1/ Trump won't hire two attorneys who were supposed to join his legal team after all. The appointments were announced last week, but Trump's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement that "conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team." He added: "Those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters." (New York Times)

2/ Trump's personal legal team is down to one member as he struggles to find lawyers willing to represent him. Jay Sekulow is the only personal lawyer for Trump working full time on Robert Mueller's investigation. He is assisted by Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer paid by taxpayers to represent the institution of the presidency rather than Trump personally. John Dowd, who had been leading the team handling the Russia inquiry, resigned last week after strategy disputes with Trump, while Marc Kasowitz's role was reduced after a series of clashes with Trump over the summer. Emmet Flood, the lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment process, said he will not represent Trump if Kasowitz has any role on the team, and another, Theodore Olson, declined to represent Trump. (New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ Trump expects to "make one or two major changes to his government very soon," according to Trump's friend Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax. "He told me he thinks the White House is operating like a smooth machine – his words," said Ruddy, and that Trump is "perplexed by all these reports that there’s chaos at the White House or mass staff changes." (ABC News)

4/ Stormy Daniels said she was threatened not to speak about her affair with Trump, Daniels told Anderson Cooper during her 60 Minutes interview. She also discussed statements and denials she previously made about the affair. After the interview aired, Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen sent Daniels a "cease and desist" letter, demanding that she stop speaking out about her relationship with Trump. (CBS News / Reuters)

5/ Trump "does not" believe Stormy Daniels was threatened and that "there is nothing to corroborate her claim," according to White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah. "The president doesn't believe any of the claims Ms. Daniels made in the interview last night were accurate." (Bloomberg / Politico)

  • The attorney for Stormy Daniels said Trump hasn't tweeted about Daniels because he knows her allegations of an affair are true. After 61 weeks in the White House and more than 2,900 tweets, Trump hasn't attacked two people on Twitter: Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model. (Politico / New York Times)

6/ Stormy Daniels accused Michael Cohen of defaming her by implying that she lied about her affair with Trump. "Just because something isn’t true doesn't mean that it can't cause you harm or damage," Cohen said in a mid-February statement. "I will always protect Mr. Trump." Daniels amended her existing lawsuit against Trump, adding Trump's personal attorney as a defendant in the case, and charging that the confidentiality agreement was illegal, because Trump never signed it. The new complaint also says Cohen's $130,000 payment exceeded federal campaign contribution laws and was never reported. (Washington Post / Politico)

7/ A government watchdog group accused Cambridge Analytica of violating federal election laws in a pair of legal complaints filed with the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice. The laws prohibit foreigners from participating directly or indirectly in the decision-making process of U.S. political campaigns. Cambridge Analytica sent dozens of non-U.S. citizens to provide campaign strategy and messaging advice to Republican candidates in 2014. The complaints were filed by Common Cause. (ABC News / Washington Post)

  • A government watchdog group has filed 30 ethics complaints with the White House and various federal agencies alleging that employees are working in violation of Trump's executive order intended to "drain the swamp" and keep the government free of former lobbyists. Public Citizen identified 36 lobbyists who'd been tapped for government jobs dealing with issues they'd lobbied on, and only six of those appointees have received waivers since then. (NBC News)

8/ The Federal Trade Commission confirmed that it's opened a non-public investigation into Facebook for its user privacy practices. Shares of Facebook fell as much as 6% after the FTC announced it is investigating the company's data practices in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica leak of 50 million users' information. (Axios / CNBC)

poll/ 69% of Americans support tougher gun control laws, up from 55% when the question was first asked in October of 2013. While 60% believe that making it harder to legally obtain a gun would result in fewer mass shootings, only 42% expect elected officials to take action. (Associated Press)

poll/ 62% of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. 32% say they think things will get better while 45% expect things to get worse. (Associated Press)

poll/ 42% of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency, 54% disapprove. It is Trump's highest approval rating since the 100-day mark of his presidency. (CNN)


Notables.

  1. The U.S. will expel 60 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil. The Russian consulate in Seattle will also be closed as part of the response. (NBC News)

  2. George Papadopoulos was encouraged to improve relations with Russia because it was a top foreign policy goal of the campaign. Emails turned over to investigators, show Papadopoulos had more contact with key Trump campaign and transition officials than has been publicly acknowledged. (Washington Post)

  3. Andrew McCabe: "Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way." … Trump's cruelty reminded me of the days immediately following the firing of James B. Comey, as the White House desperately tried to push the falsehood that people in the FBI were celebrating the loss of our director. The president’s comments about me were equally hurtful and false, which shows that he has no idea how FBI people feel about their leaders. (Washington Post)

  4. Kim Jong-Un made a surprise visit to Beijing. It was his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011. (Bloomberg)

  5. Jimmy Carter: John Bolton as his new national security adviser is "the worst mistake" Trump has made. Bolton will be Trump's third national security adviser since taking office. (CBS News)

  6. Ryan Zinke told Interior Department employees that diversity isn't important and won't be a department focus. Instead, Zinke has told employees that he's looking for "the right person for the right job." (CNN)

  7. Zinke has appointed 15 representatives of the outdoor recreation industry to advise him on how to operate public lands, including three people who were flagged as potentially having a conflict of interest. (Washington Post)

  8. Hundreds of thousands of people joined the Parkland survivors in Washington to "March for Our Lives" while Trump spent the day at the Trump International Golf Club. The White House released a statement saying "We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today." Thousands more rallied at about 800 sister marches around the country and abroad, where students, like those in the capital, called for gun control and pledged to exercise their political power in the midterm elections this fall. (New York Times)

  9. An NRA representative to the Parkland students: "No one would know your names" if a gunman hadn't killed three staff members and 14 students at their school. The comment came on the eve of the March for Our Lives protest. (Washington Post)

  10. Rick Santorum said kids calling for stricter gun control measures should take CPR classes instead of protesting. "How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem," Santorum said, "do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that." (CNN)

  11. Remington, the oldest gun manufacturer in the US, filed for bankruptcy in the wake of slumping sales in order to cut a deal with its creditors. (BBC)

  12. Trump issued orders to ban transgender troops who require surgery or "substantial" medical treatment from serving in the military except in select cases. LGBTQ advocates called the decision "appalling, reckless and unpatriotic." (Politico)