1/ Paul Manafort "repeatedly and brazenly" broke the law and the "crimes he engaged in while on bail were not minor; they went to the heart of the criminal justice system," according Robert Mueller's 800-page court filing. Manafort's sentence should reflect the "gravity of his conduct," prosecutors wrote in the unsealed filing, which includes a note from Mueller indicating that federal sentencing guidelines suggest Manafort should receive a sentence of 17 to 22 years in prison. Mueller also said Manafort engaged in a "bold" string of criminal actions and an extensive pattern of deceit that "remarkably went unabated even after indictment." (CNBC / Washington Post / Associated Press / Axios / ABC News / CNN)

2/ Trump asked his outside legal team to stay on after the Mueller probe ends to help with the Southern District of New York investigation, which Trump's close allies consider a far graver threat than Mueller. Trump Jr., meanwhile, dismissed both the Mueller investigation and the Southern District of New York probe, claiming that Trump, the Trump Organization, and the Trump family "don't appear all that worried, because we know there's nothing there." Separately, the Trump Organization asked the House Judiciary Committee to stop its investigations related to the company, claiming a conflict of interest because the panel hired a lawyer whose firm once represented Trump's company. (Daily Beast / Fox News / Washington Post)

  • House Democrats are planning to investigate Trump's personal finances to discover why Deutsche Bank was willing to lend to the Trump Organization when other banks wouldn't, and whether Russia was involved. (Politico)

  • The House Intelligence Committee will subpoena the special counsel's final report and compel Mueller to testify if the full report is not given to Congress. During his confirmation hearing last month, William Barr said he would "provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law" when it comes to releasing the Mueller report. "We will obviously subpoena the report," Adam Schiff said. "We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress; we will take it to court if necessary. And in the end, I think the (Justice) Department understands they’re going to have to make this public." (ABC News / Reuters / Politico / Washington Post)

  • Michael Cohen will be questioned by the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. Cohen will not be questioned about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election or about possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, but he is expected to be questioned about Trump's "debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election" and his "compliance with campaign finance laws." (Washington Post / NBC News)

3/ A bipartisan group of 58 former national security officials will issue a joint statement denouncing Trump's national emergency declaration. "There is no factual basis" for Trump to proclaim a national emergency in order to build his border wall, the statement says. The statement comes a day before the House is expected to vote on a measure to block Trump's declaration. Trump, meanwhile, warned Republican senators to not "get led down the path of weak and ineffective Border Security." (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times)

  • Ex-GOP lawmakers urge Republicans to block Trump's emergency declaration (The Hill)

  • New Mexico governor says she withdrew border troops because there was no 'real emergency' (The Hill)

4/ The White House will select a group of federal scientists to challenge the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions and burning of fossil fuels are driving global warming. The panel is an initiative of the National Security Council and will not be subject to the same level of public disclosure as formal advisory committees, which are required to meet in public, are subject to public records requests, and require representative membership. (Washington Post)

5/ Trump delayed his own deadline to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, citing "substantial progress" in talks between the two countries. The increase from 10% to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods was scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. EST on March 2nd. The two sides have not signed an official agreement and the White House has not released details on any agreements, but Trump suggested the possibility of a "signing summit" with Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. (New York Times / ABC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

6/ Trump expects a "very tremendous summit" with Kim Jong-un later this week, but would be "happy" if North Korea maintains a moratorium on nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles that has been in place since November 2017. Trump added that he is in "no rush" to see North Korea denuclearize. (Washington Post / The Guardian / New York Times)

7/ A former Trump campaign staffer is suing Trump of forcibly kissing her on the mouth prior to an August 2016 rally in Florida. Alva Johnson alleges that Trump grabbed her hand and forcibly kissed her without her consent inside an RV, which she described as "super-creepy and inappropriate." Sarah Sanders, meanwhile, dismissed the allegation, saying: "This never happened." (Washington Post / Politico / CNN)


Notables.

  1. Russian state television aired a list of U.S. military facilities that Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear war and noted that Russia is developing hypersonic missiles that would be able to hit those targets in less than five minutes. The targets include the Pentagon and the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland. The unusually aggressive broadcast comes just days after Putin said Russia was ready for a "Cuban Missile"-style standoff with the United States if Washington deploys intermediate-range nuclear missiles in western Europe. (Reuters)

  2. The Taliban and American diplomats are scheduled to begin the highest-level negotiations yet to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan. The talks will be held in Doha, Qatar, and will focus on working out the details of an agreement both sides said they reached in principle last month, which includes the Taliban agreeing to keep Afghan territory from becoming a haven for terrorists if the U.S. moves toward a withdrawal of American forces from the country. (New York Times)

  3. New Defense Department security measures could put the accuracy of the 2020 census "at risk." The new guidance will now count deployed troops as residents of the military installations where they're usually stationed, instead of using the addresses provided when they enlisted. 15% of all overseas service members, with most stationed abroad, and the 2020 census will direct hundreds of billions of federal tax dollars to local communities over the next decade. (NPR)

  4. The average tax refund this year is down 17% with the typical refund totaling $2,703, compared to $3,256 during the same period last year. (Politico)

  5. Most economists expect the U.S. to enter a recession by the end of 2021. 10% believe a recession began this year, while 42% project one next year, and 25% expect a contraction starting in 2021. (Bloomberg)

  6. Trump accused Spike Lee of a "racist hit" against him for urging people to vote in the 2020 elections. Lee's comments to "mobilize" and "be on the right side of history" came during his Oscar acceptance speech for the best adapted screenplay for "BlacKkKlansman," a movie about an African American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. (Washington Post / NBC News)

  7. GOP donors are worried that Trump doesn't have a strategy to win reelection. In particular, donors are concerned how Trump intends to win in Rust Belt states that swung to Democrats in the midterms. (Politico)

  8. Trump will host a Fourth of July "salute to America" at the Lincoln Memorial, which will include a "major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!" (New York Times)


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