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4:50 PM ET, February 14, 2020


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Barr Installs Outside Prosecutor to Review Case Against Michael Flynn, Ex-Trump Adviser  —  Amid turmoil in the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, the attorney general has also sent outside prosecutors to review other politically sensitive cases.  —  WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr …
Washington Post:
Justice Dept. won't charge Andrew McCabe, the former FBI official who authorized the investigation of President Trump  —  The Justice Department will not bring charges against former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe for lying to investigators about a media disclosure, according to people familiar …
Carol E. Lee / NBC News:
Justice Department opens inquiry into FBI interview at heart of Flynn's guilty plea  —  AG Barr has asked a U.S. attorney to lead the inquiry.  Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements during the interview, but wants to withdraw plea.  —  WASHINGTON — The Justice Department recently opened …
Discussion: Redstate, CNBC and Law & Crime
Sally Yates / Washington Post:
Trump thinks the Justice Department is his personal grudge squad  —  Sally Yates served as deputy attorney general from January 2015 to January 2017.  —  The imperative of Justice Department independence from political influence has deep roots.  After the Watergate scandal …
Washington Post:
Trump bucks Barr's request to stop tweeting about Justice Dept., declaring a 'legal right …
Associated Press:
US closes case against ex-FBI boss McCabe with no charges
Discussion: TheBlaze and IJR
Lisa Monaco / Just Security:   The Soul of the Justice Department: Who Must Stand Up For It Now
Andrew C. McCarthy / The Hill:
Roger Stone's sentence: How the judge will really decide to ‘lock him up’
Discussion: Redstate, Slate, Townhall, VICE and ABC News
Franklin Foer / The Atlantic:
Now We Know What Kind of Authoritarian Trump Aspires to Be
Discussion: Raw Story
Andrew Feinberg / The Independent:   I spoke to experts on authoritarian rule about Trump's behavior this week. …
Rory Appleton / Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Sanders holds lead heading into Nevada's Democratic caucuses, poll finds  —  Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the presidential field by a solid margin among likely Democratic caucusgoers heading into Nevada's four-day early voting period, but all six of the candidates actively campaigning …
Ross Ramsey / The Texas Tribune:
Bernie Sanders leaps to first among Texas Democrats in latest UT/TT Poll  —  Sanders now leads the Democratic presidential candidates among Texas voters, but Donald Trump maintains a slight lead over each of the top Democrats in the race, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
Zach Montellaro / Politico:
Dems will hold mid-March debate in Arizona
Discussion: ABC News, Associated Press and The Hill
Andrew Romano / Yahoo News:
New Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows Sanders's strength going head-to-head with rivals
Discussion: Slate, The Dispatch and Power Line
Philip Bump / Washington Post:   This is how narrow a Democrat's path to the nomination will be
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
There is another service to the country Biden may need to perform
Discussion: The Daily Caller and The Hill
NBC News:
Michael Avenatti guilty on all counts in Nike extortion case  —  Avenatti was arrested in March, about 15 minutes after tweeting that he had scheduled a press conference to “disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike.”  —  Lawyer Michael Avenatti …
Dan Mangan / CNBC:
Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion trial  — Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti was convicted of all three charges related to his efforts to extort up to $25 million from athletic apparel giant Nike.  — The verdict in Manhattan federal court came two years …
Michael Avenatti has been found guilty on all counts in Nike extortion trial  —  (CNN)Michael Avenatti is guilty on all three counts he was facing, according to a decision by a jury in federal court in New York on Friday.  —  Prosecutors said the lawyer threatened to publicly accuse athletic …
Associated Press:
Michael Avenatti convicted of trying to extort Nike
Discussion: Axios
New York Times:
Border Patrol Will Deploy Elite Tactical Agents to Sanctuary Cities  —  Agents from a special tactical team that normally confronts smugglers on the border are being sent to sanctuary cities across the country.  —  The Trump administration is deploying law enforcement tactical units …
New York Times:
Bill de Blasio Plans to Endorse Bernie Sanders  —  The New York City mayor, who was briefly a presidential candidate himself, is expected to travel with Mr. Sanders in Nevada in the coming days, according to people familiar with the plans.  —  Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York …
Discussion: Politico
Betsy Swan / The Daily Beast:
U.S. Readied Sanctions on Russian Oligarch's Associates—Then Mysteriously Backed Off  —  “Somebody overruled [Treasury], essentially,” one sanctions expert said.  “That's the most likely scenario.”  —  Something strange happened in mid-December involving Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch.
Discussion: Raw Story
Henry Foy / Financial Times:
US cites reports Oleg Deripaska helped Vladimir Putin launder cash
Discussion: РБК
Washington Post:
She pushed Trump to exit the Paris climate agreement and roll back environmental rules.  And she's returning to EPA as chief of staff.  —  One of EPA's first Trump appointees, Mandy Gunasekara has run a ‘pro-Trump nonprofit’ since leaving the agency a year ago.
Discussion: Axios and The Week
Ian Millhiser / Vox:
Trump just got bad news from Neil Gorsuch's mentor in a big Medicaid case  —  Judge David B. Sentelle testified at the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the future of the Independent Counsel Act in 1999.  Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images  —  When you've lost David Sentelle ...
Phil McCausland / NBC News:
Federal court strikes down Trump administration's Medicaid work requirements
Discussion: Associated Press
Adam Bienkov / Business Insider:
Boris Johnson has cancelled his planned trip to the White House after Trump slammed the phone down on him in a moment of ‘apoplectic’ fury  — UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled his planned trip to meet Donald Trump next month after a furious row between the two men.
Jacqueline Feldscher / Politico:
Army won't investigate Vindman over impeachment testimony, top leader says  —  The Army will not investigate Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the former National Security Council staffer who testified in the president's impeachment investigation, the service's top civilian said Friday.
New York Times:
We Checked the Iowa Caucus Math.  Here's Where It Didn't Add Up.  —  Caucus volunteers tally the final round votes.  Then they divide the county delegates among the viable candidates based on their vote shares.  —  They must round down or up to the nearest whole number to award the delegates.
Megan Messerly / The Nevada Independent:
Culinary Union officials face profanity-laced attacks after scorecard says Sanders would ‘end’ their health care  —  Geoconda Arguello-Kline, left, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union announced that the culinary will not endorse a Democratic presidential candidate in the primary.
The Benefits of Being Joe Biden's Brother  —  Jim Biden has been at his brother's side at nearly every critical junction in Joe's life.  He's also repeatedly tapped into Joe's political network for help with his finances, and used Joe's fame to promote his business ventures. … Jim Biden was in a bind.
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 More Items: 
Ryan Lessard /
Windham police charge man with slapping teen, assaulting Trump supporters at polls
Discussion: Breitbart, Law & Crime and Fox News
Jason Hancock / Kansas City Star:
Greitens fined $178,000 by ethics commission that found campaign likely broke law
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Ruy Teixeira / Washington Post:
No, radical policies won't drive election-winning turnout
Washington Post:
Mass propaganda used to be difficult, but Facebook made it easy
Center for Public Integrity:
Center for Public Integrity advances fight for facts behind Ukraine aid hold
Tom Benning / Dallas Morning News:
Top Texas Republican criticizes Trump's plans to divert $3.8B from military to border wall
Jo Craven McGinty / Wall Street Journal:
How Many People Might One Person With Coronavirus Infect?
Discussion: Mediaite
Associated Press:
Facebook reverses on paid political messages that aren't ads
Discussion: KTLA
 Earlier Items: 
Jonathan Bernstein / Bloomberg:
An Unrestrained Trump May End Up Trapping Himself
Discussion: Raw Story and New York Times
Bianca Bosker / The Atlantic:
Why Witchcraft Is on the Rise
Julia Ioffe / Washington Post:
Democrats are wasting time fighting over policies the Senate will never pass
Shay Khatiri / The Bulwark:
The Irrelevance of Marco Rubio
Discussion: Raw Story
Wall Street Journal:
The Dangerous Denial of Sex
Discussion: Breitbart and Catholic League
Rick Wilson / The Daily Beast:
General John Kelly, Trump Stooge, Is No Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Patriot
POLITICO Playbook: Exclusive: Republicans snooped on Democrats' House polls