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First Read's Morning Clips: Summing Up Trump's First Month

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Trump reacts during news conference at the White House in Washington
President Donald Trump reacts during a news conference at the White House in Washington on Feb. 16, 2017.Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

TRUMP AGENDA: Summing up Trump’s first month in office

NBC’s Benjy Sarlin sums up Trump’s first month in office. “One month in, Donald Trump's presidency looks much like his campaign: a continual series of crises. Trump's formula worked in the campaign and led to his surprise victory. So far, however, his administration is having trouble turning his election promises into a functioning government.”

From NBC’s Ken Dilanian: “President Donald Trump's personal lawyer has acknowledged to NBC News that he met privately in New York last month with a controversial Russian-born Trump associate and a member of Ukraine's parliament, but disputes a New York Times report that the men gave him a peace plan for Ukraine that he delivered to then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.”

Breaking over the weekend: “President Trump appointed Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as his new national security adviser on Monday, picking a widely respected military strategist known for challenging conventional thinking and helping to turn around the Iraq war in its darkest days…Unlike Mr. Flynn, who served as a campaign adviser last year, General McMaster has no links to Mr. Trump and is not thought of as being as ideological as the man he will replace. A battle-tested veteran of both the Persian Gulf war and the second Iraq war, General McMaster is considered one of the military’s most independent-minded officers, sometimes at a cost to his own career.”

POLITICO: “President Donald Trump has picked one of the military’s leading warrior-scholars to restore order to the National Security Council -- but also one who has staked out a decidedly more hawkish position on Russia and gone out of his way to assert that the war against terrorism must not morph into a war against Islam.”

The AP: “The Kremlin refrained from comment Tuesday on the appointment of the new U.S. national security adviser, but one lawmaker said he was likely to take a hawkish stance toward Russia.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appears to be at odds with President Donald Trump on Russia and other key issues, setting up potential discord but also helping to nudge the White House toward more conventional policy stances.”

“A major conservative conference disinvited Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos on Monday after a conservative advocacy group, Reagan Battalion, posted clips in which he appeared to defend sexual relationships between young teenagers and adults in certain circumstances,” writes Benjy Sarlin

The New York Times traces the origins of Trump’s mention of violence in Sweden.

The Washington Post profiles Sebastian Gorka: “For years, Gorka had labored on the fringes of Washington and the far edge of acceptable debate as defined by the city’s Republican and Democratic foreign policy elite. Today, the former national security editor for the conservative Breitbart News outlet occupies a senior job in the White House and his controversial ideas — especially about Islam — drive Trump’s populist approach to counterterrorism and national security.”

The Wall Street Journal looks at how Justin Amash has emerged as a leading Trump critic.

David Brooks writes: “This Century Is Broken.”

POLITICO reports that Trump nominees are concerned that they aren’t getting more cover from the White House.

The anti-vaccine movement in Texas is getting a boost from Trump’s rise, the Washington Post writes.

The AP: “Add a potential government shutdown to embattled President Donald Trump's growing roster of headaches. Beneath the capital's radar looms a vexing problem — a catchall spending package that's likely to top $1 trillion and could get embroiled in the politics of building Trump's wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and a budget-busting Pentagon request. While a shutdown deadline has a few weeks to go, the huge measure looms as an unpleasant reality check for Trump and Republicans controlling Congress.”

Fivethirtyeight previews the upcoming House special elections.

The Washington Post reports on Trump’s avoidance of the president’s typical retreat, Camp David.