the city.  —  [What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]
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 More Items: 
Emily Cochrane / New York Times:
Justice Democrats Helped Make Ocasio-Cortez. They're Already Eyeing Their Next Targets.
Paul Sonne / Washington Post:
Pentagon sending 1,000 more troops to the Mexican border
Discussion: ThinkProgress, The Hill and Townhall
Associated Press:
US pushes NATO allies to join observer force in Syria
Daniel Horowitz / Conservative Review:
Not an emergency?! 1,744 percent spike in asylum claims
Discussion: Big League Politics
Melanie Zanona / Politico:
Dems prepare to subpoena family separation documents from Trump administration
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
Discussion: Raw Story
 Earlier Items: 
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
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
The top 15 Democratic presidential candidates of 2020, ranked
Adam Cancryn / Politico:
2020 Democrats' progressive gamble is about to get real
Discussion: Reuters
Trump's Trade Chief Lectures His Boss and Gets an Earful in Return
Juliegrace Brufke / The Hill:
Dems call on Trump to fire Acosta