On the Hill. At the first congressional hearing about the contamination of Flint’s water supply, government officials fought over who is to blame for the crisis. Darnell Earley, a former Flint emergency manager, refused an invitation to testify, but Representative Jason Chaffetz, the chair of the committee, said he’ll ask U.S. Marshals to “hunt him down” if necessary. (Matthew Daly, Associated Press; Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press)
Mark Your Calendars. As the contest between the two Democratic presidential candidates heats up, the Clinton and Sanders campaigns have negotiated a new slate of debates—the first of which will take place tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC. A spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee confirmed that the debates will be sanctioned. (Greg Sargent, The Washington Post)
Peace Talks Put on Hold. A UN envoy tasked with negotiating an end to the Syrian five-year civil war put the talks in Geneva on hold until February 25. The announcement came after the Syrian government—backed by Russia—claimed a major advancement against the opposition. (BBC)
Tomorrow in One Paragraph: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton square off in a debate at the University of New Hampshire. Donald Trump returns to the fray in New Hampshire, where Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie are also making the rounds.
Follow stories throughout the day with our new Politics & Policy page. And keep on top of the campaign with our 2016 Distilled election dashboard.
“This was the basic problem that Paul’s presidential campaign never managed to solve: He was trying to perform a personality transplant on the Republican Party, and political parties just aren’t that easy to change.” The Atlantic’s Molly Ball on Rand Paul’s failed bid for the presidency.
The Democratic Divide. The party has thus far seemed more united than the GOP, but after Sanders’s near-victory in Iowa, the party is dealing with a split over whether to gravitate toward pragmatism or idealism. (Laura Meckler, The Wall Street Journal)
‘Writing a Script.’ After the racist episodes that “rocked” campus last fall, the University of Missouri—like other schools across the country—is learning how to have blunt conversations about race. (John Eligon, The New York Times)
‘Understanding Zika.’ This video lays out the danger the virus poses: Who’s most at risk and how bad is it? (The New York Times)
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