Feb 23, 2017

Manafort allegedly faced Ukrainian blackmailer

Matt Rourke / AP

Politico has the weird story of an alleged blackmail attempt on Paul Manafort by Serhiy Leshchenko, the man who later provided documents to the New York Times that seemed to show Manafort's receipt of $12.7 million from pro-Russian Ukrainian political parties.

A portion of the note: "I think you and Mr Trump will work out a way to solve this problem of yours. Otherwise official investigation that will be reinforced by the facts that are in my posession will reach also the Federal Government. [sic]"

The weird: The note was texted to Manafort's daughter and released in a hack of her phone by a collective that one former cybersecurity analyst called "randos." Manafort himself confirmed that the hack was legit.

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What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina β€” especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

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