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3:40 PM ET, February 18, 2020


 Top Items: 
Domenico Montanaro / NPR:
Poll: Sanders Leads The Field, Bloomberg Qualifies For His 1st Debate  —  Toggle more options  —  Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has opened up a double-digit lead in the Democratic nominating contest, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.  —  Sanders has 31% support nationally …
Monmouth University Polling Institute:
Only 1 In 4 Voters Firm About Choice  —  Bloomberg, Sanders, and Biden lead field  —  West Long Branch, NJ - Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden top the field in Virginia, one of the states that holds their Democratic presidential primary on Super Tuesday.
Gary He / Eater:
The Lavish Spreads of Mike Bloomberg's Food-Filled Campaign
Discussion: Raw Story and Vox
Washington Post:   Klobuchar scrambles to turn her magic moment into something more
Jason Lange / Reuters:
Bloomberg has barbs at the ready for his first 2020 debate
Discussion: Associated Press and Politico
Dan Mangan / CNBC:
Trump pardons Michael Milken, face of 1980s insider trading scandals  — President Donald Trump pardoned Michael Milken, the former junk bond king who was a face of the insider trading scandals of the 1980s.  — Trump cited the “incredible job” that Milken has done supporting cancer research …
Discussion: Raw Story
Nihar Kabinittal / Associated Press:
Trump pardons ex-San Francisco 49ers owner DeBartolo Jr.  —  President Donald Trump has pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal  —  WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr. …
New York Times:
Trump Commutes Corruption Sentence of Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois  —  The president also pardoned Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, and Edward DeBartolo, a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers.  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence …
Discussion: Reason, Daily Kos and Political Wire
Trump commutes sentence of ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich, pardons ex-NY police commissioner Kerik …
Discussion: Raw Story
Mairead McArdle / National Review:   Trump Pardons Former 49ers Owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. in Gambling Fraud Case
Myah Ward / Politico:
Trump pardons former 49ers owner charged in fraud gambling scandal
Discussion: ABC News, Axios and The Hill
James B. Comey / Washington Post:
Justice is supposed to be blind.  Bill Barr can't see that.  —  James B. Comey is a former director of the FBI and former deputy attorney general.  —  Recent events have prompted a lot of talk about the Justice Department and threats to its credibility.  Many alumni of the department believe …
Andrew O'Reilly / Fox News:
Trump claims he knows identity of anonymous administration official who penned scathing tell-all
Discussion: Associated Press
Just Security:
Three Dozen Questions for Congress (and News Media) to Ask Attorney General Barr
Discussion: Washington Examiner
ABC News:
Trump says he's commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich  —  Blagojevich was expected to be released in 2024.  —  President Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.  —  Blagojevich, a Democrat, was convicted in 2011 by a federal jury …
Adam Edelman / NBC News:
Trump expected to grant clemency to former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, ex-NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik  —  Blagojevich was sentenced in 2011 to 14 years in federal prison on corruption charges related to his solicitation of bribes in an attempt to “sell” Barack Obama's open Senate seat.
Kaitlan Collins / CNN:   Trump commutes sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich
Senator Chris Murphy:
Behind the Scenes of My Trip to Ukraine and Munich  —  I just got back from a return trip to visit President Zelensky in Ukraine and a stop at the important Munich Security Conference in Germany.  As is my habit, on the long plane ride home I wrote a candid, behind-the-scenes summary of my trip.
Tom Nichols / USA Today:
Sanders was ridiculously naive about the Soviet Union.  The Trump ads write themselves.  —  Sanders was amazed at the open ‘self-criticism’ of his Soviet hosts, but they were playing him.  I hope I'm not forced to vote for him to oust Trump.  —  Sen. Bernie Sanders and I don't have a lot in common.
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
Top intel office lawyer who handled Ukraine whistleblower complaint resigning  —  The top lawyer for the intelligence community, whose decision to block a whistleblower's complaint about President Donald Trump and Ukraine from reaching Congress helped jumpstart the impeachment inquiry, is resigning from his post, officials confirmed.
Discussion: CNN, Talking Points Memo, Axios and The Hill
Rebecca Traister / New York Magazine:
The Immoderate Susan Collins After a long career voting across the aisle, why did the Maine senator gamble her legacy on Trump?  —  Photo: Rod Lamkey Jr./SIPA USA/AP Images  —  Last fall, Erik Mercer, a Maine social worker and psychotherapist, saw one of his senators, the Republican Susan Collins …
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Judge will sentence Roger Stone on Thursday, but will postpone punishment pending bid for new trial  — The federal judge in Roger Stone's criminal trial said she will still sentence the Republican operative on Thursday.  — But Judge Amy Berman Jackson will postpone imposing the terms …
Nihar Kabinittal / ABC News:
Trump maintains online criticism of Roger Stone case, despite AG Barr's plea to stop
Jamelle Bouie / New York Times:
The Trumpian Liberalism of Michael Bloomberg  —  He may be running as the anti-Trump, but when it comes to the politics of racial control, there is a resemblance.  —  Donald Trump is who he is as a politician because of his unapologetically racial vision of the American nation.
Jake Offenhartz / Gothamist:   Their Pastor Endorsed Bloomberg. Some Harlem Congregants Say That Was A Mistake
Tom Kludt / Vanity Fair:
Fox Has Been “More Fair”: Why Bernie's Team Has Had It With MSNBC  —  The liberal network's talk of “digital brown shirts” and Fidel Castro admiration has Sandersworld seeing red.  (More like “MSDNC,” says Glenn Greenwald).  The blowback is classic Sanders-campaign ref-working—and a sign of a deepening Democratic divide.
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Does Sanders Have A Ceiling?  Maybe.  Can He Win Anyway?  Yes.  —  The Bernie Sanders rally that I attended on the evening before the New Hampshire primary drew a reported 7,500 people — about twice as many as his actual 3,867-vote margin of victory in the primary the next day.
Discussion: Washington Post
Jan Ransom / New York Times:
Weinstein's Lawyer Wrote an Article Addressing Jurors.  The Judge Is Livid.  —  The film producer's lawyer urged jurors to do “what they know is right,” prompting the prosecution to complain of jury tampering.  —  Over the weekend, just days before jurors in the Harvey Weinstein case …
Michelle Lee / Washington Post:
Buttigieg and super PAC improperly coordinated on Nevada ads, watchdog group says  —  A campaign-finance watchdog group has filed a complaint alleging the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg improperly coordinated with VoteVets, a super PAC supporting the campaign of the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.
Justin Baragona / The Daily Beast:
Fox News Keeps Rudy Giuliani On-Air Despite Internal ‘Disinformation’ Docs  —  Fox's own research team accused Giuliani and John Solomon of trafficking in “disinformation,” The Daily Beast revealed.  And yet the news channel keeps booking them.  —  Even though internal Fox News documents caution …
David Rutz / Washington Free Beacon:
MSNBC Panelist to NeverTrumper: If You Can't Vote Sanders, Trump Isn't ‘Emergency’ You Say He Is  —  An MSNBC panelist called out NeverTrumper Steve Schmidt Tuesday for declaring President Donald Trump an “emergency” but expressing strong criticism for 2020 Democratic frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
Discussion: Common Dreams and LewRockwell
Elliot Spagat / Associated Press:
Homeland Security waives contracting laws for border wall  —  SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Trump administration said Tuesday that it will waive federal contracting laws to speed construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.  —  The Department of Homeland Security said waiving procurement regulations …
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 More Items: 
April Glaser / NBC News:
Kickstarter workers vote to form first union in tech industry
Discussion: VICE, more at Techmeme »
Mark Sanford / New York Times:
Why Do My Fellow Republicans Make Excuses for Trump's Deficits?
Discussion: Daily Kos and Raw Story
Putin officially fires top political aide Vladislav Surkov
Justice News:
Massachusetts State Representative Charged with Embezzling Campaign Funds, Bank Fraud and Tax Fraud
Discussion: The Hill and The Gateway Pundit
Peter Nicholas / The Atlantic:
The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Bring Out the Worst in Trump
Discussion: Raw Story
Clare Sibthorpe / Sky News:
NHS staff can refuse to treat racist or sexist patients under new rules
Discussion: The Daily Caller and Twitchy
Joseph Trevithick / The Drive:
DARPA Wants Millions To Design An Unmanned ‘Flying Gun’ Under Its New Gunslinger Program
Discussion: Fox News and Task & Purpose
Jake Novak / CNBC:
OpEd: Think Trump is tough on Twitter? Meet Ambassador Richard Grenell
 Earlier Items: 
James Hohmann / Washington Post:
The Daily 202: Conservative intellectuals launch a new group to challenge free-market ‘fundamentalism’ on the right
Discussion: Power Line, Econlib, NPR, Cafe Hayek and VICE
Matt Lewis / The Daily Beast:
It's Suddenly Obvious: Amy Klobuchar Is the Democrats' Best Bet
Ajit Solanki / Associated Press:
India hastily builds wall along slum ahead of Trump visit
Astead W. Herndon / New York Times:
How Elizabeth Warren's Camp Is Seeking to Regain the Spotlight
Discussion: The Week
Mark Hemingway / RealClearInvestigations:
FBI Raids James Biden-Tied Business