* Evan Perez, Laura Jarrett, and Katelyn Polantz report that the long-awaited conclusion of Robert Mueller's investigation could actually be upon us:
Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller's confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans.
The preparations are the clearest indication yet that Mueller is nearly done with his almost two-year investigation.
The precise timing of the announcement is subject to change.
The scope and contours of what Barr will send to Congress remain unclear. Also unclear is how long it will take Justice officials to prepare what will be submitted to lawmakers.
Call me crazy, but I’m guessing the president will not be pleased with the conclusions.
* Natasha Korecki reports that 2020 is already looking like 2016 in one major way:
A wide-ranging disinformation campaign aimed at Democratic 2020 candidates is already underway on social media, with signs that foreign state actors are driving at least some of the activity.
The main targets appear to be Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), four of the most prominent announced or prospective candidates for president.
A POLITICO review of recent data extracted from Twitter and from other platforms, as well as interviews with data scientists and digital campaign strategists, suggests that the goal of the coordinated barrage appears to be undermining the nascent candidacies through the dissemination of memes, hashtags, misinformation and distortions of their positions. But the divisive nature of many of the posts also hints at a broader effort to sow discord and chaos within the Democratic presidential primary.
We don’t yet know if Russia is involved. But why wouldn’t they be, when their last effort in this area was such a smashing success?
* Lyhn Bui has the harrowing story of a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and white nationalist who was arrested with a massive stockpile of guns for allegedly planning to carry out a massive domestic terror attack.
* Robert Barnes reports that the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Constitution's ban on excessive fines applies to states and localities, which could put a dent in the asset forfeitures that have become such a scourge in so many places.
* Margaret Sullivan explains why CNN's decision to hire a former Trump administration flak with zero journalistic experience to help oversee its coverage of the 2020 election is even worse than it looks.
* A new Quinnipiac poll shows voters in Virginia saying Ralph Northam should not resign, by a margin of 48-42.
* Laura Strickler, Suzy Khimm, and Cory Dawson investigate the complete failure of Secretary Ben Carson’s “signature” initiative at HUD.
* And Jennifer Rubin looks at all the ways Lindsey Graham perfectly captures the GOP’s decline.