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2:15 PM ET, February 21, 2024

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 Top Items: 
David Kurtz / Talking Points Memo:
Russia's Staggering Success In Duping Willing Republicans And Right Wing Media  —  A lot of things happened.  Here are some of the things.  This is TPM's Morning Memo.  —  The Plot Thickens  —  The former FBI informant charged with fabricating the Burisma bribery story about President Biden …
Discussion: Raw Story, emptywheel and Politico
RELATED:
Ewan Palmer / Newsweek:
Jim Jordan Is in Deep Trouble  —  Ohio congressman Jim Jordan could face major repercussions over the Republican attempt to impeach Joe Biden after a former FBI informant charged with making false bribery claims against the president was accused of using Russian intelligence, legal experts suggest.
Politico:
Playbook: The Biden impeachment's latest big blow
Discussion: Raw Story and The Federalist
Associated Press:
Ex-FBI informant charged with lying about Bidens had Russian intelligence contacts, prosecutors say
Summer Concepcion / NBC News:
President's brother, James Biden, testifies behind closed doors in impeachment probe
Brett Samuels / The Hill:
Biden cancels student debt for 150K borrowers  —  The Biden administration announced Wednesday it is forgiving a total of $1.2 billion in student debt for roughly 153,000 borrowers.  —  The relief comes through the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan, which made changes …
RELATED:
The White House:
FACT SHEET: President Biden Cancels Student Debt for more than 150,000 Student Loan Borrowers Ahead of Schedule  —  Today, President Biden announced the approval of $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 153,000 borrowers currently enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs / New York Times:
Biden Cancels $1.2 Billion in Student Loan Debt for 150,000 Borrowers
Justin Sink / Bloomberg:
Biden Cancels $1.2 Billion of Federal Student Loans
Washington Post:
Trump and allies plotting militarized mass deportations, detention camps  —  As president, Trump sought to use military planes and bases for deportation.  Now, he and his allies are talking about a new effort that current and former officials warn could be impractical and dangerous.
RELATED:
Washington Post:
Shock, anger, confusion grip Alabama after court ruling on embryos  —  Alabama doctors are puzzled over whether they will have to make changes to in vitro fertilization procedures.  Couples have crammed into online support groups wondering if they should transfer frozen embryos out of state.
RELATED:
Amy Yurkanin / al.com:
Fearing prosecution, UAB pauses in vitro fertilization after Alabama embryo court ruling  —  The University of Alabama at Birmingham health system has paused in vitro fertilization procedures following an Alabama Supreme Court decision due to fear of criminal prosecution and lawsuits, a spokeswoman said.
Lauren Irwin / The Hill:
Trump confirms names on VP shortlist: 'They're all good, they're all solid'  —  Former President Trump confirmed a list of names floated to be on his vice presidential shortlist Tuesday, during a town hall event in Greenville, S.C.  —  Trump joined Fox News Channel's Laura Ingraham to discuss …
RELATED:
Alex Isenstadt / Politico:
Trump says long VP shortlist includes Tim Scott, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy
Harvard University President:
The Antisemitic Cartoon  —  Dear Members of the Harvard Community,  —  A few groups purporting to speak on behalf of Harvard affiliates recently circulated a flagrantly antisemitic cartoon in a post on social media channels.  The cartoon, included in a longer post, depicted what appeared …
Andrew Solender / Axios:
Scoop: House Democrat floats Mike Johnson protection measure … - The resolution, authored by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), would require Democratic or Republican party leadership to sanction any vote to vacate the speaker's chair, according to a copy obtained by Axios.
RELATED:
Jennifer Haberkorn / Politico:
White House uses GOP recess as tool to hammer inaction on Ukraine aid  —  A new memo offers a “vacation reading” list of potential threats if a defense funding bill is not approved.  —  The White House ratcheted up its onslaught on House Republican leadership, criticizing them for going on …
RELATED:
Philip Bump / Washington Post:
Sean Hannity and the case of the sawdust ‘cocaine’  —  A central tenet of Sean Hannity's on-air rhetoric over the past few years has been that the federal government — and, specifically, federal law enforcement — is not reliable.  —  After all, how else to wave away the various indictments of his friend and ally Donald Trump?
Lauren Weber / Washington Post:
Tax records reveal the lucrative world of covid misinformation  —  Four major nonprofits that rose to prominence during the coronavirus pandemic by capitalizing on the spread of medical misinformation collectively gained more than $118 million between 2020 and 2022, enabling the organizations …
Amanda Marcotte / Salon:
Donald Trump may not believe in God, but he still plans to turn America into a Christian theocracy  —  Like any cult leader, Trump's goal is to get power — and the religious right is ready to take advantage  —  If there were only some way to prove it, I would happily bet everything I own that Donald Trump does not believe in God.
Brandi Buchman / Law & Crime:
Mar-a-Lago judge denies Trump's request to file briefs together in documents case, orders slower, one-by-one pace instead  —  The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump's indictment for allegedly illegally retaining classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida has denied a request …
Discussion: Raw Story
Jason Wilson / The Guardian:
Ron DeSantis ally Chris Rufo has close ties with ‘dissident right’ magazine  —  Relationship with IM-1776 that praises dictators, racist ideologues and attacks liberal democracy is collaborative and supportive  —  Chris Rufo, a rightwing culture-war celebrity and close Ron DeSantis ally …
Discussion: Raw Story
Sarah Fortinsky / The Hill:
Former CNN anchor John Avlon announces bid for Congress  —  Former CNN anchor John Avlon announced a bid Wednesday for New York's first congressional district, claiming “democracy is in danger.”  —  In a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Avlon said he was running to help preserve democracy …
Tobias Burns / The Hill:
IRS to ramp up audits of private jet usage  —  The Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday it's ramping up audits of corporate jets to collect more in unpaid taxes as part of its push to increase enforcement on wealthier taxpayers.  —  The tax collection agency will conduct three dozen …
Discussion: U.S. Government …
Judd Legum / Popular Information:
Nex Benedict matters  —  Judd Legum, Tesnim Zekeria, and Rebecca Crosby  —  Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old Oklahoma sophomore, died on February 8.  Nex, who was non-binary, was attacked in an Owasso High School bathroom the previous day, sustaining serious head injuries.
Taylor Giorno / The Hill:
More than 400 Starbucks workers at 21 stores seek to join union  —  More than 400 workers at 21 Stabucks locations filed petitions Tuesday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to join the Starbucks Workers United union.  —  This was the largest single-day filing of the campaign …
Matthew Yglesias / Slow Boring:
The high cost of promoting homeownership  —  It's individually rational, but collectively dysfunctional … According to the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, the median American household had a net worth of $192,700 in 2022, only $38,840 of which were financial assets.
Lisa Needham / Public Notice:
The Fani Willis mess, explained  —  It ultimately serves as a reminder that the courts can't save us. … While Trump continues to face 91 criminal charges and considerable financial liabilities from his losses in civil cases, a significant sideshow has developed in Georgia.
Discussion: Mercury News and Washington Post
Politico:
Mike Johnson invoked God in a GOP presentation on keeping the majority.  It didn't land well.  —  The speaker delivered a presentation that, while ostensibly about holding the majority this fall, took a notably moral turn, according to two people in the room.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Laura Strickler / NBC News:
Tennessee firm illegally employed minors to clean meat saws, head splitters at slaughterhouses, Labor Dept. says
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Tobias Burns / The Hill:
Trump tax cuts on the line in 2024 election
Drew Allen / American Greatness:
Putin Killed Navalny But Biden is Killing America
 Earlier Items: 
Zack Budryk / The Hill:
Chicago sues oil companies for impacts of climate change
Julia Mueller / The Hill:
GOP chances of winning the Senate on the rise
Discussion: The Ripon Society and RedState
Politico:
‘Exhibit A for term limits’: Some Democrats question Rep. David Scott's reelection bid
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
Trump's G.O.P. Is a Confederacy of Fakers
Discussion: Vanity Fair, DCCC and Washingtonian
ABC News:
Letitia James says she's prepared to seize Trump's buildings if he can't pay his $354M civil fraud fine
 

 
From Mediagazer:

Michael Msika / Bloomberg:
PE firm Blackstone offers ~$1.5B to purchase Hipgnosis, about 7% higher than the bid made earlier this week by Concord to which Hipgnosis' board had agreed

Clara Aberneithie / Press Gazette:
A look at The Cool Down, a climate-focused news outlet that makes $5M in programmatic advertising per year and aims to increase it to $12M per year in 2025

Stephanie Kaloi / The Wrap:
New York passes a first-of-its-kind employment tax credit plan to support independent news outlets in the state, offering $30M in yearly credits for three years

 
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