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5:10 PM ET, February 21, 2024


 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 …
Dominick Mastrangelo / The Hill:
Fox News co-host ‘surprised’ by GOP's ‘threshold for humiliation’ in Biden probe  —  Fox News co-host Jessica Tarlov mocked House Republicans on Wednesday for their pursuit of impeachment charges against President Biden.  —  “This is the path that they've chosen to take …
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.
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
10 Republicans who treated the Biden bribery claim like gospel  —  When we learned last week that the Justice Department had indicted the informant behind the severest claims against President Biden for allegedly lying about those claims, the House GOP impeachment leader, Rep. James Comer (Ky.), downplayed the news.
Arthur Delaney / HuffPost:
Republicans Delete Reference To FBI Informant From Impeachment Interview Request Letter  —  The indictment of an FBI informant for fabricating a bribery allegation against Joe Biden has blown a hole in the impeachment case against the president.  —  LOADING
Mike Wendling / BBC:
Alexander Smirnov: FBI source accused of Biden lies ‘linked to Russian intelligence’
Sarah K. Burris / Raw Story:   Republicans rush to delete any reference to Biden impeachment informant accused of lying
NBC News:
Nikki Haley sides with Alabama Supreme Court on IVF ruling: ‘Embryos, to me, are babies’  —  The Alabama court's recent ruling raised concerns among doctors and patients worried that classifying embryos as children could restrict in-vitro fertilization.  —  NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. …
Amy Yurkanin /
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.
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.
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.
Student loan balances wiped for the first batch of borrowers in Biden's SAVE plan
Michael Stratford / Politico:
Biden will email 153,000 student loan borrowers: I'm canceling your debt
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.
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 …
Alex Isenstadt / Politico:
Trump says long VP shortlist includes Tim Scott, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy
David Corn / Mother Jones:
The Great Forgotten Betrayal of the Trump Years  —  Donald Trump's weird relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia is back in the news.  But something big is missing.  —  After his remarks earlier this month encouraging the Russian leader/war criminal to invade NATO countries …
Discussion: Digby's Hullabaloo
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.
Discussion: Mediaite and Raw Story
Molly Hennessy-Fiske / Washington Post:
Okla. nonbinary teen died after school fight amid reported bullying  —  What is known with certainty in Owasso, Okla., is that a 16-year-old is dead.  —  Nex Benedict collapsed the day after an altercation in a girls' bathroom at the public high school they attended, a school where relatives …
Maggie Astor / New York Times:
Sidney Powell and Other Trump-Aligned Lawyers Will Face Legal Penalties  —  The Supreme Court declined to take up an appeal by a group of lawyers who challenged the 2020 election results in Michigan.  —  Sidney Powell, L. Lin Wood and several other lawyers who advanced former President …
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 …
Dasha Litvinova / Associated Press:
How the Kremlin weaponized Russian history — and has used it to justify the war in Ukraine  —  Earlier this month, when Tucker Carlson asked Vladimir Putin about his reasons for invading Ukraine two years ago, Putin gave him a lecture on Russian history.  The 71-year-old Russian leader spent …
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 …
Discussion: Bloomberg
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 and Above the Law
Josh Fiallo / The Daily Beast:
Florida School Rocked by More Cases of Measles as Parents Skip Vax  —  Eleven other states have reported measles cases this year, but no area has been hit as hard as South Florida.  —  An elementary school in Florida has been hit with a measles outbreak that's made six students sick …
Rachel Frazin / The Hill:
Appeals court tosses Obama-era federal coal leasing moratorium  —  A federal appeals court on Wednesday axed an Obama-era moratorium on new coal mine leasing on public lands.  —  It did so by overturning a ruling from 2022 that revived the Obama-era freeze on auctioning off federally owned lands for coal mining.
Helen Holmes / The Daily Beast:
Diddy Fires Back at Gang Rape Lawsuit: ‘Entirely Fictional’  —  In a new court filing, Diddy denies “any misconduct, sexual or otherwise.”  —  In new court documents filed this week, attorneys for rapper and music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs denied claims made in a lawsuit last year that Combs gang-raped a 17-year-old girl.
Will Sommer / Washington Post:
A reporter investigated neo-Nazis.  Then they came to his house in masks.  —  The chilling visit to Raw Story reporter Jordan Green's home represents an increasingly common tactic by extremist groups  —  Jordan Green reports on extremists for the news website Raw Story …
Zack Budryk / The Hill:
Chicago sues oil companies for impacts of climate change  —  The city of Chicago on Tuesday sued six major oil companies and the primary fossil fuel lobbying group, alleging they funded and planned a campaign of climate change denial that directly affects the city's residents.
Brian Cheung / NBC News:
Consumers are tired of price increases.  Big brands are paying attention.  —  Even Walmart lowered the price of its French bread back to $1, but consumers shouldn't expect broad-based cuts across the economy.  —  Until recently, Brooke Benson considered herself a Panera Bread loyalist.
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 More Items: 
Steph Solis / Axios:
Biden admin commits $100M for women's health research
Discussion: Associated Press and abc7NY
Presidents Can Save or Destroy a Country
Laura Strickler / NBC News:
Tennessee firm illegally employed minors to clean meat saws, head splitters at slaughterhouses, Labor Dept. says
Discussion: CBS News and BizPac Review
 Earlier Items: 
Matthew Yglesias / Slow Boring:
The high cost of promoting homeownership
Sarah Fortinsky / The Hill:
Former CNN anchor John Avlon announces bid for Congress
Jason Wilson / The Guardian:
Ron DeSantis ally Chris Rufo has close ties with ‘dissident right’ magazine
Discussion: Raw Story
Julia Mueller / The Hill:
GOP chances of winning the Senate on the rise
Discussion: The Ripon Society and RedState

From Techmeme:

Meta says it is testing its Meta AI chatbot with WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger users in India and parts of Africa

Ken Yeung / VentureBeat:
Elon Musk's xAI previews Grok-1.5 Vision, its first multimodal model, and says the AI model will be available soon to “early testers and existing Grok users”

Wes Davis / The Verge:
Bluesky says it is now allowing heads of state to sign up, and adds features including hashtags in profile bios and the ability to long press a link to share

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