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7:30 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 …
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: Fox News, UPI, TheBlaze and Associated Press
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.
Grant Stern / Occupy Democrats:
Trump names unqualified far-right political hack to nation's top intelligence job
Discussion: The Week
Trump taps fierce ally Grenell as top intelligence official
Discussion: Redstate
Tobias Hoonhout / National Review:   Trump Taps Richard Grenell as Acting Intelligence Head
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.
Robert A. George / New York Daily News:
Woman with a plan: Elizabeth Warren mounts a comeback — at Mike Bloomberg's expense  —  “I have a plan” was Elizabeth Warren's rallying cry for the better part of 2019 when she rose to the top of the Democratic primary.  For a variety of reasons, her campaign faltered as the year drew …
New York Times:
6 Takeaways From the Democratic Debate in Nevada  —  Bloomberg was on the defensive, Warren carved up her opponents and Klobuchar and Buttigieg tried to take each other down.  The fiery debate signals a harsher campaign as Super Tuesday looms.  —  LAS VEGAS — Phew.  That was a debate.
Discussion: Politico, Washington Post and The Week
Bloomberg takes a beating, Sanders defends socialism in fiery debate  —  Democrats came out hot in Las Vegas on Wednesday with a new target onstage: Mike Bloomberg.  —  For the first time since his late entry into the race and after a $400 million ad campaign, Bloomberg faced five …
Paul Steinhauser / Fox News:
Warren mocks Klobuchar over ‘Post-it Note’ health care plan  —  LAS VEGAS - Sen. Elizabeth Warren took a sledgehammer to the health care plans of three of her Democratic presidential nomination rivals at Wednesday night's debate.  —  The progressive senator from Massachusetts derided …
ABC News:   Here are the five takeaways from the fiery Las Vegas debate
Josh Greenman / New York Daily News:
With the exception of that one exchange, Bloomberg's debate performance was good enough
Discussion: NBC News, CNN and Vox
Nicole Narea / Vox:
Why Klobuchar and Buttigieg fought over the Mexican president's name
Discussion: The Week and Breitbart
Vandana Rambaran / Fox News:
Klobuchar asks Buttigieg at debate: 'Are you trying to say that I'm dumb?'
Andrew O'Reilly / Fox News:
Warren unloads on Bloomberg: ‘A billionaire who calls women fat broads’
Discussion: Politico
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 …
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 …
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
Washington Post:
White House assembles team of advisers to guide clemency process as Trump considers more pardons  —  The White House is moving to take more direct control over pardons and commutations, with President Trump aiming to limit the role of the Justice Department in the clemency process as he weighs …
Discussion: Just Security
New York Times:
The 11 Criminals Granted Clemency by Trump Had One Thing in Common: Connections
Discussion: The B|E note
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
Discussion: The Hill
Associated Press:   Harry Reid: Brokered convention ‘not the end of the world’
Jonathan Mattise / Associated Press:
Bolton: Testimony wouldn't have changed impeachment outcome  —  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former national security adviser John Bolton on Wednesday denounced the House's impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump as “grossly partisan” and said his testimony would not have changed Trump's acquittal …
Discussion: Mediaite, ABC News and The Week
Louis Casiano / Fox News:   John Bolton pressed by Susan Rice on impeachment testimony at Vanderbilt event
Brian Beutler / Crooked Media:
House Democrats Stand Down
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
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.
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 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.
David M. Drucker / Washington Examiner:
The Republicans' 2020 plan to turn every Democrat into a ‘Bernie Bro’  —  The Republican Party is putting Bernie Sanders at the center of every 2020 campaign, with senior GOP strategists confident the socialist front-runner for the Democratic nomination is the ticket to a November sweep, whether he is the nominee or not.
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
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 …
Sirajuddin Haqqani / New York Times:
What the Taliban Want  —  I am convinced that the killing and the maiming must stop, the deputy leader of the Taliban writes.  —  Mr. Haqqani is the deputy leader of the Taliban.  —  When our representatives started negotiating with the United States in 2018, our confidence that the talks would yield results was close to zero.
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 More Items: 
Matt Bruenig / People's Policy Project:
Bloomberg Is Wealthier Than The Bottom 125 Million Americans
Discussion: Raw Story
George Conway / Washington Post:
Trump's pardons are impulsive expressions of his spite
New York Times:
Wexner Is Expected to Step Down as Victoria's Secret Goes Private
Discussion: CNBC
Morgan Phillips / Fox News:
Trump slams Bloomberg at Arizona rally, pushing MAGA message during Dem debate
Rebecca Ballhaus / Wall Street Journal:
Trump Rewards Vulnerable Senators for Loyalty in Impeachment
Debra Heine / American Greatness:
K.T. McFarland Says Mueller Interrogators Put Her Through ‘Hell’ and Left Her ‘Traumatized’
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
 Earlier Items: 
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
Jonah Goldberg / The Dispatch:
Does Anyone Really Believe Free Market Fundamentalists Are ‘Running the Show’?
Rainesford Stauffer /
Meet the Women Moderators of Tonight's Debate, Hallie Jackson and Vanessa Hauc
Discussion: Raw Story, NBC News, HuffPost and Vox
Brandy Zadrozny / NBC News:
What is the ‘boogaloo?’ How online calls for a violent uprising are hitting the mainstream
Discussion: Twitchy and Raw Story