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7:50 PM ET, February 19, 2020


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Trump Expected to Name Richard Grenell as Acting Head of Intelligence  —  The move would place a Trump loyalist atop the intelligence agencies long viewed skeptically by the White House.  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump was expected to name Richard Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany …
Trump to install loyalist Ric Grenell as acting intelligence chief  —  President Trump confirmed in a tweet Wednesday night that he will install Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany and a staunch defender of the president, as the acting director of national intelligence.
Trump expected to name current US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as acting intelligence chief  —  Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump is expected to name US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as the next acting director of national intelligence, according to two sources familiar with the decision.
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Washington Post:   Trump to name Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany, as acting head of intelligence
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 …
Discussion: Vanity Fair
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: Raw Story, Vox, Daily Kos, The Week and The Root
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
Mike Allen / Axios:
Bloomberg camp's “dire” warning: Bernie Sanders will soon be unstoppable
Paul Steinhauser / Fox News:
Democracy 2020 Digest: Bloomberg wars with Biden ahead of debate debut
Discussion: Associated Press, NBC News and The Hill
Ezra Klein / Vox:
Bloomberg's plan to buy the presidency endangers democracy
Discussion: The Atlantic, In These Times and CNN
Associated Press:
Questions about Sanders' health linger after heart attack
Discussion: The Hill and The Week
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: Redstate, The Hill and IJR
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 …
New York Times:
Tonight's Democratic Debate in Nevada: When It Is and What to Watch For
Discussion: Slate
Emily Zanotti / The Daily Wire:
Michael Bloomberg Is Paying People $2500 A Month To Say Nice Things About Him On Social Media
Discussion: Breitbart and 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.
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.
Republicans plead with Trump to leave Barr alone
Discussion: Associated Press and NBC News
Nihar Kabinittal / ABC News:
Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid says ‘not a chance in hell’ Medicare for All would pass  —  The former Senate Majority Leader also refuses to endorse a candidate just yet.  —  Former longtime Nevada lawmaker Harry Reid has declined to endorse a candidate ahead of the state's Democratic caucus …
Discussion: Associated Press and The Hill
Associated Press:
Democrats won't commit to same-day release of Nevada results
Discussion: ABC News
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 …
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 …
Nicolas Vega / New York Post:
Mark Zuckerberg reportedly gets his armpits blow dried before speeches  —  It's not one of Facebook's better perks.  —  Communications employees at the social network routinely blow-dry CEO Mark Zuckerberg's armpits before big speeches, a new book claims.  —  Zuckerberg — who became famous …
Discussion: The Independent and Fox News
Josh Rogin / Washington Post:
Mike Pompeo and lawmakers spar over ‘deep state’ attacks in private Munich meeting  —  Congressional frustration with the perceived failure by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to defend State Department personnel from political attacks spilled over during a “heated” private meeting last weekend in Munich.
Discussion: Business Insider
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.
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
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.
Ariane de Vogue / CNN:
Judges postpone emergency meeting to discuss Trump/Barr concerns  —  Source: Barr thought about resigning over Trump's interference  —  Washington (CNN)A group of federal judges hastily postponed an emergency meeting that was scheduled to take place Wednesday to discuss concerns …
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
Top Pentagon policy official resigns at Trump's request  —  Washington (CNN)The Pentagon's top policy official John Rood resigned on Wednesday at the request of President Donald Trump, according to a copy of his resignation letter obtained by CNN.  —  John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense …
Ian Lee / CBS News:
How Jewish American pedophiles hide from justice in Israel  —  Tel Aviv — It's a tense stakeout, waiting for Jimmy Julius Karow to appear.  He is a wanted man and is considered dangerous.  Accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in Oregon in 2000, he fled to Israel before authorities …
Andy Greene / Rolling Stone:
Neil Young Pens Open Letter to Donald Trump: ‘You Are a Disgrace to My Country’  —  Now an American citizen, Young rallies against the President  —  Neil Young has never hidden his contempt for Donald Trump, but now that he's officially an American citizen, he raising his voice even louder.
Discussion: Breitbart, Fox News and The Independent
Siraj Qureshi / India Today:
Monkey menace at Taj Mahal could spoil Donald Trump's trip  —  The monkeys and other stray animals have attacked numerous domestic and foreign tourists till date inside the Taj Mahal.  All the efforts made by the local CISF unit and ASI staff, to control the monkeys, have gone in vain.  —  Agra
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 More Items: 
Paul Bentz / HighGround:
HighGround Public Affairs Consultants
Discussion: Raw Story
Todd Spangler / Detroit Free Press:
Report: Michael Bloomberg hired Warren Evans' wife before endorsement
Radio Farda / Radio Free Europe:
Environmentalist In Iran Prison Exposes Torture, Sexual Threats By Interrogators
Alfred Ng / CNET:
Why Rudy Giuliani's Twitter typos are a security fail
Discussion: Axios
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Nikki Haley poaches top conservative from Heritage Action
Alex Kantrowitz / BuzzFeed News:
How Saudi Arabia Infiltrated Twitter
Rainesford Stauffer /
Meet the Women Moderators of Tonight's Debate, Hallie Jackson and Vanessa Hauc
Discussion: NBC News and Vox
Ken Klippenstein / The Nation:
EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Bloomberg Campaign NDA Protects Abusive Bosses
Discussion: Law & Crime and The Hill
 Earlier Items: 
New York Times:
The Great Google Revolt
Amanda Terkel / HuffPost:
Bloomberg Vetoed 2003 Bill Expanding Rape Victims' Access To Emergency Contraception
Ben Conarck / Miami Herald:
Trump commutes sentence of Miami woman doing 35 years in prison for bilking Medicare
Bethany Rodgers / Salt Lake Tribune:
Utah senators pass bill to decriminalize polygamy
Discussion: Deseret News
Jonathan V. Last / The Bulwark:
Bernie Could Beat Trump. Here's How.
Discussion: Washington Post and Raw Story
Devan Cole / CNN:
Andrew Yang joins CNN as a political commentator