By Jack Fitzpatrick (@jackfitzdc)
TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the weather is a major reason job growth has been slow the last two months. She also ruled out any possibility of the Fed regulating bitcoins. Rep. Ed Pastor announced he will retire at the end of his term after 23 years in Congress, and potential successors in his district immediately started lining up. Ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych is in Russia, but he says he is still the rightful president. Two of the central figures in New Jersey's "Bridgegate" scandal joked about creating another traffic jam for revenge. Bringing animals out of extinction is becoming a possibility, or even a likelihood. And Congress's deficit-reduction efforts have added up to a $3.3 trillion cut from the deficit through 2024.
YELLEN POINTS TO WEATHER ON CHILLY JOBS REPORTS: The cold, snowy weather is at least partly responsible for the slow job growth in the past two months, the Federal Reserve chair told the Senate Banking Committee. (Jonathan Spicer, Reuters)
… AND SAYS THE FED CAN'T REGULATE BITCOINS: Yellen told Sen. Joe Manchin, who has urged the Fed and other regulators to crack down on the decentralized currency, that the Federal Reserve "simply does not have authority to supervise or regulate bitcoin in any way." (Catherine Hollander, NJ)
PASTOR TO RETIRE FROM CONGRESS: The Arizona Democrat will retire at the end of this term, after 23 years in the House. Democratic state Rep. Ruben Gallego confirmed almost immediately on Twitter that he will seek Pastor's seat in the heavily Democratic district. (Cahn/Livingston, Roll Call)
YANUKOVYCH CLAIMS PRESIDENCY FROM RUSSIA; ARMED GROUP SEIZES GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS: The ousted Ukrainian leader released a statement from an undisclosed location in Russia that was still the rightful president, despite being voted out of office by parliament. Meanwhile, masked gunmen took over government buildings in the capital of Ukraine's Crimea region and raised the Russian flag. (Higgins/Myers, NYT)
HOLDER RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL: The attorney general, who experienced faintness and shortness of breath, is now in good condition. (Kaplan/Reid, CBS News)
PELOSI BACKS ESHOO IN ENERGY COMMITTEE: Rep. Henry Waxman's retirement has opened up the top Democratic spot in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Anna Eshoo now has the support of the House minority leader. (Ben Geman, NJ)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: President Obama will speak at 3:30 p.m. at the Student Film Festival about high-speed Internet connectivity in schools, and he will speak at 4:45 p.m. at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will speak at 12:30 p.m. at a Center for American Progress discussion on housing finance reform.
HOW NASA WILL TRACK THE WORLD'S PRECIPITATION: The Global Precipitation Measurement satellite could be a major tool in tracking climate change. (Brown/Flores, NJ)
CHRISTIE AIDES JOKED ABOUT TRAFFIC JAMS A LOT, FOR SOME REASON: Shortly before the George Washington Bridge traffic study, Bridget Anne Kelly joked about a traffic jam in front of a local rabbi's house. (Matt Berman, NJ)
HOW MUCH HAVE THE BUDGET WARS PAID OFF? About $3.3 trillion through 2024, according to Senate Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray. (Lori Montgomery, WaPo)
BRITISH SPIES SURPRISED AT NUMBER OF NAKED PEOPLE ON WEBCAMS: A program allowed the British spy agency to take screenshots from people using Yahoo's webcams, and documents show it was taken aback at how many people used the cameras to "show intimate parts of their body." (Abby Ohlheiser, The Wire)
MAMMOTHS AND PASSENGER PIGEONS WILL RETURN: De-extinction is possible and will happen. But it comes with a few caveats and even more ethical questions. (Nathaniel Rich, NYT)
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TOM STEYER: Before he became the "environment's donor-in-chief," planning to spend $100 million in 2014, Steyer was known for his political efforts on California's ballot measure votes and local races. (Jaime Fuller, WaPo)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Protesters who went to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's estate found a hovercraft, a yacht, and other things you might get from SkyMall. (Mauro Whiteman, NJ)3 CHARTS ON THE PROBLEM WITH DIET COKE: It was supposed to save the soda industry. One look at projected sales shows that it did not. (Roberto Ferdman, Quartz)