1/ Alabama lawmakers are considering “clarifying” legislation that would “protect” in vitro fertilization following the state Supreme Court’s ruling that embryos are children and protected under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. With abortion and reproductive rights seen as a major liability for Republicans in 2024, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released talking points instructing Republicans to voice support for the procedure and distance themselves from the ruling. The state’s Republican attorney general said he “has no intention of using the recent Alabama Supreme Court decision as a basis for prosecuting IVF families or providers.” And, Trump called on the Alabama legislature to “act quickly to find an immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama” because Republicans “should always be on the side of the Miracle of Life — and the side of Mothers, Fathers, and their Beautiful Babies.” However, 125 House Republicans — including Speaker Mike Johnson — have cosponsored the “Life at Conception Act,” which clarifies that a “human being” includes “all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.” The bill doesn’t include an exception for in vitro fertilization. Democrats, meanwhile, accused Trump and the Republicans of trying to divert attention away from the role they played in overturning Roe v. Wade. The House Democrats’ main super PAC promised to pour money into attacking Republicans on fertility treatments. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News / Politico / Business Insider / Axios / Politico)

2/ A Republican Oklahoma state senator called the LGBTQ+ community “filth” following the death of 16-year-old nonbinary student Nex Benedict, who died after a fight in a high school bathroom. “We are a Republican state,” Tom Woods said at a legislative forum. “I’m going to vote my district. I’m going to vote my values. And we don’t want that in the state of Oklahoma […] I represent a constituency that doesn’t want that filth in Oklahoma.” Separately, the Oklahoma school superintendent, Ryan Walters, claimed that “radical leftists” had created a narrative about Nex’s death that “hasn’t been true.” Walters added: “There’s not multiple genders. There’s two. That’s how God created us,” saying he didn’t believe that nonbinary or transgender people exist. Transgender students in the school district said that Walters’ rhetoric has been seen by their classmates as permission to harass and bully them at school. In bodycam footage from an interview with Nex at the hospital following the Feb. 7 attack at the school, Nex described how they “got jumped” and “blacked out” while being beaten on the floor of the bathroom by three girls who had previously mocked Nex and their friends “because of the way that we dress.” School district officials said the students involved were in the bathroom for less than two minutes and all of the students “walked under their own power” to the nurse and assistant principal’s office after the fight. Nex died the next day. (Salon / The Independent / The Oklahoman / HuffPost / NBC News / New York Times / Mother Jones / New York Times)

3/ Trump claimed “the Black people” like him because they can relate to his criminal prosecutions and mug shot. After repeatedly citing the 91 felony charges he faces, including racketeering, conspiracy to obstruct justice and falsifying business records, Trump said: “A lot of people said that that’s why the Black people like me, because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against. And they actually viewed me as I’m being discriminated against.” In a speech to the Black Conservative Federation, Trump continued: “When I did the mug shot in Atlanta, that mug shot is number one,” adding the Black population “embraced it more than anyone else […] “I’m being indicted for you, the Black population.” The Biden campaign, meanwhile, called Trump an “anti-Black tyrant” and “the proud poster boy for modern racism.” (Washington Post / ABC News / Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

  • 👑 “My ultimate and absolute revenge”: Trump gives chilling CPAC speech on presidential agenda. “Trump styled himself as a ‘proud political dissident’ and promised ‘judgment day’ for political opponents in an address on Saturday that offered a chilling vision of a democracy in imminent peril.” (The Guardian)

  • 👑 Trump’s CPAC speech showed clear signs of major cognitive decline. Trump claimed that America is on a “fast track to hell” under Biden and the Democrats and that “If crooked Joe Biden and his thugs win in 2024, the worst is yet to come. Our country will sink to levels that are unimaginable.” (Salon)

  • 👑 Trump rambles his way through incoherent Nashville speech. “They want you to say what they want you, what they want to have you say. And we’re not gonna let that happen.” (HuffPost)

  • 👑 Inside Trump’s potential second-term agenda. From nationwide abortion bans to classroom culture wars, assaults on climate science and political weaponization of the military, his return to the White House could make Trump 1.0 seem tame. (Politico)

  • 👑 At CPAC, Trump Invokes Clashing Visions of America’s Future. “He used his speech to focus on a general-election contest between him and President Biden, not once mentioning his main Republican rival, Nikki Haley.” (New York Times)

  • 👑 Dark Trump at CPAC: “Biden’s fast track to hell.” (Axios)

  • Nazis mingle openly at CPAC, spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories and finding allies. “The presence of these extremists has been a persistent issue at CPAC, and in previous years conference organizers have ejected well-known Nazis and white supremacists such as Nick Fuentes.” (NBC News)

4/ Trump appealed the $464 million civil fraud judgment against him in his New York civil fraud case. Trump’s appeal, however, won’t automatically halt enforcement of the judgment: he’ll need to post bond to cover the $364 million and an additional roughly $100 million in interest he was ordered to pay to prevent the New York attorney general’s office from collecting the $464 million he owes. The fine increases by nearly $112,000 per day until he pays. Trump also faces an $83.3 million judgment in an unrelated defamation case and, according to a recent analysis of his finances, he doesn’t have enough cash on hand to cover it all himself. (Associated Press / CNN / Axios / New York Times / CBS News / NBC News / CNBC / Bloomberg)

  • The Manhattan district attorney’s office asked for a gag order in Trump’s criminal case related to hush money payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign. The request – made before the trial even started – noted that Trump’s “longstanding history of attacking witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, judges, and others involved in legal proceedings against him.” The trial is scheduled to begin on March 25. Trump is accused of 34 felonies. (New York Times)

✏️ Notables.

  1. Trump won South Carolina’s Republican primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state. Trump has now won every contest that’s counted for Republican delegates, adding to previous wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Trump has collected 110 delegates so far, while Haley has won 20. The first candidate to win 1,215 delegates will win the Republican presidential nomination. (Associated Press / NPR / Politico)

  2. The chair of the Republican National Committee will step down following Trump’s call for a new RNC leader. Ronna McDaniel will leave on March 8 – days after Super Tuesday. Trump had criticized the RNC for its decision to hold primary debates, which he refused to appear is. Trump said he wants Michael Whatley to be RNC chair and Lara Trump – his daughter-in-law – to be RNC co-chair. (Politico / NPR / Associated Press)

  3. At least one member of the Republican National Committee is trying to stop the party from paying Trump’s legal bills. The effort to keep committee neutral in the primary and to not spend committee funds on Trump’s legal bills comes after Trump called for the RNC’s current leaders to be replaced, and instead install one of his senior campaign advisors and his daughter-in-law in top roles. Lara Trump, meanwhile, suggested that Republicans voters would support the committee paying Trump’s legal bills. (Associated Press / New York Times)

  4. Hungary’s parliament approved Sweden’s bid to join NATO, ending the Nordic country’s more than 200-year history of military non-alignment. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, widely seen as the most pro-Putin leader in the European Union, withheld approval of Sweden’s bid for more than 600 days. That ended after Sweden agreed to send Hungary fighter jets. (Axios / Politico / NPR / New York Times)

  5. The Federal Trade Commission sued to block the $24.6 billion merger of the country’s two largest supermarket chains. The FTC argues that Kroger’s purchase of Albertsons – its biggest rival – would lead to higher prices, lower-quality products and services, and “eliminate fierce competition” for both shoppers and workers. (NPR / CNN / Axios)

  6. House Republicans’ effort to impeach Biden appears to have collapsed after an FBI informant admitted that Russian intelligence was involved in his false claims about the Biden family. “I don’t see it going anywhere substantive,” one House Republican said, adding that there “aren’t close to enough” GOP votes to impeach Biden. (Axios / Politico)

⏩ Notably next: The Supreme Court still hasn’t acted on cases that could determine whether Trump can be kicked off the Colorado primary ballot or can further delay his election interference trial. (NBC News)