Liz Benjamin

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Here and Now

It’s a big day in politics.

At 9 p.m., President Donald Trump will deliver his first speech to a joint session of Congress (technically not a State of the Union address, since he’s only had just over a month on the job).

The president will be looking to hit the reset button after a tumultuous first five weeks in the Oval Office. It’s unclear how he’ll be received by congressional Democrats, some of whom are pledging to engage is “respectful” acts of protest.

At a White House meeting with the nation’s governors yesterday, the president promised a “big statement” today on infrastructure. He’ll also be focusing on promises made – and kept – during the early days of his administration.

“Our highways, our bridges are unsafe,” Trump told the governors. “Our tunnels — I mean, we have tunnels in New York where the tiles are on the ceiling and you see many tiles missing.”

(For the record, New York officials say there’s no evidence anyone has been hurt by falling tunnel ceiling tiles).

Trump is also scheduled to meet this morning with member of the National Association of Attorneys General, have lunch with unnamed members of the press, and – in the afternoon – sign several executive orders.

In Albany, the state Legislature returns to work after a week-long winter break, and the clock counting down to the April 1 budget deadline is ticking.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany and will be holding a cabinet meeting in the Capitol’s Red Room at 2:15 p.m.

A full calendar of today’s events appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

When President Donald Trump makes his first address to a joint session of Congress tonight, at least four undocumented immigrants whose temporary legal status could be revoked will be in the House watching him speak as guests of Democratic members of Congress.

With this speech, the White House hopes to reframe Trump’s turbulent first 40 days neatly into the context of promises made, promises kept. But the president will step onto the dais with historically low poll numbers, and amid an ongoing battle with the mainstream media.

The speech also comes as Congressional Republicans are panning Trump’s call to finance a military buildup by slashing domestic agencies and ignoring entitlement programs — undermining the president’s budget even before it’s been finalized.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a “pre-buttal” to Trump’s address, saying that while Democrats are united, Republicans are in disarray like “an Abbott and Costello show.”

Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to ask Trump to speak out on a recent killing in Kansas City that is being investigated by law enforcement as a hate crime. “With threats & hate crimes on rise, we shouldn’t have to tell @POTUS to do his part,” she tweeted. “He must step up & speak out.”

Trump supporters held rallies in towns and cities across the country, partly as a rebuttal to waves of anti-Trump protests that have taken place since the Republican’s election last November.

Trump himself accused former President Barack Obama of being “behind” the protests that Republican members of Congress have encountered at town hall meetings.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order today aimed at rolling back one of former Obama’s major environmental regulations, a clean water rule known as Waters of the United States. But on its own, the order will have almost no legal effect on the sweeping rule, which was imposed in 2015.

Trump, meeting with the nation’s governors, conceded that he had not been aware of the complexities of health care policy-making: “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” he said. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders mocked Trump for his admission that health care reform is very complicated.

A simmering dispute between leaders of the House intelligence committee spilled into the public over an investigation into whether Trump has ties to Russia, even as they pledged to conduct a bipartisan probe.

In a 72-27 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary as Trump adds to his economic team.

Former President George W. Bush says he dislikes the racial tensions simmering in the early days of the Trump administration. “I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like people feeling alienated,” he told “People” magazine. “Nobody likes that.”

House Republicans have blocked an attempt by Democrats to force Trump to release his tax returns to Congress.

The family of the late former NYC Mayor Ed Koch has discovered what may amount to a posthumous salvo against his archenemy: Trump.

In a sometimes-pointed television interview with NY1’s Errol Louis, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said his four-hour meeting with federal prosecutors last week went “fine” and “simply the process of getting all the information out,” adding: “I was happy to go in and recount the facts.”

It was de Blasio’s first live TV interview since he was grilled for four hours by federal investigators from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office last Friday.

Hours after federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents finished questioning de Blasio on Friday as part of their investigation into his campaign fund-raising, a senior manager at an obscure New York City agency was unexpectedly called into a conference room and fired.

While facing multiple pay-to-play probes over whether he provided political favors to big donors, de Blasio sent out a fundraising solicitation claiming he really wants donations from regular New Yorkers.

With his re-election campaign looming, de Blasio plans today to unveil a plan to open roughly 90 new homeless shelters throughout New York’s five boroughs, a stark increase devised to address his most vexing citywide problem.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo insists that he’s not thinking about a presidential run in four years, even as he takes more steps to join the national conversation. Members of New York’s political class see the 59-year-old governor as carefully laying down markers for his future, whatever it may hold, after Clinton’s unexpected defeat.

Cuomo was one of just six governors who didn’t meet with Trump at the White House yesterday. All 50 states’ governors were invited to attend the gathering

Tom Perez, the newly elected DNC chairman, dismissed Trump’s suggestion that the race to lead the party was “rigged” in his favor.

More >

Extras

A federal appeals court rejected a U.S. Department of Justice request to place on hold an appeal over President Trump’s travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Trump is being criticized for his attitudes toward the press and Russia by an unexpected source — former President George W. Bush.

Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan could be headed for a collision on spending and ideology, thanks to the president’s proposal to slash domestic spending in order to preserve the two biggest drains on the federal government — Social Security and Medicare.

Trump is expected to sign a new executive order on immigration and refugees on Wednesday – a day after his first speech before a joint session of Congress.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he has low expectations for Trump’s speech, saying it “”will be the usual bluster and blame.”

A Virginia man who used suction cups to climb up Trump Tower last summer pleaded guilty today to reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. His plea deal includes no jail time.

It was not a good Oscar night for Westchester County residents.

In a settlement that could help thousands of families avoid eviction, the state will substantially increase the monthly rent subsidies it provides to low-income families with children in New York City, a move that could help reduce the number of people in homeless shelters.

US Attorney Preet Bharara was at the Vanity Fair Oscars party last night, after sending a message to de Blasio on Friday by using the same prosecutors who took down ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Senate Majorityy Leader Dean Skelos to interrogate him about his campaign fund-raising activities.

A dozen state officials who did no wrongdoing but were subpoenaed as part of the successful federal corruption probes of Skelos and Silver are still awaiting reimbursement for their legal fees from the state.

According to City & State’s “Power 100” list, Schumer is the most powerful man in New York City – more so even than the president, the governor and the NYC mayor.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is continuing to significantly redact the mayor’s emails to staff and political consultants, amid a court battle between the city and two news agencies over the disclosure of City Hall emails.

In NYC, which overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton, being pro-Trump is not popular.

Schumer is predicting that the Affordable Care Act will survive as he describes a White House and GOP in disarray.

The lobbying association for New York’s newspapers is urging lawmakers to reject parts of Cuomo’s proposed $152 billion state budget, contending the package would make some state contracts less transparent and would give the administration “virtually unconstrained authority” over public works projects.

Long Island’s first video lottery casino opened this afternoon at an Islandia hotel.

There is new evidence that the country’s opioid epidemic may be waning, even as political leaders from Trump to Gov. Andrew Cuomo warn of a worsening crisis.

“We certainly have no problem with physicians being prosecuted if they have committed a true crime,” said Dr. Thomas J. Madejski, vice president for the Medical Society of the State of New York. “But to criminalize physicians in the practice of medicine is really a step in the wrong direction.”

Cuomo is noting that farmers have, since a change more than three years ago that lowered the rate at which farmland assessments can rise, saved a total of $36.6 million on property taxes.

Could you survive U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s workout?

Karen Magee, president of the state’s largest teachers’ union and the first women to hold that post, will not seek another term when her three-year appointment ends in April. Instead, she will lead an effort between the American Federation of Teachers and the state AFL-CIO focused on issues such as wage equity, education opportunities and women in leadership roles.

Get ready for what is expected to be a $1 million-plus Buffalo mayoral race.

Kraft Heinz Foods Co. has notified 380 workers at its cheese plant in Campbell that they will be laid off by the end of July if a buyer for the facility is not found.

A Baldwinsville Police Department officer who refused to cooperate with police after a suspected DWI crash last summer is keeping his job.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

The state Legislature returns to work in Albany tomorrow after a week-long winter break.

At 9:30 a.m., President Trump and VP Mike Pence attend the National Governors Association meeting, and then – at about 10:30 a.m. – participate in a listening session with health insurance company CEOs, followed by lunch with UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

In the afternoon, at about 2:30 p.m., Pence and Trump meet with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump will then meet solo with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and dine with unnamed “regional press affiliates.”

At 8:30 a.m., Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, NYC Councilman Antonio Reynoso, parents and advocates challenge the NYC Department of Education for giving public school classroom space to charter schools, School Building K111, 35 Starr St., Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., Assemblymember Ron Kim and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman partner with the Chinese Community Center of Flushing, the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General to offer a Medicaid Fraud Prevention Workshop and Seminar, Queens Library, 41-17 Main St., Flushing.

Also at 10 a.m., regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa will deliver opening remarks at the 9/11 Tribute Center’s 10th Annual September 11th Teacher Awards, 9/11 Tribute Center, 120 Liberty St., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. José E. Serrano and state Sen. José M. Serrano host a Black History Month Celebration honoring NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Bronx DA Darcel Clark and others, Hostos Community College, D Building/Savoy Manor Building multipurpose room, 120 E. 149th St, the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., the Assembly will hold a public hearing to examine the growing need for home care and personal care as well as the obstacles to recruiting, employing and retaining an adequate home care workforce, Hearing Room C, LOB, 198 State St., Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office announces $58 million in grants to fund 100 community organizations, The Door, 555 Broome St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the Riders Alliance, Sen. Michael Gianaris, Assembly members Jeffrey Dinowitz, Robert Carroll, Carmen de la Rosa, Luis Sepulveda and others voice their opposition to the proposed state budget cut of $65 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, southeast corner of 40th Street and Seventh Avenue, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. Daniel Squadron, the New York Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, New York City Housing Authority and the New York City Office of Emergency Management hold a town hall on emergency preparedness for people with disabilities, Lillian Wald Senior Center, 12 Avenue D, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Schenectady City Mayor Gary McCarthy, Amsterdam City Mayor Mike Villa, and ACEC New York President Jay Simson announce details of new legislation creating a “NYS Emergency Water Infrastructure Fund,” Schenectady City Hall, 105 Jay St., Schenectady.

At 11:30 a.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announce legislation to determine the long-term health effects of PFOS and PFOA exposure in drinking water, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Newburgh Campus, 70 Dubois St., Newburgh.

At 1 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul highlights New York’s investment in the 3D printing company Vader Systems, 385 CrossPoint Parkway, Suite 104, Getzville.

At 2 p.m., Hochul delivers remarks at Erie County Community College’s topping off ceremony for its county- and college-funded $30 million STEM Building, North Campus site, 6205 Main St., Williamsville.

At 5:30 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at an induction ceremony for New York Supreme Court Justice Andrea Masley, City Bar Association, 42 W. 44th St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte delivers her State of the District address, Brooklyn College Student Center, Campus Road and East 27th Street, Brooklyn.

Also at 6 p.m., Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. hosts his monthly call-in show, “Ask the Borough President,” on News 12 The Bronx.

At 6:30 p.m., Sen. David Carlucci will host an immigration “Know Your Rights” forum with several local organizations, Martin Luther King Multi Center, 110 Bethune Blvd., Spring Valley.

Also at 6:30 p.m., NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer honors Queens Library President Dennis Walcott and others at a Black History Month Celebration, Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement, 10-25 41st Ave., Queens.

At 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

At 8 p.m., Brewer speaks at Theater for the New City 14th annual Valentine Benefit, National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park S., Manhattan.

Headlines…

President Trump will instruct federal agencies today to assemble a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes sharp increases in Defense Department spending and drastic enough cuts to domestic agencies that he can keep his promise to leave Social Security and Medicare alone.

Philip Bilden, an international financier, former Army Reserve military officer and Trump’s nominee for Navy Secretary; withdrew his name from consideration. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said it was a “personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges (Bilden) faced in separating himself from his business interests.”

The father of the commando killed in a Special Operations raid in Yemen last month said he had refused to meet with Trump on the day his son’s body was returned home, and criticized the White House over the mission, saying, “Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation.”

Trump condemned anew the reports of his inner circle’s ties to Russia, expressing fresh anger at Democrats and journalists he said he believes are perpetuating falsehoods. “Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!” he wrote on Twitter.

Tomorrow night, Trump will address a joint session of Congress for the first time. After a chaotic first month, it will be a chance for the president to reset his relationship with voters, who currently give him historically-low approval ratings.

The president won’t attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner because he wasn’t elected to “pretend” to like reporters, a Trump aide said.

Trump ditched the press to have dinner at BLT Steakhouse at his new flagship D.C. hotel. Here’s an accounting of his meal, during which he ate a well-done steak – with ketchup – as is his preference.

There was a massive mixup at the Oscars last night, during which “La La Land” was first announced as the best picture winner before its jubilant cast and crew were interrupted with a scarcely believable correction that actually, “Moonlight” was the real winner.

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP took responsibility and apologized early this morning for the error that led to the best picture mess, saying presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had mistakenly been given the envelope for the wrong category.

With the best supporting actress win for her work in the 2016 film “Fences,” Viola Davis becomes the 23rd person to complete the so-called triple crown of acting, which is the term used to describe those who have won at least one competitive acting award at the Oscars, the Emmys and the Tonys. She is the first black woman to do so.

Trump’s name was rarely mentioned during the Academy Awards, but his policies were a running subtext throughout the evening. Host Jimmy Kimmel fired the first shot in his opening monologue.

Actresses Emma Stone and Dakota Johnson both supported Planned Parenthood in a tiny, yet powerful way on the red carpet, sporting small gold pins bearing the organization’s logo.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called around a dozen of his communications staff into a meeting last week in which he conducted a “phone check” of their devices and said that use of encrypted texting apps broke the law. He then said there would be “more problems” if news of the meeting leaked to the press, which it did.

With about a month until a new state budget is due, a public education advocacy group, the Alliance for Quality Education, which is seeking to dramatically boost school funding, is set to unleash an attack video likening Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Trump.

With the deadline for an on-time state budget five weeks away, the fate of Cuomo’s proposal to spend $200 million in public money to connect New York City, the Canadian border north of Plattsburgh and western New York with a hiking and biking trail is anything but certain.

The state Board of Elections, at the urging of Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman, made five formal criminal referrals in 2016 to local district attorneys or the state Attorney General’s office.

Members of the state Assembly could as early as this week vote on a bill that would undo the changes to the STAR School Tax Relief program that were included in last year’s budget negotiations but which have sparked statewide complaints.

More >

The Weekend That Was

President Donald Trump ripped the New York Times for its planned Oscars TV ad, which states the “truth is more important now than ever,” saying the paper is trying to save its “failing reputation.”

About 200 activists stood in silence outside The New York Times’ headquarters on West 41st Street in midtown Manhattan today in a show of solidarity with the press.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic Manhattan congresswoman, hailed the press as “more vital now than ever,” and demanded that the Trump administration stop barring select news organizations from its White House briefings.

Trump’s job approval rating is at a record low – 44 percent – with nearly half of respondents saying they disagree with his performance in the White House so far, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

“I will not be attending the (April 29) White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump tweeted at 4:53 p.m. on Saturday.

Former Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, a Snyder native who often notes that he worked on a Buffalo garbage truck during college, won election as chairman of a divided Democratic Party Saturday. He’s the first Latino to hold the post.

Perez’s victory concluded the first contested race for the DNC leadership since 1985 – a contest the party had extended by a month to allow more debate.

Perez, buoyed by activists most loyal to former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, narrowly defeated his closest opponent, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, winning with 235 votes out of 435 cast on the second ballot.

Trump claimed that the election for DNC chair was “totally rigged” but offered no evidence to back up his allegations. He tweeted that Ellison “never had a chance,” and that Clinton “demanded Perez.”

Dan Cantor, the national director for the New York State-based Working Families Party, decried Ellison’s loss, saying Democratic Party leaders “missed an opportunity” because the congressman was “was uniquely qualified to transform anger and fear into political power and organization.”

The Trump administration’s far-reaching plan to arrest and deport vast numbers of undocumented immigrants has been introduced in dramatic fashion over the past month. And much of that task has fallen to thousands of ICE officers who are newly emboldened, newly empowered and already getting to work.

After Perez’s victory was announced, Ellison’s supporters exploded in anger and drowned out the interim chairwoman, Donna Brazile, with a chant of “Party for the people, not big money!” When Perez was able to speak, he immediately called for Ellison to be named deputy chairman, delighting the congressman’s supporters.

A Republican congressman – California Rep. Darrell Issa – has called for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and was in touch with Trump’s team during the campaign.

The deadly shooting of two immigrants from India in Kansas, which is being investigated as a possible hate crime, has raised new alarms about a climate of hostility toward foreigners in the U.S., where Trump has made clamping down on immigration a central plank of his “America first” agenda.

A sobering report to governors about the potential consequences of repealing the Obama-era health care law warns that federal spending cuts probably would create funding gaps for states and threaten many people with the loss of insurance coverage.

This weekend, the Razzie Awards gave its top prize to Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter to Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge, urging him and the Village Board of Trustees to table the current PFOA settlement and abstain from agreeing to the proposed legal agreement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized a Republican-backed plan in Washington to switch Medicaid to block grants, meaning individual states would have a cap on the amount of money they receive, which he said could put rural hospitals “out of business.”

The White House defended chief of staff Reince Priebus against accusations he breached a government firewall when he asked FBI Director James Comey to publicly dispute media reports that Trump campaign advisers had been frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents.

The $150 million reconstruction of the Woodbury Transit and Economic hub will be completed five years ahead of schedule, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.

Cuomo’s $152.3 billion budget contains new ethics rules for legislators who steer state funds to projects — but they don’t apply to him.

Fresh from a week off, senators and Assembly members will return to Albany on Tuesday. They hope to approve a state budget before April 1, so the next several weeks will see a flurry of activity as lawmakers, lobbyists and advocates work to get their wish-list included in the massive spending plan.

Cuomo and the state Thruway Authority have signaled they plan to move ahead with a cashless form of tolling for the entire 570-mile superhighway system, which remains served by human-staffed toll booths except on the Tappan Zee Bridge. But that won’t be easy.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s penchant for angering his fellow Democrats continued this weekend as he inserted himself into the heated race for DNC chairman, and then backed a Californian – over two New Yorkers – for a vice chair post.

The NY Post says de Blasio is planning to attempt a “Soviet-style takeover” of 1,200 privately owned co-op buildings in what critics are saying is an attempt to artificially increase his affordable housing numbers.

A Brooklyn rabbi and political fund-raiser under scrutiny by the feds was once described by de Blasio as a trusted friend whose relationship “means so much to me personally.”

Federal prosecutors are examining whether de Blasio ­reopened a religious girls’ school in Brooklyn closed for safety violations as a favor to the rabbi.

Ricardo Morales, the city official who approved lifting deed restrictions that allowed a Lower East Side nursing home to be flipped for luxury condos, was fired just hours after de Blasio’s highly anticipated sit-down with federal prosecutors, his attorney confirmed.

With just over six months until the Democratic primary, no credible challenger — a person with some combination of name recognition, a political base, governmental experience and the funding to wage a knockdown campaign — has emerged to take on de Blasio, despite all his problems.

No opponent yet faces Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr., but the union representing more than 1,500 blue collar workers is already endorsing the Republican incumbent.

A poll commissioned by supporters of Juanita Perez Williams, who has yet to announce a run for Syracuse mayor, puts her at the top of a list of prospective Democratic primary opponents, with more than 36 percent supporting her and 25 percent of those polled still undecided.

A new lawsuit claims a former Bloomberg LP executive drugged and raped a saleswoman on his staff twice over a period of two weeks.

Judges and court employees in Nassau County have maintained a secret docket of cases that hides their existence from the public, a practice that runs counter to core legal principles that have defined American courts since their inception.

Parents and activists across the country have rallied around Kiarre Harris, the Buffalo mother who says her children were taken from her because she started home schooling them. But court records and interviews with experts familiar with Child Protective Services cases suggest there could be more to the situation.

Sen Tim Kennedy said his legislative colleagues must approve the $500 million earmarked for Western New York in Cuomo’s proposed budget, or he’ll be voting “no.”

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, sole trustee of the state public employee pension fund, is again pushing for energy giant ExxonMobil to disclose how efforts to mitigate global warming will impact its corporate bottom line.

Barack Obama has kept a relatively low profile since leaving office last month, and he largely avoided the spotlight on Friday night — at least as much as a former president can when he is attending a Broadway show with his eldest daughter, Malia, and his former top advisor, Valerie Jarrett.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. struck an awkward pose Friday as he was photographed with an imam his office once prosecuted for tax fraud.

RIP actor Bill Paxton, who starred in some of the biggest blockbusters of the ’80s and ’90s and kicked off a new TV series just weeks ago. He died at the age of 61 due to complications following heart surgery.

Extras

President Trump intensified his slashing attack on the news media during an appearance before the Conservative Political Action Conference, reiterating his charge that “fake news” outlets are “the enemy of the people.”

In a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps, CNN and other news organizations that have been perceived as covering the president in a negative manner – including The New York Times and Politico – were blocked today from a White House press briefing, with no immediate explanation as to why.

Reporters and pundits on Twitter reacted immediately and negatively to the news.

Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in to the briefing, chose not to attend in protest of the White House’s actions.

The White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents the press corps, quickly rebuked the Trump administration.

CNN is considering sitting out of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, as the annual star-studded affair takes on renewed scrutiny from media outlets irked by the White House’s demonization of the press.

The mayor of Paris, France fired back at Trump, after the president criticized the City of Lights in his CPAC speech and painted the city as unsafe due to threats of terrorism.

Trump’s mere mention of Hillary Clinton’s now infamous “deplorables” remark from the 2016 campaign sent the crowd at CPAC into a frenzy.

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally, is urging the administration to steer clear of a federal crackdown on recreational marijuana.

Bronx Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, who for close to three decades has camped out to get a prominent aisle seat for the annual State of the Union address, might abandon that tradition for Trump’s upcoming speech.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was grilled by heavy-hitting federal prosecutors about his campaign fundraising for over four hours today.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said it is “frustrating” that the “overwhelmingly positive” changes in the department are not being recognized by the public.

“What the hell is going on with the MTA’s budget? And why has $65 million of it suddenly gone missing when it’s needed most?”

The largest and busiest airport in Arkansas would no longer be named after the only president and first lady from the state – Bill and Hillary Clinton – if a bill introduced in the legislature this week succeeds.

A man convicted of taking hostages at a Clinton presidential campaign office in New Hampshire in 2007 has pleaded guilty to bank robbery and cocaine possession.

In advance of this weekend’s DNC chair vote, Clinton showered praise on the wave of protests sweeping the country and urged party faithful to unify and set their sights on elections to come.

Long Island lawmakers were joined this week by architects, engineers, homeowners, house-lifters, civic leaders, construction workers, and more to call upon Cuomo and New York Rising to extend the deadline for Sandy-victim applicants to submit changes to the scope of project elevations.

Due to the unseasonably warm weather, the Empire State Plaza’s ice rink is closed and the state Office of General Services will evaluate on a daily basis when – and if – they can reopen the facility for skating.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres surprised all 41 seniors of Red Hook’s Summit Academy school in Brooklyn with a four-year scholarship to any state university in New York. The scholarships are being paid for by Walmart.

The “Hipster Cop” of 2011 Occupy Wall Street fame has retired from the NYPD.

Cayuga County Administrator Suzanne Sinclair is expected to resign from her post on March 10.

The number of off-site craft beverage branch stores operating in New York has hit the century mark, with 105 such stores in 35 New York counties, according to the governor’s office.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Washington, D.C. with no public schedule.

President Donald Trump is also in D.C., where he is scheduled to make remarks at CPAC (Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center) this morning.

At noon, Trump will sign an executive order that is expected to address regulatory reform within government agencies.

In the afternoon, the president will meet in the Oval Office with one of his 2016 GOP primary opponents, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and also with President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will travel to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the DNC Winter Meeting. He’s expected to be questioned by federal agents this morning regarding a probe into his fundraising.

At 9 a.m., John Jay College of Criminal Justice 27th annual Malcolm/King Scholarship Breakfast, honoring John Jay College of Criminal Justice President Jeremy Travis and Center on Race, Crime, and Justice Founding Director Delores Jones-Brown, 524 W. 59th St., Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat hosts a Black History Month celebration, 163 W. 125th St., 2nd floor art gallery, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., Rep. Nydia Velazquez attends a Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. quarterly elected officials briefing, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 92, fourth floor, Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul participates in the groundbreaking ceremony for a $3.3. million penguin exhibit at the Aquarium of Niagara, 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls.

Also at 10 a.m., there’s a federal court hearing on the temporary restraining order issued on Trump’s first immigration-related executive order, Eastern District, 225 Cadman Plaza, Courtroom 10D, Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., Sen. Tim Kennedy will join nearly a dozen members of Buffalo’s leading business and community organizations to discuss Phase II of Buffalo Billion funding that has been proposed in the 2017-2018 final state budget, University Metro Station, second level, 3434 Main St., Buffalo.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney joins seniors to warn against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Swinging 60s Senior Center, 211 Ainslie St., Brooklyn.

Also at 11 a.m., Assemblywoman Nily Rozic joins Townsend Harris High School students, alumni, parents, teachers and others at a rally against acting Principal Rosemarie Jahoda and her candidacy in the C-30 process to choose the next principal, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11:30 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and concerned residents of Greenpoint will sound the alarm on the feared environmental and public health harm that may result from the state’s planned implosion of the Kosciuszko Bridge, Meeker and Stewart avenues, Brooklyn.

At noon, Bronx Chamber of Commerce hosts Black Heritage Luncheon honoring award recipients including NYC Councilman Andy King, NYC Parks Owen Dolen Recreation Center Manager Kathleen Walker-Pinckney and others, F&J Pine Restaurant, 1913 Bronxdale Ave., the Bronx.

Also at noon, Maloney joins seniors to warn against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Pete McGuinness Senior Center, 715 Leonard St., Brooklyn.

At 1 p.m., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Robert Capers speaks at a Police Athletic League luncheon, Mutual of America, 320 Park Ave., Manhattan.

At 3:30 p.m., Hudson Valley AFL-CIO holds a “Care Not Chaos” press conference, Monticello Village Hall, 2 Pleasant St., Monticello.

At 6:30 p.m., Velazquez attends the 10th anniversary gala and recognition awards ceremony of the Hotel Chinese Association, Jing Fong Restaurant, 20 Elizabeth St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Sen. Ruben Diaz, Assembly Members Marcos Crespo, Luis Sepulveda, Michael Blake, Victor Pichardo and New York City Councilmember Rafael Salamanca hold the annual “African-American Abrazo,” honoring the contributions of African-Americans to the state and city, Maestro’s Caterers, 1703 Bronxdale Ave., the Bronx. (Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is among the honorees).

Headlines…

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to be questioned today by federal prosecutors in connection with a corruption investigation into fundraising on his behalf. A spokesman for the mayor has said that he didn’t request and wasn’t offered immunity in exchange for participating in the questioning.

In recent weeks, investigators appear to have focused on a relatively new area in the inquiry, looking into the mayor’s relationship with a Brooklyn businessman, prominent Satmar rabbit and leader Moishe Indig, who hosted a fund-raiser for de Blasio in October 2013, after the Democratic primary but before the general election.

President Donald Trump touted his administration’s efforts to remove criminal immigrants who are in the United States illegally, describing the initiative as a “military operation.”

In the wake of Trump’s broad executive orders on deporting undocumented immigrants, Suffolk County police officials are wrestling with a conundrum facing police departments across the country: how to shut down a violent gang when the immigrants they will need as witnesses and tipsters may be afraid to come forward.

The FBI reportedly shot down a request from White House chief of staff Reince Priebus to dispute media reports that top Trump aides had regular contact with Russian agents during the presidential election.

Priebus and pugnacious chief presidential strategist Steve Bannon took their strained buddy routine to the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, reminiscing about Trump’s election victory, promising revolutionary change in Washington, denying their ongoing West Wing power struggle and — naturally — bashing the news media.

In his first public speaking appearance since Trump took office, Bannon said the new administration is locked in an unending battle against the media and other globalist forces to “deconstruct” an outdated system of governance.

Richard Spencer, a founder of the alt-right movement that seeks a whites-only state and that strongly backed Trump for president, was expelled from the Conservative Political Action Conference after being criticized from its main stage, then giving interviews to a growing crowd of reporters.

Trump might get lucky on his second try for a labor secretary. His nominee Alexander Acosta — who stepped up to replace fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, who withdrew from contention the day before his Senate confirmation hearing — has received some early union support.

The vast majority of Americans support keeping ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

A Muslim staffer on the National Security Council quit eight days into the Trump administration, citing the president’s travel ban as the motivating factor in a personal account published Thursday by The Atlantic.

Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is “very easy to get along with,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.

Bader Ginsburg praised the media at a time when the Trump administration has accused reporters of being dishonest and delivering
“fake news.”

In response to a sharp uptick in hate crimes across New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for a $25 million program that would provide additional security measures to schools and day-care centers affiliated with religious or other belief-based organizations.

Cuomo is still declining to weigh in on who should become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, making him one of the state’s only high-ranking Democrats not to name a preference in the closely watched race.

No matter who wins, the next Democratic chairman will face a daunting task, said Buffalo Mayor and state Democratic Chairman Byron Brown, who is leaning toward backing former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a Buffalo native.

“They say I’m thin-skinned. I’m calloused compared to FDR,” Cuomo told an audience at the West Haverstraw Municipal Center in Rockland County.

Caitlyn Jenner finally broke her silence on Trump’s move to end federal guidelines that directed public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities, calling it a “disaster.”

Cuomo says the state will continue to allow transgender students to use public school bathrooms that match their gender identity after the Trump’s administration reversed a similar federal policy.

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Extras

American voters today give President Donald Trump a negative 38 – 55 percent job approval rating, his worst net score since he took office, down from a negative 42 – 51 percent approval rating in a Feb. 7 Quinnipiac University national poll.

Vice President Pence today made a surprise visit to a historic Jewish cemetery near St. Louis to condemn the recent vandalism that took place there.

The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise.

Kellyanne Conway, once the most visible spokesperson for the Trump White House, has been sidelined from television appearances for making statements that were at odds with the administration’s official stance, White House sources said.

Rep. Keith Ellison has the edge over former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez heading into this weekend’s DNC chair vote, according to a survey conducted by The Hill, but neither candidate is assured victory.

Jimmy Kimmel says not to expect a barrage of political zingers in his Oscars monologue this Sunday — but he can’t rule out a cameo from Hillary Clinton.

A retweet by Clinton has drawn attention to Trump’s golf outings, which critics are hoping to turn into a political handicap.

Clinton (again on Twitter) told House lawmakers who are avoiding their constituents that if they can’t stand the heat, they should “get out of the…Congress.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik has no current plans to hold a town hall meeting in her district during this week’s so-called “district work period,” even after pushing out a 22-page report last week that strongly advises members to be accessible to millennials and other voters.

The Nassau County district attorney’s office wiretapped the cellphones of three former prominent Oyster Bay Town officials as part of an investigation into corruption, multiple sources familiar with the probe said.

After SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s two nonprofit development boards were overhauled in the wake of a corruption scandal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former state Budget Director Robert Megna will be selected as president of both entities.

White House adviser Stephen Miller confirmed that Trump’s new executive order — which will replace the immigration ban on seven majority-Muslim countries — will effectively have the same policy outcome.

NYC will have to shell out nearly $200 million more on homeless shelters next year on top of what’s in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget, according to a report by an independent budget watchdog.

The governor wants to cut $25 million from 39 public health programs that fight cancer, diabetes and other conditions.

Regulations are underway to help put the New York paid family leave program into effect.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said members of GOP Congress like Rep. John Katko, who are facing persistent criticism over their unwillingness to hold an in-person town hall, might consider adopting his philosophy about visiting constituents: “You gotta be around; you gotta be visible.”

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a letter to several Democratic members of Congress that there was not a single substantiated claim of voter fraud in New York last year.

Former U.S. EPA official Judith Enck is criticizing a revised settlement proposal between the village of Hoosick Falls and the companies being held responsible for polluting the community’s drinking water.

It has been more than one year since the state awarded Central New York half a billion dollars to revitalize the economy. Now, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is demanding answers as she tries to figure out how the local regional economic development council is spending that taxpayer cash.

Cuomo’s pocket-veto of a proposal to re-privatize the New York Racing Association at the beginning of February brought his total number of vetoes of 2016 legislation to 97, or 15.7 percent of the bills that landed on his desk.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy had four cases of sexual assault in the 2015-16 school year — all incidents of male students allegedly assaulting female students — according to a recent U.S. Department of Transportation report.

A plan to protect operations at a Farmington racetrack not only calls for fewer races but would result in substantial losses for workers, according to a group representing roughly 1,200 people at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with one public event scheduled.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in the city with no public events scheduled.

President Donald Trump is in Washington, D.C., where he’ll meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at 11:30 a.m., discuss the federal budget “over lunch,” (participants were not revealed by the White House), hold a discussion with senior staff about the budget, and lead a legislative affairs strategy session in the afternoon.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to St. Louis, Missouri to participate in listening discussions with American workers and employees of the Fabick Cat equipment and engine dealer, a 100-year-old family-owned-and-operated business.

At 9 a.m., the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing holds 29th rally outside Cuomo’s office urging the governor and legislative leaders to finalize the affordable housing memorandum of understanding, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul unveils renovations at the Coney Island DMV office, 2875 W. 8th St., Brooklyn.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Council members Laurie Cumbo and Jumaane Williams and Assemblyman Walter Mosley hold press conference against building privatization, Saint James Playground, Lafayette Avenue and Saint James Place, Brooklyn.

Also at 10:30 a.m., ATU 1179 call on the MTA to negotiate with the union which represents bus operators, mechanics and supervisors who work from the Far Rockaway and JFK Depots of the MTA Bus division, outside MTA NYC Transit’s Two Broadway HQs, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Assemblyman James Skoufis and others announce the introduction of federal legislation to honor the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor with a commemorative coin, 374 Temple Hill Rd., New Windsor.

At 11 a.m., the Assembly Committee on Health, Committee on Aging, Committee on Labor and Task Force on People with Disabilities hold a public hearing on the home care workforce, Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., NYPIRG, Food & Water Watch, 350.org and others will deliver a letter to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office in support of his ongoing investigation into Exxon Mobil Corp., 120 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. David Carlucci and Good Samaritan Hospital will announce a new initiative designed to promote a cleaner, safer method of destroying unused opioid medications, Good Samaritan Hospital, 257 Lafayette Ave., Suffern.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and Hofstra University’s Executive Dean Larry Levy, WCNY.

At 11:30 a.m., Cuomo delivers remarks at an at 1199SEIU rally to protect “quality healthcare” in New York, Albert Einstein College of Medicinem Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus, Forchheimer Building – Robbins Auditorium, 1300 Morris Park Ave., the Bronx.

At 11:45 a.m., Hochul highlights New York’s biotech investment in BioBAT, Brooklyn Army Terminal, 140 58th St., 6 G, Brooklyn.

At noon, Chief Judge Janet DeFiore presents her first “State of Our Judiciary” address, Bronx Hall of Justice, 265 E. 161 St., the Bronx.

At 1 p.m., Hochul tours construction of Tech Incubator 1776, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Suite 814, Building 280, 63 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 1 p.m., Democratic NY-25 Rep. Louise Slaughter holds a media availability, Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building, Lower Level Conference Room B-0350, 3120 Federal Bldg. 100 State St., Rochester.

Also at 1 p.m., Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell speaks on the economic outlook and monetary policy at a Forecaster’s Club of New York Luncheon, The Cornell Club New York, 6 E. 44th St., Manhattan.

At 4 p.m., Assemblyman Michael Blake and Sen. Gustavo Rivera hold Black History Month celebration, honoring veterans for the services they have given, Claremont Community Center, 489 E. 169th St., the Bronx.

At 5 p.m., healthcare advocates hold a protest rally outside a fundraiser held for freshman NY-21 Republican Rep. John Faso, Fort Orange Club, 110 Washington Ave., Albany.

Also at 5 p.m., Sen. George Latimer and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer hold a community budget hearing on the New York state budget, Grinton I. Will Library, 1500 Central Park Ave., Yonkers.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat hosts the first open house in his Bronx office, 2530 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

Also at 6 p.m., Rep. Joe Crowley hosts his 18th annual Black History Month celebration, Bruno’s on the Boulevard, 88-25 Astoria Blvd., Queens.

At 6:30 p.m., Rep. Yvette Clarke hosts a “Brooklyn Resists” town hall meeting, Union Temple, 17 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn.

At 6:30 p.m., Sen. Leroy Comrie, Assembly members Alicia Hyndman and Clyde Vanel and NYC Councilman I. Daneek Miller host a screening of the PBS documentary “Black American Since MLK: And Still I Rise,” Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, 161-4 Jamaica Ave., Queens.

At 6:45 p.m., Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance will address the Manhattan Republican Party, Women’s National Republican Club, 3 West 51st St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

The Trump administration implemented sweeping changes to the way immigration policy is enforced, making clear that millions of people living illegally in the U.S. are now subject to deportation and pushing authorities to fast-track the removal of many of them.

Documents released by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.

Trump’s tough new policies will — at least for now — leave protections in place for immigrants known as “dreamers” who entered the country illegally as children, officials said.

Immigration lawyers have already begun taking steps to challenge Trump’s sweeping new directives to step up deportations.

Activist scaled the Statue of Liberty and unfurled a red and white “Refugees Welcome” banner just hours after the Department of Homeland Security unveiled its sweeping new deportation plan.

Immigrants are driving economic growth in Syracuse and Buffalo by regenerating the population, providing employers with needed labor and starting small businesses, according to a new study.

Lawmakers from both parties are mounting efforts to bolster the federal government’s scrutiny of surging Chinese investment in the U.S., emboldened by Trump’s anti-China rhetoric on trade.

Trump said the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States since his inauguration was “horrible” and “painful,” reacting publicly for the first time to mounting threats targeting Jewish people and institutions after he drew criticism for being slow to condemn them.

The battle over the next Supreme Court justice will soon shift into a higher gear with less than a month to go before Judge Neil Gorsuch appears before a Senate panel considering his nomination.

In an interview on NY1 last night, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand departed from her fellow New Yorker and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, calling for an “up-or-down” vote on Gorsuch and admitting that he will ultimately be confirmed.

Trump has still not set foot in New York City as president, puzzling and emboldening some protesters who see his weekend visits to his Florida estate as something of a retreat to friendlier ground.

First Lady Melania Trump has revised her defamation lawsuit against the Mail Online for claiming she was a hooker — scrubbing claims that the Web site’s article ruined her “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to cash in on the presidency.

In left-leaning New York City, stress-relief specialists – from acupuncturists to barkeepers and therapists – say the fledgling Trump administration has triggered a surge in demand.

The presidential daughter’s extravagant jewelry company, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, apparently owes $5,165.06 in unpaid taxes, according to a warrant issued by the New York state department on Jan. 27.

John Podesta has reiterated his theory the FBI deliberately sabotaged Hillary Clinton’s election campaign, saying there were forces within the bureau that “wanted her to lose.”

A federal judge ruled that a conservative group cannot get State Department records about Clinton’s use of a private server during her tenure as Secretary of State because those documents don’t show evidence of government “malfeasance.”

A man who destroyed Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been sentenced to three years of probation for vandalism.

New NYC Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner David Hansell promised a thorough review of ACS operations, continued reforms at the administration, and a new emphasis on using data to measure program effectiveness.

Immigration advocates urged New York City to impose civil rather than criminal penalties for certain nonviolent offenses to protect immigrants who could be deported if they have a criminal record.

Republican NYC mayoral candidate Paul Massey, in his first news conference, accused de Blasio of being “so distracted by corruption charges that he has no time to actually run the city.” De Blasio said Massey is out of touch.

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Extras

The Department of Homeland Security released a set of documents translating Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security into policy, bringing a major shift in the way the agency enforces the nation’s immigration laws.

NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman: “The Trump regime has dramatically expanded the number of immigrant New Yorkers who could find themselves in the crosshairs of the president’s mass deportation machine. These new rules will result in thousands of lives being ruined and families being torn apart.”

Following Trump’s initial Jan. 27 executive order banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, the demand for travel to the United States took a nosedive, according to data from several travel companies and research firms.

After touring the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, Trump denounced recent threats against Jewish community centers as “horrible…painful” and said more must be done “to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”

Prosecutors in Ukraine are investigating whether a member of Parliament committed treason by working with two associates of Trump’s to promote a plan for settling Ukraine’s conflicts with Russia.

Trump will issue “further guidance” on an Obama administrative policy aimed at protecting transgender students in public schools, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

Milo Yiannopoulos, the incendiary writer and commentator who helped make Breitbart News a leading organ of the “alt-right,” resigned from the news organization today after a video of him endorsing pedophilia surfaced online over the weekend.

Residents in a northwestern suburb of Stockholm predominantly inhabited by immigrants clashed with police officers yesterday – two days after Trump unleashed a vague but pointed critique of Sweden’s migration policies.

After initially saying Trump had only played a few holes in Florida this weekend, the White House reversed itself after professional golfer Rory McIlroy posted on his website that he had played 18 holes with the president.

Dr. Jill Biden, educator and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, has been named board chair of Save the Children.

Newly elected Congressman Adriano Espaillat came under fire during a town hall over the weekend from locals angry about his chosen state senate replacement, Marisol Alcantara’s choice to join the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference.

At a time when the sports talk at the state Capitol is about making baseball the Empire State’s official sport, Queens Sen. James Sanders is looking to boost cricket.

New equipment and additional employees allowed the New York State Police’s forensic laboratory system to speed up testing for drunk driving cases, the governor announced.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat, said he plans to stay in Washington — leaving one less potential challenger to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he faces re-election later this year. Meanwhile, Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick is still contemplating a run.

In his first news conference, Paul Massey, a Republican contender in the New York City mayoral race, took direct aim at de Blasio, accusing him of being “corrupt” and incompetent.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says U.S. AG Jeff Sessions must recuse himself from any investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s dealings with Russia.

Schumer predicted that Republicans will split with Trump within months unless the administration changes course, explaining: “A lot of the Republicans, they’re mainstream people…They will feel they have no choice but to break with him.”

New York made Forbes’ list of the “10 worst states for higher earners.”

Republican Chairman John Antoniello has resigned as head of the Staten Island party, temporarily passing the baton to First Vice Chairman Bill D’Ambrosio, as three potential permanent chairs battle for the votes of party bosses.

The online poker community is hopeful that a bill to categorize their pastime as a game of skill in New York, thereby legalizing it, has a shot at becoming law this year.

Runaway bull in Queens! He was captured, and was supposed to be going to an animal sanctuary instead of back to the slaughterhouse from which he escaped, but unfortunately died.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

State lawmakers are home in their districts (or on vacation) for a mid-winter break. Ditto, members of Congress.

At 8 a.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosts a breakfast for faith leaders, Office of the Manhattan Borough President, 1 Centre St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul tours the Lighthouse Women’s Residence for Substance Abuse Treatment, Buffalo Municipal House Authority Complex, 244 Hempstead Ave., Buffalo.

At 10 a.m., Hochul welcomes new Americans at a naturalization ceremony, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Aven., Buffalo.

Also at 10 a.m., Fight Back Bay Ridge of Brooklyn and Staten Island Women Who March hold rally outside of Republican Rep. Dan Donovan’s office, to demand he represent them and their support of the Affordable Care Act, and that he hold an in-person town hall meeting with his constituents, 7308 13th Ave., Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a press conference on the future of the Administration for Children’s Services, The Children’s Center, 492 1st Ave., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Assembly members Ron Kim, Clyde Vanel and Stacey Pheffer Amato, Sen. Jose Peralta and local leaders will be meeting at Flushing Town Hall to announce new legislative measures aimed at helping small businesses, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing, Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC taxi drivers hold march and protest against Taxi and Limousine Commission Practices, including “astronomical fees for summons/first time applicants,” Nagel Avenue and Dyckman Street, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams launches the 2017 edition of Dine In Brooklyn, the borough’s restaurant week celebrating and promoting the “local foodie culture,” Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 11:15 a.m., Republican NYC mayoral candidate Paul Massey holds a press conference to “expose Bill de Blasio’s historic network of corruption,” City Hall, Manhattan.

At noon, Sen. Daniel Squadron will kick off a tour of senior centers across his district to organize against a state budget proposal that could have serious unintended consequences for senior centers, Eileen Dugan Senior Center, Court Street, Brooklyn.

Also at noon, Urban Youth Collaborative, Desis Rising Up and Moving, The Point, Girls for Gender Equity, and Rockaway Youth Task Force are joined by NYC Councilman Antonio Reynoso to protest what they describe as “the unrelenting over-policing of students of color in New York City,” City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Sen. Terrence Murphy and other local officials will announce the New York State Water Infrastructure Relief Act, which provides details on the use of the proposed $5,000,000,000 Clean Water Bond Act of 2017, Yorktown heights Rail Trail, 284 Saw Mill River Rd., Yorktown Heights.

Also at 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Rory Lancman, NYCLU and attorneys identify specific actions de Blasio needs to take to protect immigrants from possible deportation under Trump, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., as part of efforts to craft legislation raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, IDC members David Carlucci and Jeff Klein will host a roundtable discussion keynoted by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, Ossining Town/Village Hall, 14 Croton Ave., Ossining.

At 5 p.m., Reps. Jose Serrano and Adriano Espaillat host a Dominican Heritage Month celebration in the Bronx, with local community groups and advocates, Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd., the Bronx.

Also at 5 p.m., CUNY Board of Trustees members meet, CUNY Baruch College Vertical Campus, 55 Lexington Ave., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio participates in a town hall meeting with NYC Councilman Andy Cohen and Bronx residents, MS/HS ‎368 In-Tech Academy, 2975 Tibbett Ave., the Bronx.

Headlines…

President Trump appointed Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as his new national security adviser picking a widely respected military strategist known for challenging conventional thinking and helping to turn around the Iraq war in its darkest days.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn received about $40,000 for his appearance at a 2015 party for the Russian government-funded TV channel RT — one of a handful of visits to Moscow that the disgraced ex-Trump aide is under scrutiny for.

Trump plans to issue a revised version of his temporary travel ban targeting majority-Muslim countries as early as today, with a likely focus on fewer people so it will survive legal challenges.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appears to be at odds with Trump on Russia and other key issues, setting up potential discord but also helping to nudge the White House toward more conventional policy stances.

Trump criticized Sweden’s immigration policies after walking back his suggestion that a major incident had recently occurred in the Nordic country. “The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!” he tweeted.

Instead of celebrating Presidents’ Day, thousands of demonstrators lined Central Park to protest Trump, saying his election win was “illegitimate” and his policies dangerous. Similar “Not My President’s Day” rallies took place across the country.

Vice President Mike Pence said that the U.S. commitment to the European Union is “steadfast and enduring,” seeking to reassure European leaders anxious about Washington’s direction under the new administration.

While he is planning on staying in Washington next weekend to prepare for his first joint address to Congress, businesses in Palm Beach say they have been told to expect the President at Mar-a-Lago (AKA: The Winter White House) every weekend until May.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s oldest daughter and a convert to Judaism, issued a statement over Twitter calling for “religious tolerance” after a new wave of threats against Jewish community centers. It was her most vocal foray into a public discussion to date.

In the weeks since losing the election, Hillary Clinton has gone to four Broadway shows — often enough that industry wags joke about making her a Tony voter.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a polemical Breitbart editor and unapologetic defender of the alt-right, lost both his speaking post at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference and his book deal after publication of a video in which he condones sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and laughs off the seriousness of pedophilia by Roman Catholic priests.

Russia’s combative ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, apparently died of a heart attack in Manhattan at the age of 64, officials and sources said.

Trump-hating residents at a posh Upper West Side co-op building decided to celebrate Presidents Day weekend by plastering their windows with signs denouncing the new commander in chief — setting off a war with building management, which ordered them to cut it out.

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison are the top contenders for chair of the Democratic National Committee. The contest is looking more and more like a Bernie Sanders-Clinton rematch, and a vote will take place this weekend.

Eleven passengers strolled through a security lane without being screened at Kennedy Airport early yesterday after Transportation Security Administration agents left the area unsupervised, law enforcement sources said.

For more than two hours hours, Capital Region Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko took questions at a town hall meeting on, among other topics, environmental policies pushed by Trump, the manufacturing workforce, efforts to repeal of the Affordable Care Act and hate crimes that have gained considerable attention since the election.

NYC Mayor Bill de Basio said he’s “very open” to banning plastic bags outright after the state legislature and Cuomo blocked a city law to impose a five cent fee on the bags.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced he’s running for a forth term, and is poised to attempt to equal the longest serving mayor in the city’s history, Jimmy Griffin, who served from 1978 to 1994.

Share Better, an anti-Airbnb coalition that includes politicians and the hotel industry, is launching a new ad campaign and website today warning about a new law cracking down on the advertising of illegal short-term rentals and the costs of violating it.

David Hansell, who held top jobs with the city, state and federal governments before going to work for the giant accounting and consulting firm KPMG, has been tapped by de Blasio to take over the embattled NYC Administration for Children’s Services.

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