🌸 Happy Thursday!
🌸 Happy Thursday!
Donald Trump changed how to run for president. Next, he changed the Republican Party. Now, he’s changing the presidency and the boundaries of executive power.
Why it matters: Trump does everything bigger and bolder than any predecessor dared — and all nakedly in the open, fearing no consequences from a Republican Party he fully commands.
Between the lines: Rush Limbaugh said Trump called this week with a bit of advice after the radio host mocked the idea of Pete Buttigieg at fall debates — "gay guy kissing his husband on stage, next to Mr. Man, Donald Trump":
The bottom line ... One sign of how extraordinary this is: Trump has pushed Barr — who has a maximalist view of presidential power, and is sympathetic to Trump's view that career prosecutors have overreached — to publicly plead with him to stop, and even make it known he's considering resigning.
Mike Bloomberg was booed during his debut debate as a Democratic presidential candidate — indicative of a rusty outing where the former New York mayor looked unprepared to respond to obvious lines of attack.
Warren drew cheers when she challenged Bloomberg to release women from "nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace."
The audience booed when Bloomberg later said: "I've said we're not going ... to end these agreements because they were made consensually, and they have every right to expect that they will stay private."
Bloomberg replied: "I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior that the #MeToo movement has exposed. And anybody that does anything wrong in our company, we investigate it, and if it's appropriate, they're gone that day."
Between the lines: The debate left Sen. Bernie Sanders firmly in control of the race headed into Super Tuesday on March 3.
The bottom line ... Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg's top strategist, said in a post-debate statement: "He was just warming up tonight."
Bloomberg has begun converting his commercials into significant organic interest in his campaign, but his state-of-the-art operation is still struggling against the Sanders grassroots army.
Where Bloomberg is winning: Bloomberg passed Biden in social media interactions last week.
See past editions of the 2020 Attention Tracker.
Well-wishers at Pope Francis' weekly audience have thrust soccer T-shirts, flowers and many a wailing baby into his arms.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, following a pattern set in April 2019, before rate cuts in July, September and October, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin writes.
What's happening: In the minutes of its latest policy meeting, the Fed's Open Market Committee highlighted its desire for higher inflation, Bob Miller, BlackRock’s head of Americas fundamental fixed income, says in a note.
What it means: The Fed is refocusing attention from solid U.S. economic data to fears about coronavirus and underwhelming inflation, much like with the U.S.-China trade war and global growth concerns last year.
Pop Smoke performs at a listening party in New York on Feb. 6. Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage via Getty Images
"A group of people, including one wearing a mask and armed with a handgun, burst into a posh Hollywood Hills home early [yesterday] and fatally shot up-and-coming rapper Pop Smoke," age 20, the L.A. Times reports.
Pop Smoke (born Bashar Barakah Jackson), was helping remake the sound of hip-hop, with a distinctly Brooklyn variant of drill music, per the L.A. Times:
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