The Rundown for Feb. 18, 2019

McCABE ON ’60 MINUTES’… Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said during an interview on “60 Minutes” last night that he was fired last month because he had opened two investigations into Donald Trump. McCabe blamed Trump’s “own words” for the decision to open a counterintelligence probe and obstruction of justice investigation. McCabe said Trump appeared to be trying to “publicly undermine the investigation” by speaking in a “derogatory way” about the Russia investigation for weeks. McCabe cited Trump asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump asking Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to “include Russia” in a memo the President requested outlining reasons to fire Comey, Trump firing Comey, Trump linking his firing of Comey to the Russia investigation in an NBC interview and Trump telling Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting that Comey’s firing relieved “great pressure.” McCabe also claimed that Rosenstein was “absolutely” in favor of opening the investigations.

CALIFORNIA TO SUE OVER TRUMP’S NATIONAL EMERGENCY… California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vowed yesterday that his state will “imminently” challenge President Trump’s national emergency declaration. During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, Becerra called Trump’s effort to obtain funding to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico legally vulnerable, citing Trump’s comment on Friday that he “didn’t need to do this.” According to Becerra, California may be harmed by less federal funding for emergency response services, the military and stopping drug trafficking. Other states are expected to join the effort.

5 DEAD IN MISSISSIPPI SHOOTING… Authorities confirmed yesterday that five people, including the gunman, were killed Saturday in Clinton, Mississippi, after a 12-hour-long hostage standoff at a home. The incident began when police came under fire upon responding to the report of a domestic dispute in progress. The shooter, identified as 34-year-old Nam Le, died from his injuries at a hospital. The victims have not been identified.

HEATHER NAUERT WITHDRAWS AS UN AMBASSADOR… Heather Nauert has withdrawn from consideration for UN ambassador in the wake of a background check that revealed she failed to pay taxes on time and hired a nanny who didn’t have proper work authorization. Nauert, who had been nominated by President Trump, was previously a Fox News show host. She was picked by Trump in December following Nikki Haley’s resignation in October.

WEINER RELEASED FROM PRISON… Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has been released from federal prison to serve out the rest of his sentence in a re-entry center in Brooklyn. Weiner was originally given a 21-month sentence in 2017 for sexting with a minor and served 15 months at Federal Medical Center Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts. He is scheduled to be released in May after having his sentenced reduced for good behavior.

ARIANA GRANDE TOPS ALBUM CHART… Ariana Grande’s new release, “Thank U, Next” sold 360,000 copies to become her fourth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” soundtrack finished in a distant second place with 40,000 units sold. The “Bohemian Rhapsody” soundtrack jumped into second place on sales of 49,000 copies. A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s “Hoodie SZN” dropped to fourth place after selling 43,000 copies. Post Malone’s “beerbongs & bentleys” came in fifth with 39,000 units sold.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE… “Alita: Battle Angel” took in $27.8 million to open atop the weekend box office. Last week’s champ, “THE LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” slipped to second place with $21.2 million. Another newcomer, “Isn’t It Romantic” debuted at No. 3 after banking $14.2 million. “What Men Want” dropped to fourth with $10.’ million. “Happy Death Day 2U” capped the top five with $9.8 million.

PITTSBURGH 6 – N.Y. Rangers 5… Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals 2-1/2 minutes apart in the third period and the Penguins held on to edge the Rangers. Kris Letang also scored twice for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby had three assists.

St. Louis 4 – MINNESOTA 0… The Blues made it three straight shutouts and 10 straight wins by downing the Wild. Goalie Jordan Binnington stopped all 31 shots. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists.

NEW JERSEY 4 – Buffalo 1… Kyle Palmieri scored a goal and set up two others in leading the Devils past the Sabres. Cory Schneider made 34 saves at goal.

Philadelphia 3 – DETROIT 1… Rookie goalie Carter Hart stopped 37 shots and the Flyers topped the Red Wings for their 12th win in 14 games. Ivan Provorov netted a tie-breaking goal early in the third period. Oskar Lindblom opened the scoring with a first-period goal and added an empty-netter.

FLORIDA 6 – Montreal 3… Aleksander Barkov scored three goals in his second career hat trick and also had an assist as the Panthers doubled up on the Canadiens. Mike Hoffman and Keith Yandle each had two assists.

ANAHEIM  5 – Washington 2… The Ducks scored three unanswered goals in the third period to put away the Capitals. Adam Henrique opened the barrage with his second goal of the game and had an assist. Jakub Silfverberg also found the net twice. Corey Perry had a goal and an assist.

Arizona is at Calgary…
Columbus hosts Tampa Bay…
Ottawa is at Chicago…
Colorado hosts Vegas…
Boston is at San Jose…
Los Angeles hosts Washington

#9 Houston 85, TULANE 50…
#11 MICHIGAN STATE 62, Ohio State 44…
ST. JOHN’S 71, #13 Villanova 65

NBA ALL-STAR GAME… Team LeBron rallied from 20s points down to upend Team Giannis 178-164 at yesterday’s NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte. Kevin Durant scored a team-high 31 points and was named the All-Star MVP for the second time in his career. The regular season resumes on Thursday.

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