The attorney general issued a rare criticism of the president's tweets, the Democrats are strapping in for a long primary, and health officials explain why the reported spike in coronavirus disease might not be quite what it seems.
Attorney General William Barr made a rare public criticism of President Donald Trump on Thursday, saying in a television interview that some of the president's tweets related to the Justice Department "make it impossible for me to do my job."
His comments to ABC News came after the department overruled federal prosecutors and recommended a lower sentence for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate. The reversal resulted in all four prosecutors quitting the case.
The president had criticized the initial sentence recommendation of seven to nine years in prison — something Barr said put him in a tough spot.
"Do you go forward with what you think is the right decision, or do you pull back because of the tweet?" he said.
Meanwhile, Trump blasted his former chief of staff, John Kelly, after Kelly applauded Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for reporting concerns over Trump's Ukraine call.
Chinese officials say more than 1,700 health workers are now infected with the coronavirus disease and six have died. The total number of cases is more than 63,000 with the death toll approaching 1,400, including the first fatality in Japan. Meanwhile another part of China's Hubei province has announced "wartime control" measures.
But a recent spike in the number of cases does not necessarily mean the outbreak is getting dramatically worse.
Public health workers are eager to stress that the rise is down to the way the disease is being diagnosed, with Chinese doctors judging patients on their symptoms rather than waiting for confirmed results from the lab.
Want to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox? Sign up here.
On Thursday, the Senate voted to block the president from engaging in additional hostilities against Iran. This was a welcome first step in the legislative branch's acceptance of its constitutional responsibilities, Anthony Marcum, a fellow for the Governance Project at the R Street Institute, writes in an opinion piece.
Still looking for that showstopper Valentine's Day recipe to cook tonight? Surf and turf might sound luxurious but it can actually be quick and easy to make — not to mention far cheaper than if you ordered it in a restaurant.