1/ Mitch McConnell will step down as the Senate Republican leader in November. The 82-year-old is the longest-serving Senate leader in history and has faced a series of recent health issues, including a concussion, a fall that required him to use a wheelchair periodically to get around, and at least two episodes where he momentarily froze in front of the media. Aides, however, said McConnell’s announcement was unrelated to his health. “One of life’s most under appreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” McConnell said. “So I stand before you today […] to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.” McConnell’s legacy includes blocking Obama from filling a vacant Supreme Court seat in 2016 with Merrick Garland. The decision directly led to the confirmation of three Trump-nominated Supreme Court justices – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – creating the most right-leaning court in nearly a century, which went on to overturn Roe v. Wade in June 2022, ending the national right to abortion. McConnell also helped guide 234 Trump-appointed judicial nominees to the bench, shifting the balance of the judiciary towards conservatives for the next generation. McConnell has called the Garland decision “the single most consequential thing I’ve ever done.” [Editor’s note: So long snake!] (Associated Press / NPR / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether Trump is immune from prosecution for conspiring to overturn the 2020 election to remain in power. Arguments are set for the week of April 22 – a schedule that would permit a ruling with enough time for a trial before the November election – to consider an unanimous appeals court ruling, which rejected Trump’s assertion that he’s immune from federal prosecution for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Trump has repeatedly argued that his actions related to the Jan. 6 insurrection were part of his “official” duties as president and he therefore can’t be prosecuted without first being impeached and convicted by Congress. Since the Senate acquitted Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, Trump has claimed he’s now subject to “double jeopardy.” He faces four felony counts brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, including conspiring to defraud the U.S., conspiring to obstruct the formal certification in Congress of Biden’s victory, obstructing a congressional proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Axios / New York Times / CNBC / CNN / Politico / NPR / NBC News)

3/ A New York judge ordered Trump to pay his full $454 million civil fraud penalty before he can proceed with an appeal. Trump had offered to post a $100 million bond to temporarily delay the judgement, arguing that the lending ban in the Feb. 16 verdict made it “impossible” to secure a bond for the “complete” amount. Trump’s lawyers also noted that if he’s forced to put up a bond for the entire amount, “properties would likely need to be sold to raise capital under exigent circumstances” to raise the money. Judge Anil Singh, however, denied Trump’s request to delay paying the full amount while he appeals. Trump has until March 25 to post the full bond to pause collection so he can appeal, or he’ll be forced to pay the monetary penalty or risk having some of his assets seized. (CNBC / CNN / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

4/ Biden and Trump won their party’s Michigan primary elections, but Biden faced opposition from voters over his support for Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. More than 100,000 voters – about 13% – marked “uncommitted” on their ballot in the Democratic primary as part of a pressure campaign to have Biden call for a permanent, unconditional ceasefire in Gaza. Biden won Michigan in 2020 by about 154,000 votes, while Trump carried the state in 2016 by about 11,000 votes. About 20,000 Democrats voted “uncommitted” in each of the last three Michigan Democratic presidential primaries. There are about 200,000 registered voters in Michigan who identified as Muslim, and about 300,000 identify as Middle Eastern or North African. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Associated Press / CNN)

5/ Israel and Hamas both rejected Biden’s optimism that a hostage-for-ceasefire deal in Gaza could come as soon as next week. Hamas continues to demand that Israel agree to a permanent ceasefire and to withdraw all of its troops from Gaza before they’ll release the remaining hostages, while Israel has called the demand “delusional” and insists that it will continue fighting “until total victory.” More than 29,900 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, with more than 70,300 injured, and thousands more missing and presumed dead. About 80% of the enclave’s population has been displaced. The U.N., meanwhile, warned that one in four people – about 575,000 people – in the Gaza Strip are “one step away” from starvation. (Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / New York Times / Bloomberg)

6/ Congress reached a deal to extend government funding for one week and avoid a partial shutdown. The agreement would extend funding for six agencies –Agriculture, Commerce, Justice and Science, Energy and Water, Interior, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development – until March 8. The deal also extends the deadline for the other six agencies – Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Financial Services, State and Foreign Ops, and Legislative Branch – through March 22. Although there is bipartisan agreement, the House and Senate still need to pass the stopgap measure by Friday night. (Politico / CNN / Bloomberg / Axios / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

7/ Senate Republicans blocked passage of a bill to protect access to in vitro fertilization nationwide following the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are children. Sen. Tammy Duckworth brought up the bill under unanimous consent – a procedure that allows any one senator to object – but it was blocked by Cindy Hyde-Smith, who called the legislation “a vast overreach.” Senate Republicans characterized the bill – which states that people have a right to “access assisted reproductive technology,” that doctors have the right to provide it, and insurers the right to cover it – as “bait” while also claiming they support IVF. In the wake of the scuttled vote, the Biden campaign tied the Alabama ruling to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, arguing that if “Trump supported IVF, he would demand Republicans protect access to it — but he hasn’t.” (Politico / New York Times / Axios)