1/ Fox News parted ways with Tucker Carlson, effective immediately. Carlson’s departure comes a week after Fox News settled Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million. Although Fox News said that the network and Carlson had “agreed to part ways,” Carlson found out he was fired about 10 minutes before the network announced his departure. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” Fox News said in a statement. Excluding sports, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the top rated prime-time show on cable TV. Carlson’s last broadcast aired Friday, and he ended the show by saying: “We’ll be back on Monday.” (NPR / CNN / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico)
2/ The Supreme Court protected full access to the most commonly used abortion pill in the U.S. In its first major abortion-related decision since overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court blocked a lower court’s ruling that had revoked the FDA’s approval of mifepristone after more than two decades. As a result, mifepristone will remain widely available while appeals play out. Two of the nine justices – Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – said they would have let part of District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s ruling to suspend the FDA’s approval of mifepristone take effect. (NBC News / CNN / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times)
3/ Chief Justice John Roberts declined to directly respond to a congressional request to investigate possible ethics violations by Justice Clarence Thomas. Instead, Roberts referred the request from Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin to the Judicial Conference. Durbin requested the investigation after a report found that Thomas had accepted luxury trips from a Republican megadonor for more than two decades. The trips were not disclosed on Thomas’ public financial filings. (CNN / Bloomberg)
4/ Trump’s legal team discussed using data from a breached Georgia voting machine to try and decertify the state’s 2021 U.S. Senate run-off election. In mid-January 2021, Jim Penrose, a former NSA official working with Sidney Powell, texted Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, which runs audits of voting systems: “Here’s the plan. Let’s keep this close hold. We only have until Saturday to decide if we are going to use this report to try to decertify the Senate run-off election or if we hold it for a bigger moment.” In Jan. 7, 2021, Trump allies and contractors working on his behalf copied sensitive software and data from voting equipment in Coffee County. The data was shared with several Trump allies and operatives, including Logan, Penrose, Powell and Rudy Giuliani. Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating the scheme to breach voting systems, has subpoenaed Penrose and Logan, as well as Powell and Giuliani. The Coffee County breach is also under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. (CNN)
5/ Florida’s surgeon general personally omitted information from a state study about Covid-19 vaccines last year to suggest that young men should not get vaccinated. Draft versions of the analysis show that Joseph Ladapo, a known Covid-19 vaccine skeptic, edited the document to say that men between 18 and 39 years old are at high risk of heart illness from Covid-19 vaccines that use mRNA technology – assertions that contradicted state data and go against guidance from the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics. The initial draft of the document stated that there was no significant risk associated with the Covid-19 vaccines for young men. Ladapo, who was appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2021 to head the Florida Department of Health, later used the altered analysis to recommend that young men should not get the Covid-19 vaccine. (Politico / Tampa Bay Times / Associated Press)
6/ The Supreme Court rejected appeals from oil and gas companies facing nearly two dozen lawsuits by state and local governments accusing them of contributing to climate change. The lawsuits were filed by Rhode Island, as well as municipalities or counties in Maryland, Colorado, California, and Hawaii. The companies wanted the cases moved to federal courts, which the justices refused. Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted that he would have taken up one of the cases, while Justice Samuel Alito did not participate because he owns stock in ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66. (NBC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post)
poll/ 68% of Republican voters stand behind Trump despite his indictment and the other investigations into his conduct, saying the investigations are a politically motivated attempt to stop him from being president again. (NBC News)
poll/ 51% of likely Republican primary voters prefer Trump to Ron DeSantis (38%) in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup. In December, Republican primary voters preferred DeSantis (52%) over Trump (38%). (Wall Street Journal)
poll/ 36% of young Americans approve of Biden’s performance – a drop of three percentage points since last fall (39%) and five percentage points since last spring (41%). (Harvard Youth Poll)
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