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1:00 AM ET, February 19, 2020


 Top Items: 
The Daily Beast:
Trump Got Tons of Campaign Cash Before Handing Out Pardon  —  “I watched his wife on television,” Trump said of his decision to pardon Blago after seeing his spouse on Fox.  The network seems to have influenced several of Tuesday's pardons.  —  President Donald Trump on Tuesday granted clemency …
Associated Press:
President Trump goes on clemency spree, and the list is long  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump went on a clemency blitz Tuesday, commuting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence and pardoning former New York City police commissioner Bernie Kerik, among a long list of others.
Discussion: The American Independent and VICE
Natasha Korecki / Politico:
I Covered Blago's Trial From Start To Finish.  Trump's Commutation Isn't Crazy.  —  CHICAGO - The day of Rod Blagojevich's sentencing in late 2011, I was a federal courts reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times.  I was also extremely pregnant, days from my due date.
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 …
The White House:
Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Executive Grants of Clemency
Eli Stokols / Los Angeles Times:
Trump grants clemency to 11, including former junk bond king Michael Milken
Discussion: Vox
Washington Post:
Barr has told those close to Trump he is considering quitting over the president's tweets about Justice Dept. investigations  —  Attorney General William P. Barr has told people close to President Trump — both inside and outside the White House — that he is considering quitting over Trump's tweets …
ABC News:
Barr mulls resigning over Trump's tweets: Sources  —  Barr previously said that Trump's tweets make it “impossible” to do his job.  —  Just hours after President Donald Trump openly defied his public pleas to stop tweeting about criminal matters in the Justice Department …
Associated Press:
AP source: Barr tells people he might quit over Trump tweets  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr has told people close to him he's considering quitting his post after President Donald Trump wouldn't heed his warning to stop tweeting about Justice Department cases, an administration official told The Associated Press.
Siobhan Hughes / Wall Street Journal:
Susan Collins Faces Tough Re-Election Race in Maine, Poll Suggests  —  Survey shows her slightly behind expected Democratic rival in November race  —  WASHINGTON—The polarized political climate is taking a toll on Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), who is facing a competitive race …
Rebecca Traister / New York Magazine:
The Immoderate Susan Collins After a long career voting across the aisle, why did the Maine …
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Dominic Holden / BuzzFeed News:
Mike Bloomberg Once Again Called Transgender People “It” And “Some Guy Wearing A Dress”  —  Bloomberg suggested transgender rights would sink Democratic campaigns in comments recorded last year in New York.  He's tried to distance himself from similar comments he made in 2016.
Matt Flegenheimer / New York Times:
Michael Bloomberg Has to Debate Without a Net
Discussion: Wall Street Journal and Contemptor
Gary He / Eater:
The Lavish Spreads of Mike Bloomberg's Food-Filled Campaign
Discussion: Vox, Vanity Fair, Townhall and Mother Jones
Molly Hensley-Clancy / BuzzFeed News:
Why Elizabeth Warren Got Dropped From A Poll Question About General Election Matchups  —  Elizabeth Warren was left out of a national poll question Tuesday that pitted Democratic candidates against Donald Trump, angering supporters who have protested that the media has erased her candidacy …
Discussion: Daily Kos, New York Times and The Week
Aaron Zitner / Wall Street Journal:   Sanders Leads Democratic Primary Field as Biden Slips, WSJ/NBC News Poll Finds
Michael Finnegan / Los Angeles Times:
Bernie Sanders takes wide lead in California primary, new poll finds
Discussion: The Hill and HuffPost
Mark Niquette / Bloomberg:
Bloomberg Campaign Says It's a Two-Man Race for the Nomination
Discussion: Twitchy
The Hill:
Limbaugh: Trump advised me to ‘never apologize’ for Buttigieg remarks  —  Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said President Trump advised him to “never apologize” for his comments on Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's sexuality.  —  Limbaugh said on his Monday show …
Zach Montellaro / Politico:
Buttigieg, Sanders separated by thousandths of a point after Iowa recanvass  —  Pete Buttigieg's already narrow state delegate equivalent lead over Bernie Sanders has reduced further, to less than a hundredth of a percentage point, after the Iowa Democratic Party announced the results …
Discussion: New York Times, The Hill and UPI
Alexandra Jaffe / Associated Press:   Bernie Sanders' campaign to request recount of Iowa caucuses
Jason Lange / Reuters:
Bloomberg has barbs at the ready, rivals see vulnerabilities
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.
U.S. Department of Justice:
Individual Arrested for Acting Within the U.S. on Behalf of the Russian Government Without Notifying the Attorney General  —  Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a Mexican citizen residing in Singapore, was arrested based on a Complaint charging him with acting within the United States on behalf …
Discussion: Raw Story and The Daily Beast
Jay Weaver / Miami Herald:   Mexican accused of being Russian agent after photographing U.S. informant's car in Miami
Will Doran / Raleigh News & Observer:
Another court blocks NC voter ID law, citing ‘racially discriminatory intent’  —  North Carolina's new voter ID law appears to have been enacted with racially discriminatory intent and will be at least temporarily blocked during the 2020 elections, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Elise Viebeck / Washington Post:
State appeals court temporarily blocks voter ID law in North Carolina
Discussion: The Hill
Michael Rezendes / Associated Press:
After learning of Whitey Bulger LSD tests, juror has regrets  —  EASTHAM, Mass. (AP) — One of the jurors who convicted notorious crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger says she regrets her decision after learning that he was an unwitting participant in a covert CIA experiment with LSD.
Mark Murray / NBC News:
NBC News/WSJ poll: Sanders opens up double-digit national lead in primary race  —  The Vermont senator's lead in the Democratic race comes as former Vice President Joe Biden's standing has dropped by 11 points since January.  —  LAS VEGAS — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has jumped …
ABC News:
Democrat Pete Buttigieg overstated pledges of support from black leaders, public figures  —  Polls show he faces an ongoing challenge finding support from voters of color  —  When Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg touted support from African American comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key …
Discussion: Fox News
Erik Larson / Bloomberg:
Trump Rape Accuser Slams Effort to Stall Her Defamation Case  — A stay would delay a request for a sample of Trump's DNA  — The president has denied raping or defaming E. Jean Carroll  —  A New York advice columnist who claims President Donald Trump raped her two decades ago asked …
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. …
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.
Leo Shane III / Military Times:
Veterans coalition condemns Trump's continued attacks on Army officer who testified against him  —  A coalition of more than 1,100 veterans on Tuesday condemned President Donald Trump for his continued attacks on an Army officer who testified against him in the impeachment inquiry …
Discussion: Raw Story
Bill Allison / Bloomberg:
Trump Backers Want Extra $1 Billion to Blunt Bloomberg Spending  — Campaign, party officials in talks about raising more money  — Bloomberg's spending could negate Trump's incumbent advantage  —  Members of President Donald Trump's re-election team and some of the GOP's biggest fundraisers …
Nolan D. McCaskill / Politico:
Klobuchar gets second chance to name Mexico's president  —  And she gets it right.  Mostly.  —  Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.  Alex Wong/Getty Images  —  For Amy Klobuchar, the second time may not be a charm.  But it might be good enough.
Discussion: Associated Press
Washington Post:
The Saudi crown prince has learned he can persecute Americans with no pushback from Trump or Pompeo  —  SECRETARY OF STATE Mike Pompeo's visit to Saudi Arabia beginning Wednesday probably will focus on the administration's continuing campaign against Iran.  But also on the agenda, a briefer said …
Charles Bethea / New Yorker:
The Party Raiders of South Carolina  —  Before the state's Democratic primary, on February 29th, a number of Republicans are trying to settle on the least electable candidate.  —  Twelve years ago, Rush Limbaugh, who had not yet received the Presidential Medal of Freedom …
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 More Items: 
Sarah Jones / New York Magazine:
This Obscure Foundation Helped Fund The Alt-Right
Julia Azari / Washington Post:
It's time to give the elites a bigger say in choosing the president
Vandana Rambaran / Fox News:
Pennsylvania Democrat apologizes for old pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton Facebook posts
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Stop-and-frisk under Michael Bloomberg led more black students to drop out, study shows
Discussion: Slate, VICE and Townhall
Nilesh Christopher / VICE:
We've Just Seen the First Use of Deepfakes in an Indian Election Campaign
Sean Davis / The Federalist:
So God Made A Bloomberg
 Earlier Items: 
The White House:
The Executive Branch
Discussion: Raw Story
WRAL News poll: 3 tied atop Democratic presidential field in NC
Discussion: FiveThirtyEight
Alex Kane / Jewish Currents:
The Rise and Fall of The Israel Project