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5:30 PM ET, February 19, 2020


 Top Items: 
Nico Hines / The Daily Beast:
Trump Offered Assange Pardon if He Covered Up Russian Hack, WikiLeaks Founder's Lawyer Claims  —  Lawyers acting for the WikiLeaks founder said Dana Rohrabacher, a former Republican congressman, had brought the message to London from Trump.  —  LONDON—President Trump offered to pardon Julian Assange …
Owen Bowcott / The Guardian:
Donald Trump ‘offered Julian Assange a pardon if he denied Russia link to hack’  —  Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told.  —  The extraordinary claim was made at Westminster magistrates court …
Washington Post:
Assange lawyer claims congressman offered pardon on behalf of Trump in exchange for absolving Russia in WikiLeaks DNC case  —  LONDON — A lawyer for Julian Assange said in a British court Wednesday that former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher, an ally of President Trump …
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
The White House denies Julian Assange's pardon claim.  Here's what we know about it.  —  A day after President Trump issued executive clemency to 11 people including former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, another potential Trump pardon is in the news.  —  This one: For Julian Assange.
Discussion: Vox, The Week, POLITICUSUSA and Raw Story
Mike Allen / Axios:
Bloomberg camp's “dire” warning: Bernie Sanders will soon be unstoppable  —  Mike Bloomberg's campaign is sounding the alarm that Bernie Sanders will soon amass an unsurmountable delegate lead if the Democratic field stays split — and took the extraordinary step of suggesting laggards should drop out.
Tim Miller / The Bulwark:
The Skeptic's Case Against Bloomberg  —  Just a few questions before we anoint Mayor Mike as the moderate savior.  —  A friend texted—actually “signaled,” because that's what all the cool operatives are doing these days—me yesterday.  The exchange went as such:
Brian Schwartz / CNBC:
Several Joe Biden fundraisers jump ship from his struggling campaign to back Mike Bloomberg  — Key fundraisers are jumping ship from Joe Biden's struggling presidential campaign to instead support Mike Bloomberg's ascending candidacy.  — The development comes amid growing concerns …
Ezra Klein / Vox:
Bloomberg's plan to buy the presidency endangers democracy
Discussion: CNN, In These Times and Reason
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Will Democrats stand up to the bully on their own side?
Discussion: Mediaite, Raw Story and Twitchy
Philip Bump / Washington Post:
The Democratic primaries may soon have an uncatchable leader — who can't clinch the nomination
Discussion: The Hill, IJR and Associated Press
Wall Street Journal:
Bloomberg Bankrolls a Social-Media Army to Push Message  —  Campaign is hiring workers for $2,500 per month to promote Bloomberg to all their contacts  —  Michael Bloomberg's presidential campaign is hiring hundreds of workers in California to post regularly on their personal social-media accounts …
Emily Zanotti / The Daily Wire:
Michael Bloomberg Is Paying People $2500 A Month To Say Nice Things About Him On Social Media
Discussion: The Week
Nihar Kabinittal / ABC News:
Trump's Phoenix rally kicks off counterprogramming spree
Discussion: Associated Press
Charlie Warzel / New York Times:
Twitter Is Real Life  —  Elites just pretend it's not.  —  Mr. Warzel is an Opinion writer at large.  —  For the better part of a year I've been hearing the same refrain.  Friends, colleagues, peers, respected pollsters have cautioned: Twitter is not real life.
Washington Post:
Sanders surges into national lead in new Post-ABC poll  —  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on the strength of his performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, has surged nationally and now holds a sizable lead over all of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
NBC News:
Sanders press secretary walks back ‘heart attack’ comments on Bloomberg
Discussion: The Daily Beast, Wired and Politico
Wall Street Journal:
China Expels Three Wall Street Journal Reporters  —  China's Foreign Ministry says move was punishment for a recent opinion piece published by the Journal  —  China revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters based in Beijing, the first time in the post-Mao era …
Brian Beutler / Crooked Media:
House Democrats Stand Down  —  After Senate Republicans voted to conceal the evidence of Donald Trump's high crimes, and acquit him of them without holding a real trial, House Democrats seemed to understand that he'd interpret the outcome not as a chastening brush with accountability but as permission to commit further crimes unbound.
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Trump's corruption will get worse. His own advisers just showed how.
Mark Sherman / Associated Press:
Trump says he's the nation's top cop, a debatable claim
Discussion: Politico
Edward-Isaac Dovere / The Atlantic:
The Hidden History of Sanders's Plot to Primary Obama  —  Bernie Sanders got so close to running a primary challenge to President Barack Obama that Senator Harry Reid had to intervene to stop him.  —  It took Reid two conversations over the summer of 2011 to get Sanders to scrap the idea …
Brandy Zadrozny / NBC News:
What is the ‘boogaloo?’  How online calls for a violent uprising are hitting the mainstream  —  The movement says it wants a second Civil War targeting liberal political opponents and law enforcement.  —  An anti-government movement that advocates for a violent uprising targeting liberal political opponents …
Discussion: Raw Story
Ben Conarck / Miami Herald:
Trump commutes sentence of Miami woman doing 35 years in prison for bilking Medicare  —  A Hialeah woman convicted in a massive Medicare fraud scheme a decade ago had her 35-year prison sentence commuted Tuesday by President Donald Trump as he announced 11 pardons and commutations in high-profile cases.
Caitlin Oprysko / Politico:
Defiant Blagojevich heaps praise on Trump after commutation
Discussion: Breitbart and Mediaite
Kira Lerner / The Appeal:
Florida Can't Bar People From Voting Because of Inability to Pay, Appeals Court Says  —  The court found that a law critics described as a poll tax violates the Constitution.  —  Florida cannot bar people with felony convictions from voting if they can't pay court-issued fines and fees, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.
Tal Axelrod / The Hill:
Court sides with ex-felons who challenged Florida voting requirement
Discussion: Washington Post, Politico and Fox News
Sydney Ember / New York Times:
Sanders Suggests He Won't Release Full Medical Records  —  After he had a heart attack in October, Bernie Sanders said he would release ‘comprehensive’ medical records.  But he has not done so.  —  LAS VEGAS — Ahead of a crucial Democratic debate on Wednesday night, Bernie Sanders is facing …
Jonah Goldberg / The Dispatch:
Does Anyone Really Believe Free Market Fundamentalists Are ‘Running the Show’?  —  Let's hope not.  —  1 hr  —  Dear Reader,  —  “Conservative intellectuals launch a new group to challenge free-market ‘fundamentalism’ on the right.”  —Washington Post, February 18, 2020
Discussion: National Review
Ken Klippenstein / The Nation:
EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Bloomberg Campaign NDA Protects Abusive Bosses  —  The campaign's non-disclosure agreement could prevent staffers from reporting workplace abuse and discrimination.  —  A Bloomberg campaign non-disclosure agreement obtained by The Nation contains language that could prevent staffers from reporting workplace abuse.
Discussion: The Hill
Devan Cole / CNN:
Andrew Yang joins CNN as a political commentator  —  Washington (CNN)Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is joining CNN as a political commentator, the network announced Wednesday.  —  “I'm excited to join @CNN to help shed light on the election and the candidates' experiences …
Rainesford Stauffer /
Meet the Women Moderators of Tonight's Debate, Hallie Jackson and Vanessa Hauc  —  Hauc and Jackson tell InStyle about their careers (and how Hallie's priorities have changed now that she's 8 months pregnant) and how they're prepping for tonight's big event.  —  PIN  —  FB
Discussion: Vox
New York Times:
The Great Google Revolt  —  Some of its employees tried to stop their company from doing work they saw as unethical.  It blew up in their faces.  —  Laurence Berland had just gotten out of the subway in New York, some 3,000 miles from his desk in San Francisco, when he learned that Google had fired him.
Radio Farda / Radio Free Europe:
Environmentalist In Iran Prison Exposes Torture, Sexual Threats By Interrogators  —  A female environmentalist whose 10-year sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeals on February 18 says her interrogators tortured and threatened her with sexual assault.  —  The revelation was first made …
Bethany Rodgers / Salt Lake Tribune:
Utah senators pass bill to decriminalize polygamy  —  A bill that would effectively decriminalize polygamy and dispel fears of prosecution for plural marriage among consenting adults sailed through the Utah Senate on Tuesday.  —  Sen. Deidre Henderson's bill would reclassify bigamy as an infraction …
Discussion: Deseret News
Chris Kahn / Reuters:
Exclusive: Ahead of 2020 election, a ‘Blue Wave’ is rising in the cities, polling analysis shows  —  NEW YORK (Reuters) - As Republican President Donald Trump seeks a second term in November, Americans' interest in voting is growing faster in large cities dominated by Democrats …
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 More Items: 
Alfred Ng / CNET:
Why Rudy Giuliani's Twitter typos are a security fail
Discussion: Axios
Joel B. Pollak / Breitbart:
Exclusive: Kimberly Guilfoyle Launches ‘Grass Roots Bundling’ for Trump
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Nikki Haley poaches top conservative from Heritage Action
Alex Kantrowitz / BuzzFeed News:
How Saudi Arabia Infiltrated Twitter
Tony Romm / Washington Post:
Attorney General Barr blasts big tech, raising prospect that companies could be held liable …
Discussion: NB Blog
Natalie Jarvey / Hollywood Reporter:
John Legend Joins Vox Media's Board of Directors (Exclusive)
Discussion: NB Blog
David Harsanyi / National Review:
Democrats Still Haven't Come to Terms with 2016
Discussion: New York Post
 Earlier Items: 
Amanda Terkel / HuffPost:
Bloomberg Vetoed 2003 Bill Expanding Rape Victims' Access To Emergency Contraception
Siraj Qureshi / India Today:
Monkey menace at Taj Mahal could spoil Donald Trump's trip
Aruna Viswanatha / Wall Street Journal:
The Dispute Over Roger Stone's Recommended Sentence Explained
Michael Gold / New York Times:
‘Hi Haters’: Why New Jersey's Twitter Account Is Like No Other
Jonathan V. Last / The Bulwark:
Bernie Could Beat Trump. Here's How.
Discussion: Washington Post and Raw Story
Kenneth S. Baer / The Atlantic:
The Debates Broke the Primary
Discussion: Outside the Beltway