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12:15 AM ET, February 20, 2020


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Trump Names Richard Grenell as Acting Head of Intelligence  —  The move places a loyalist atop the intelligence agencies that the president has long battled.  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday named Richard Grenell, a vocal loyalist who quickly antagonized the German establishment …
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.
Washington Post:
Trump to name Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany, as acting head of intelligence  —  President Trump plans to name Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, as the next acting director of national intelligence, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Discussion: TheBlaze and Fox News
Grant Stern / Occupy Democrats:   Trump names unqualified far-right political hack to nation's top intelligence job
Tobias Hoonhout / National Review:   Trump Taps Richard Grenell as Acting Intelligence Head
Trump taps fierce ally Grenell as top intelligence official
Discussion: Redstate
NBC News:
Live Blog / Las Vegas Democratic debate live updates: Six candidates face off in Nevada  —  Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg will take the stage for the first time.  —  The ninth Democratic presidential debate kicks off Wednesday night in Las Vegas, with five veteran debaters and one newcomer facing off on the stage.
Discussion: The Hill, Breitbart and CNET
Paul Steinhauser / Fox News:
Warren mocks Klobuchar over ‘Post-it Note’ health care plan
Discussion: NBC News and Breitbart
Nicole Narea / Vox:
Why Klobuchar and Buttigieg fought over the Mexican president's name
Discussion: The Week and Breitbart
Brian Schwartz / CNBC:   Several Joe Biden fundraisers jump ship from his struggling campaign to back Mike Bloomberg
Vandana Rambaran / Fox News:
Klobuchar asks Buttigieg at debate: 'Are you trying to say that I'm dumb?'
Discussion: NBC News and The Hill
Ezra Klein / Vox:
Bloomberg's plan to buy the presidency endangers democracy
Discussion: Politico, New York Post, Reason and CNN
Mike Allen / Axios:
Bloomberg camp's “dire” warning: Bernie Sanders will soon be unstoppable
Morgan Phillips / Fox News:
Trump slams Bloomberg at Arizona rally, pushing MAGA message during Dem debate
Discussion: Politico
Paul Steinhauser / Fox News:
Democracy 2020 Digest: Bloomberg wars with Biden ahead of debate debut
Discussion: Breitbart and Associated Press
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
Associated Press:
Democrats won't commit to same-day release of Nevada results  —  LAS VEGAS (AP) — Democrats won't commit to releasing the unofficial results of Saturday's Nevada caucuses on the day of the vote, as they emphasize accuracy over speed in the aftermath of the chaos surrounding the Iowa caucuses.
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: The Hill
Associated Press:   Harry Reid: Brokered convention ‘not the end of the world’
Republicans plead with Trump to leave Barr alone  —  Senate Republicans are mounting an urgent campaign to save Attorney General William Barr's job — fearful that his dismissal or resignation would deprive President Donald Trump of an effective enforcer of his agenda and hand the Senate a vacancy that's nearly impossible to fill.
Discussion: Associated Press and NBC News
Brian Beutler / Crooked Media:
House Democrats Stand Down
Washington Post:   White House assembles team of advisers to guide clemency process as Trump considers more pardons
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.
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
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
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 …
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 …
POLITICO Playbook: The Dem ad campaign aimed at taking down Bernie  —  DRIVING THE DAY  —  G'MORNING, and happy debate day.  —  A NEW CHAPTER in the Democrat-on-Democrat war inside the party will be on full display tonight in Las Vegas when the entire field goes to battle with MIKE BLOOMBERG.
Discussion: Washington Post, Breitbart and NB Blog
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 and Twitchy
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:
New York Times:
Wexner Is Expected to Step Down as Victoria's Secret Goes Private  —  Leslie H. Wexner's close ties with Jeffrey Epstein put him and his company under a microscope.  —  Leslie H. Wexner is expected to step down as the chief executive of L Brands, the retail empire he built with his purchase …
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: NBC News, Raw Story, HuffPost and Vox
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
Debra Heine / American Greatness:
K.T. McFarland Says Mueller Interrogators Put Her Through ‘Hell’ and Left Her ‘Traumatized’  —  Longtime Republican politico K.T. McFarland said in a radio interview Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team pressured her for “20, 30, 40 hours of hell” to either cop a plea or implicate …
Josh Dawsey / Washington Post:
In speech, Mulvaney says Republicans are hypocritical on deficits  —  Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday night that the Republican Party is hypocritical when it comes to deficits, according to audio of an overseas speech obtained by The Washington Post.
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 More Items: 
Louis Casiano / Fox News:
John Bolton pressed by Susan Rice on impeachment testimony at Vanderbilt event
Discussion: Associated Press
Rebecca Ballhaus / Wall Street Journal:
Trump Rewards Vulnerable Senators for Loyalty in Impeachment
Anita Kumar / Politico:
Trump seeks deal on foreign workers that could anger base
Discussion: Townhall
Julie Bosman / New York Times:
Rod Blagojevich Comes Home to Chicago, Defiant, ‘Bloody,’ Ready to Talk
Paul Bentz / HighGround:
HighGround Public Affairs Consultants
Discussion: Raw Story
Ian Lee / CBS News:
How Jewish American pedophiles hide from justice in Israel
Alfred Ng / CNET:
Why Rudy Giuliani's Twitter typos are a security fail
Discussion: Axios
 Earlier Items: 
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Nikki Haley poaches top conservative from Heritage Action
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
Siraj Qureshi / India Today:
Monkey menace at Taj Mahal could spoil Donald Trump's trip
Wall Street Journal:
China Expels Three Wall Street Journal Reporters