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9:25 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.
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 …
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.
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 …
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: Law & Crime
Adam Davidson / New Yorker:
Robert Mueller's Nothing-Burger Sentencing Memo on Paul Manafort  —  All week long, there has been a frenzy among those most obsessed with Robert Mueller's investigation for what was coming on Friday.  We expected he would produce a sentencing memo on Paul Manafort and many allowed themselves to believe …
Sharon LaFraniere / New York Times:
Sentencing Memo Paints Manafort as Someone Who ‘Repeatedly and Brazenly’ Broke Law
Discussion: Mother Jones
Katelyn Polantz / CNN:
Mueller filing on Manafort sentencing still not public after midnight deadline
Discussion: Raw Story, The Week and Mediaite
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
Discussion: Maggie's Farm
Associated Press:
The Latest: 2 killed, 18 injured in Venezuela border clashes
Discussion: NPR
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.”
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 and The Gateway Pundit
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, The Mahablog, Vox and CBS Denver
Naomi Jagoda / The Hill:   Average tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows
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.]
Alexandra Hutzler / Newsweek:
Bill Maher Mocks Red State Voters, Says Rich and Educated Live in Blue States  —  Bill Maher ridiculed red state voters in a segment about Amazon's HQ2 locations, saying that the rich and educated people of America live in blue states.  —  “That's why red state voters are so pissed off.
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
The Mueller report is coming!  Oh, wait.  —  Earlier this week, CNN appeared to give itself some wiggle room as it broadcast that the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller's report was imminent:  —  Host Brooke Baldwin told viewers on Wednesday afternoon, “President Trump …
Discussion: Daily Kos and Fox News Insider
Washington Post:   Access to Mueller's report and evidence may be guided by Congress, Clinton email case
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.
Cristina Maza / Newsweek:
Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman Defends China's Use of Concentration Camps for Muslims During Visit to Beijing  —  As he faces criticism from Western countries over the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia's young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is forming new alliances.
Discussion: Al Jazeera
Ronald A. Klain / Washington Post:
Time for Democrats to stare down Trump's red scare  —  Ronald A. Klain, a Post contributing columnist, served as a senior White House aide to Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and was a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.  —  It's time for Democrats to stand up and stare down the great …
Emily Cochrane / New York Times:
Justice Democrats Helped Make Ocasio-Cortez.  They're Already Eyeing Their Next Targets.  —  WASHINGTON — Less than a month into the 116th Congress, Sean McElwee, the liberal co-founder of Data for Progress, rattled off a list of sitting Democratic House members who should face a primary from the left …
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: TheBlaze and Politico
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Conservatives Greatly Outnumber Liberals in 19 U.S. States  —  WASHINGTON, D.C. — The residents of most U.S. states are more likely to identify as conservative than as liberal in their political ideology.  In 25 states, the conservative advantage is significantly greater than the national average …
Discussion: Power Line
Paul Bedard / Washington Examiner:
Gallup: Liberals outnumber conservatives in only 6 states, down from 9
Discussion: Joe.My.God. and The Gateway Pundit
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 More Items: 
Woman arrested for assaulting man wearing MAGA hat on Cape Cod
David Nakamura / Washington Post:
‘No rush’: Trump redefines success ahead of second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
Paul Sonne / Washington Post:
Pentagon sending 1,000 more troops to the Mexican border
Discussion: The Hill, ThinkProgress and Townhall
Robert Pear / New York Times:
Health Care and Insurance Industries Mobilize to Kill ‘Medicare for All’
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
 Earlier Items: 
Ben Schreckinger / Politico:
Qatar hired ex-Trump campaign staffer as D.C. lobbyist
Discussion: Raw Story
Elon Green / Columbia Journalism Review:
How Esquire lost the Bryan Singer story
Barbie Latza Nadeau / The Daily Beast:
An Italian Expose Documents Moscow Money Allegedly Funding Italy's Far-Right Salvini
Discussion: Mother Jones
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