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Morning Joe hot mic chatter fuels Trump favoritism charges & more news

It’s Tuesday morning and hopefully you’ve eased into the week. But don’t strain yourself — wake up gently with these news headlines. 

1. Hot mic, fast leak

A perhaps overly friendly conversation between Donald Trump and the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe was recorded when Trump, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski thought their mics were off during commercial breaks. In the recording, Brzezinski can be heard asking, “You don’t want me to do the [questions] on deportation?” and Trump replies, “That’s right, Mika. Nothing too hard.” MSNBC has long been accused of being “too cozy” and “in the bag” for Trump. — CNN Money

2. Doctored tape, fired spokesman

Ted Cruz has fired his communication director Rick Tyler after Tyler apparently doctored a video to make the recording look like Marco Rubio was denigrating the Bible. The video’s original subtitles made it seem that Rubio was saying there were “not many answers” in there; in fact, he said “all the answers” are in there. — Slate

3. What happens in Vegas

The Republican Nevada caucuses are today, in which Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio hope to break Donald Trump’s two-state winning streak. Nevada is the last state to vote before next week’s Super Tuesday, when 13 states hold their primaries or caucuses, so this is Cruz and Rubio’s last chance to change the narrative from “Trump is inevitable” to “Rubio is the comeback kid” or even “Cruz is more human than we thought he was.” — The New York Times

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4. Breaking ranks

GOP opposition to Obama’s nominating a new Supreme Court justice is not a solid wall of obstructionism, as it turns out: Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk, who faces tough opposition this fall in a state that’s trended more Democratic in recent years, published an op-ed in the Chicago Sun Times stating that the president has the right to nominate Supreme Court justices. Senator Susan Collins of Maine made similar remarks in an interview with CNN. Most Americans believe that the Senate should hold hearings on an Obama nominee. — Slate

5. Knock, knock

Ted Cruz has gone on record saying he would have federal agents hunt down undocumented immigrants and deport them, a statement in direct contradiction to his remarks on the subject in January, when he said he wouldn’t have “jackboots” knocking on every door. Fox News‘ Bill O’Reilly asked Cruz on Monday night if he would “go look for them” — including deporting a hypothetical father with kids in this country — and Cruz replied, “You’d better believe it.” Cue the jackboots. — NBC News

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6. Michigan rampage

Jason Brian Dalton, who allegedly shot and killed six people in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Saturday, was arraigned yesterday and charged with six counts of murder. Authorities are piecing together bits of information about Dalton’s actions before and during the rampage and are still coming up short on a motive. Dalton was apparently a regular at a local gun store, where he caused no one any alarm; police found 11 rifles in his house. Dalton has a wife and two children. — CNN

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