After the networks called the Michigan and Mississippi primaries for Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner gave a free-flowing, bonkers press conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. Just…watch:

Should Donald Trump become president, he would have a slew of lofty foreign policy promises to fulfill. Trump has vowed to decapitate ISIS, persuade Mexico to pay for a wall along the border, and impose harsh penalties on imports from China, and he's said he would "probably get along with [Russian President Vladimir Putin] very well." So who's advising the Republican front-runner on his foreign policy platform? On Tuesday's episode of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Trump struggled to confirm the existence of a foreign policy team on his campaign, just a day after his rival Marco Rubio unveiled an 18-member National Security Advisory Council.

As reported by NBC News' Ali Vitali, Trump stumbled over a question from Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski.

Somehow, Brzezinski's co-host Joe Scarborough managed to respond to her question even more bumblingly than Trump.

On the campaign trail, Sen. Bernie Sanders often mentions his work as a civil rights activist in the early 1960s, when he was a campus organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). As a leader of the University of Chicago chapter, he led sit-ins to protest racial discrimination at university-owned properties and picketed a Howard Johnson's restaurant.

Now we know a little bit more. L.E.J. Rachell, a researcher with the CORE Project, which is dedicated to collecting and preserving the records of CORE, recently uploaded four documents offering more details about Sanders' involvement with the group. During this period in 1961, UChicago's CORE chapter was sending white and black volunteers to university-owned housing facilities in the neighborhood to determine if the school was honoring its anti-discrimination policy.

The most interesting of the CORE Project documents is a testimonial written by Sanders himself. In it, he details a "test" he conducted of a hotel just off campus. He visited to see if it would rent a room to his older brother, Larry, and the clerk assured him that they would. When UChicago CORE finished its testing, the results were clear—rooms that were available to white students were not available to black students. The next year they launched a series of sit-ins to force the university's hand.

Take a look:

The CORE Project

Here's a testimonial from Wallace Murphy, an African American man who visited the university realty offices to inquire about an apartment rental one week before Sanders' drop-in:

The CORE Project

Castille with fellow Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices in September 2011

The US Supreme Court heard arguments last week as to whether Ronald D. Castille, a former chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, should have stepped aside from considering the appeal of a death penalty case he personally greenlighted when he was Philadelphia's district attorney.

It seems pretty obvious, doesn't it? "He made the most important decision that could be made in this case," Justice Elena Kagan commented during oral arguments.

Castille didn't think so. Back in 2012, public defenders for Terrence Williams—who was convicted and sentenced to death at age 18 for murdering a 56-year-old named Amos Norwood—asked Castille to step aside because he oversaw the prosecutors who handled the case. The judge explained to the New York Times that he was merely functioning as an administrator. "I didn't try the case," he said, according to the paper. "I wasn't really involved in the case except as the leader of the office."

But Castille had additional baggage that raise questions about his involvement.

An appeals judge found that Andrea Foulkes, the prosecutor who tried Williams on Castille's watch, had deliberately withheld key evidence from the defense—and thereby the jury. Norwood, the victim, had started a relationship with Williams when the boy was 13 and abused him, sexually and otherwise, for years. Although the details weren't known at the time, the prosecution suppressed trial evidence suggesting Norwood had an unnatural interest in underage boys.

Williams had previously killed another older man he'd been having sex with—51-year-old Herbert Hamilton. (Williams was 17 at the time of the crime.) The jury in that case, presented with evidence of their relationship, voted against the death penalty and convicted Williams of third-degree murder, a lesser charge. But Foulkes, who prosecuted both cases, told the Norwood jury that Williams had killed Norwood "for no other reason but that a kind man offered him a ride home."

So there's that. And then, as death penalty appeals lawyer Marc Bookman points out in an in-depth examination of the Williams prosecutions for Mother Jones, Castille was a big fan of the death penalty:

In the five years before the Williams case came onto its docket, the court, led by Chief Justice Ronald Castille, had ruled in favor of the death penalty 90 percent of the time. This wasn't too surprising, given that Castille had been elected to his judgeship in 1993 as the law-and-order alternative to a candidate he labeled soft on crime…

"Castille and his prosecutors sent 45 people to death row during their tenure, accounting for more than a quarter of the state's death row population," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted in 1993. "Castille wears the statistic as a badge. And he is running for the high court as if it were exclusively the state's chief criminal court rather than a forum for a broad range of legal issues." Castille was pretty clear about where he stood: "You ask people to vote for you, they want to know where you stand on the death penalty," he told the Legal Intelligencer, a law journal. "I can certainly say I sent 45 people to death row as District Attorney of Philadelphia. They sort of get the hint."

Castille also had it out for Williams' defenders, with whom his old office was at odds. Bookman again:

Castille had a fraught relationship with the Federal Community Defender Office, a group of lawyers who represent numerous death row inmates, including Williams. Castille claimed that federal lawyers had no business appearing in state courts. He complained bitterly over the years about their "prolix and abusive pleadings" and about all the resources they dedicated to defending death row inmates—"something one would expect in major litigation involving large law firms."

The defenders, for their part, routinely filed motions arguing that Castille had no business ruling on the appeals of prisoners whose prosecutions he had approved—particularly not in a case in which his office was found to have suppressed evidence helpful to the defense. But as chief justice, Castille had the last word. He denied all such motions, and accused the federal defenders of writing "scurrilously," making "scandalous misrepresentations," and having a "perverse worldview."

It's not too hard to predict which way the Supreme Court will rule—although whether their decision helps Williams get a resentencing is another matter. America's justice system makes it unbelievably hard to get a second chance once you are convicted of a serious crime.

But all of this brings up a broader, question: Prosecutors like Castille are appointed to the bench in far greater numbers than former defenders—even President Barack Obama has perpetuated this trend. Which is why it was so worthy of note that California Gov. Jerry Brown, under federal pressure to reduce incarceration in the Golden State, has broken with his predecessors and moved in the other direction. Northern California public station KQED recently pointed out that more than a quarter of Brown's 309 judicial appointments have been former public defenders, whereas only 14 percent were once DAs. (31 percent had some prosecutorial experience.) From that report:

"We never had a tradition that said to be a judge you had to be a district attorney. That developed probably in the '90s," Brown said. "The judges are supposed to be independent. You want judges that have a commercial background, you want judges that have a prosecutorial background, city attorneys, or county counsel, or small practice, plaintiffs' practice—you want a diversity, instead of kind of a one note fits all."

When it comes down to it, politicians are still eager to appear tough on crime. But is it really good policy—financially or ethically—to stack the bench with judges who are accustomed to being rated according to the number of people they lock away?

"Most district attorney judges that I've experienced are unable to divorce themselves from their background once they become a judge," Michael Ogul, president of the California Public Defenders Association, told KQED. "They are still trying to help the prosecution, they are still trying to move the case toward conviction or toward a harsher punishment." 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Monday that he has ruled out a presidential bid. In an editorial on Bloomberg View, Bloomberg wrote that he feared his entry into the race would only strengthen Republican front-runner Donald Trump's chances at the White House.

"As the race stands now, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz," he said. "That is not a risk I can take in good conscience."

Read Bloomberg's editorial in its entirety here.

Republicans not named "Donald J. Trump" are throwing everything they can at the GOP front-runner. The growing anti-Trump movement is pouring more than $10 million into ads targeting the real estate mogul in the upcoming primary battleground states of Illinois and Florida in an effort to stymie Trump's momentum. But Trump, who has continually turned the conventional campaign wisdom on its head this race, is hoping to use the anti-Trump ads against his rivals with a much cheaper—but so far effective—medium: his social media accounts.

Trump did not dominate Super Saturday the way he did Super Tuesday last week. Though he won states like Kentucky and Louisiana, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas performed well enough to keep Trump's candidacy on this side of inevitability. Trump has now turned his attention to the next round of important primaries—perhaps none so pivotal as the Florida primary on March 15—using, of course, his Twitter account.

Trump is hoping to turn his Twitter fingers into trigger fingers and aim squarely at Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and the rest of the GOP establishment. In a series of tweets on Monday morning, Trump vowed to use Facebook and Twitter to combat commercials aired by other candidates using more traditional media and, more specifically, to "expose dishonest lightweight Senator Marco Rubio."

Trump has had success posting bombastic comments on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, while his competitors spend much more money on television and radio ads. But with Trump struggling among late-deciding voters, it's not clear that doubling down on his social media strategy will succeed in countering a moneyed advertising blitz.

In thirty-eight US states, women are required by law to receive abortion counseling from their physician before undergoing the procedure. But often these women are getting medically inaccurate and misleading information about the procedure from government-authored informational brochures, according to a new study from Rutgers University.

Informed consent laws became popular among state legislatures after the Supreme Court's 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, which said, among other things, that states could require abortion counseling to ensure women's decisions are "informed." Though the laws vary state by state, they most commonly require that an abortion physician give women, either verbally or in writing, specific, state-authored information on gestational development, physical characteristics of the fetus, and risks associated with abortion. The laws often go hand-in-hand with waiting period requirements. In Missouri, for example, a 2014 law requires that women receive in-person counseling on abortion 72 hours ahead of the appointment.

"States say women are ignorant of the health risks of abortion and the development of the fetus, so these laws will inform them" says Cynthia R. Daniels, a political science professor at Rutgers and the study's lead author. "That's justified because lawmakers say women often come to regret their decision, so counseling will help them avoid regret."

But nearly one-third of that counseling, and over 40 percent in some states, includes information that's scientifically or medically inaccurate, according to Daniels' report. To study the counseling, Daniels and her team compiled the informed consent brochures from 23 states and brought in a team of experts in embryonic and fetal development from the American Association of Anatomists to review the material and rate each statement of fact for scientific and biological accuracy as well as the extent to which the statement is misleading.

The researchers found that just over 40 percent of information in the materials, which are prepared by the state and given to doctors, is completely accurate, and that 31 percent of that information is inaccurate (the remaining 27 percent were rated more accurate than inaccurate). Thirty-three percent of the materials was also misleading, meaning it gives the wrong impression, according to the researchers.

The highest percentage of inaccuracies were related to the first trimester of pregnancy, when 90 percent of abortions occur. In Michigan, where informational texts were 45 percent inaccurate, women learn that in the fourth week of pregnancy, the embryo's head forms, by week six brain activity can be recorded and the fetus's eyes open, and by the twelfth week, soft nails have grown on the fingers and toes. And in North Carolina, women read that by six weeks "the heart is pumping the embryo's own blood to the brain and body," and by week nine, the hands move and the neck turns. The researchers rated each of these statements as completely inaccurate.

"This is giving people the wrong impression of what is happening to them" says Grace Howard, a PhD candidate at Rutgers and one of the study's authors. "It also undermines the legitimacy of the medical profession, because physicians are being compelled by law to make these inaccurate statements."

Daniels and Howard also say that, given the level of misinformation, the state-authored brochures may be unconstitutional. Though the Supreme Court's 1992 Casey decision upheld the constitutionality of informed consent laws, the content also must be "truthful and not misleading" and designed "to convey only accurate scientific information about the unborn child."

"There aren't many of us who would want a state legislator sitting in our doctor's office with us," says Daniels, "We want to feel that relationship is unconstrained by politics, and this study suggests they are not."

 

Donald Trump, Don't Take the BaitThe "machine's" deception and nonsensical attack on Trump isn't really an attack on the candidate, it's an attack on conscientious, hardworking, patriotic Americans who know we need a revolution to stop the complicit politicians who are fundamentally transforming America. We found the revolutionary. Donald Trump is the shock the Permanent Political Class needs to wake them up... to destroy their selfish cabal... to respect the will of the people... to make America safe and solvent... to make America great again. Don't take the bait, Mr. Trump. It's not about you. It's about us. And we've got your back. - Sarah Palin https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zSpQaqoTnnMhttp://theconservativetreehouse.com/

Posted by Sarah Palin on Thursday, March 3, 2016

Since receiving her endorsement prior to the Iowa caucus, the Donald Trump campaign has kept its Sarah Palin card close to the vest, but Mitt Romney's Thursday morning rebuke of the GOP front-runner spurred Palin to return fire.

The video, posted to Palin's Facebook page, calls into question Romney's credentials as a "great conservative."

"The 'machine's' deception and nonsensical attack on Trump isn't really an attack on the candidate," Palin wrote under the Facebook video, "it's an attack on conscientious, hardworking, patriotic Americans who know we need a revolution to stop the complicit politicians who are fundamentally transforming America. We found the revolutionary. Donald Trump is the shock the Permanent Political Class needs to wake them up…to destroy their selfish cabal…to respect the will of the people…to make America safe and solvent…to make America great again."

"Don't take the bait, Mr. Trump. It's not about you. It's about us. And we've got your back."

Donald Trump addressed a frenzied crowd in Portland, Maine, on Thursday afternoon during a campaign press conference.

The GOP front-runner hit all his usual marks—calls for building a border wall and deporting undocumented immigrants, reading polls from pieces of paper he pulls from his inside jacket pocket—but devoted a fair chunk of his time to lashing back against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who publicly criticized Trump and questioned whether he was fit to be president.

"Mitt is a failed candidate. He failed. He failed horribly," Trump said in response to Romney's criticism.

"Mitt is a failed candidate. He failed. He failed horribly," Trump said. "That was a race—I have to say, folks—that should have been won. That was a race that absolutely should have been won. He disappeared, and I wasn't happy about it, to be honest, because I am not a fan of Barack Obama."

Romney had begged for his support, Trump claimed, during Romney's bid to unseat President Obama in 2012: "You can see how loyal he was, he was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, 'Drop to your knees!' and he would have dropped to his knees."

Trump also claimed he intimidated Romney, who "choked" and "chickened out" of running for president in 2016.

Romney responded to Trump's comments in a tweet posted on 2:13 p.m. Eastern.

Responding to recent criticism that he has been overly occupied with Donald Trump's presidential campaign, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie held a press conference on Thursday to defend his recent endorsement of the real estate magnate and reassure his state's residents that he remains focused on the state's agenda.

"I am not a full-time surrogate for Donald Trump," Christie said. "I do not have a title or position in the Trump campaign. I am an endorser."

Since Christie shocked the political world by by endorsing the GOP presidential front-runner—a move that gave establishment cred to Trump's outsider campaign—several newspapers in New Jersey have derided Christie and called on him to resign, pointing to his extended absences from Trenton.

Christie's endorsement of Trump has won him no praise within Republican circles. And on Super Tuesday night, when Trump racked up a string of significant victories, Christie appeared less than thrilled to be up on stage with him. He was wildly mocked on social media for looking like a hostage or a fellow with a profound case of buyer's remorse. (Read this.)

Hogwash, Christie declared at the press conference: "I was standing there listening to him. All those arm-chair psychiatrists should give it a break. No, I wasn't being held hostage."

Still, he felt it was necessary to deny it.