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March 23, 2014

NATO's supreme allied commander is warning that Russia's annexation of Crimea might not be its last acquisition in the region. According to The Guardian, Gen. Philip Breedlove is concerned that the next target might be the Trans-Dniester region, a Russian-speaking separatist territory that broke away from Moldova in the early 1990s. "There is absolutely sufficient force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Trans-Dniester if the decision was made to do that," Breedlove said. "That is very worrisome."

Russian annexation of Trans-Dniester, which borders on southern Ukraine, near the key port of Odessa, would put a strong Russian military presence along a southwestern front and squeeze Kiev from another direction. Earlier this week, Moldova's president, Nicolae Timofti, said in a news conference that "any decision by Moscow to accept Trans-Dniester 'would be a step in the wrong direction.'" Neither Moldova nor the international community accepts the region as a sovereign nation. --Catherine Garcia

8:16 p.m. ET
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

A U.S. missile defense system that China views as a threat to its own military capabilities was sent to a deployment site in South Korea early Wednesday.

Area residents watched as six trailers carrying Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) equipment arrived at a golf course, and Yonhap news agency reports the delivery caused clashes between the locals and police. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their last flight stage, and meant to counter the threat from North Korea.

North Korea is thought to be readying for its sixth nuclear weapons test. During his visit to South Korea earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence and the country's acting president agreed to an early deployment of the missile defense system. China has been vocal about its opposition to THAAD, as have South Koreans who think it escalates the situation. Catherine Garcia

7:17 p.m. ET
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

An advocacy group is demanding an investigation into a post originally published on the State Department's ShareAmerica website that read like it came straight from the marketing department inside Trump Tower.

On Tuesday, Common Cause filed a complaint with the Office of Government Ethics over the post from early April that went into rhapsodic detail over Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, club that he calls the "Winter White House," even though it is now spring. Since becoming president, Trump has spent half of his weekends at the private club, and after the election, its membership fee doubled to $200,000.

The post also appeared on the websites for the U.S. Embassies in the U.K. and Albania, but after the news broke on Monday, it was was removed. Mark Toner, acting spokesperson for the State Department, said the post was written by the International Information Program, and no one in the administration asked for it. "It was meant to provide historical information and context relevant to the conduct of U.S. diplomacy, and was not intended to endorse or promote any private enterprise," he told NBC News. Common Cause disagrees, and said the post was an "abuse of taxpayer funds" that proves Trump does not separate his business from the government. Another group, American Oversight, also filed a complaint on Tuesday, calling for an investigation into why the glowing post was written and how it came together. Catherine Garcia

5:14 p.m. ET
Stuart Wilson/Getty images For The BFI

The Lion King's beloved warthog-meerkat duo of Pumbaa and Timon could be voiced by comedians Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner in the upcoming live-action remake. The Wrap revealed Tuesday that Rogen and Eichner are reportedly in "final negotiations" to sign onto the film that's being directed by Jon Favreau. Rogen would voice Pumbaa and Eichner would take the part of Timon.

Donald Glover has already agreed to voice Simba, and James Earl Jones will reprise his role from the 1994 animated film as Mufasa. Favreau is reportedly trying to convince Beyoncé to voice Nala.

Disney announced Tuesday that the film is slated to come out on July 19, 2019. Get ready to (hopefully) hear Rogen and Eichner belt out "Hakuna Matata." Becca Stanek

5:03 p.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Trump's executive order that threatened to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities, which refuse to comply with federal immigration orders by protecting undocumented immigrants. Cutting off this money was a key promise of Trump's presidential campaign.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled that the plaintiffs, San Francisco and Santa Clara County, would likely be able to prove Trump's order unconstitutional. Orrick wrote in the preliminary injunction that the order has "caused budget uncertainty" for the counties, and argued that the president "has no authority to attach new conditions to federal immigration spending," The Associated Press reported. "Given the nationwide scope of the order, and its apparent constitutional flaws," Orrick wrote, "a nationwide injunction is appropriate." Becca Stanek

4:17 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Randolph "Tex" Alles will be the next director of the U.S. Secret Service, President Trump announced Tuesday. Alles will take over for Secret Service Deputy Director William Callahan, who stepped up after former Director Joseph Clancy retired in March.

Alles served in the Marines for 35 years, before retiring as a major general in 2011. He is now acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. The New York Times noted Alles will be the first Secret Service director "in at least a century not to have served among the agency's ranks."

Alles will take over an agency that has lately been plagued with scandals and structural issues, amid multiple White House security breaches in recent years. Becca Stanek

3:34 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

President Trump bragged that "no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days" than his, although Amnesty International's new list is probably not what he had in mind. The non-governmental organization published 100 ways Trump has threatened human rights in the U.S. and around the world, ranging from "closing borders and shutting the door to refugees" to "emboldening and arming human rights abusers" to "hostility toward LGBT rights."

"These first 100 days show how dangerous Trump's agenda is, and they're also a roadmap for how to stop it and protect human rights in the U.S. and around the world," said Margaret Huang, the executive director of Amnesty International USA. "When we sat down to document the first 100 days, it didn't take long to identify 100 ways this administration has tried to violate people's human rights. What's incredible isn't just all the ways the Trump administration has tried to deny people freedom, justice, and equality — but all the ways that the public has pushed back and refused to let it happen."

See the full list, with informative drop-down explanations, at Amnesty International. Jeva Lange

3:09 p.m. ET

As much as he hated to say it, conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh admitted Tuesday on his national radio show that he has an inkling President Trump is "caving" on his promise to use the spending bill to get his funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. "I'm very, very troubled to have to pass this on. And I want to say at the outset that I hope my interpretation is wrong, and I hope this is not the case," Limbaugh said. "But it looks like, from here — right here, right now —it looks like President Trump is caving on his demand for a measly $1 billion in the budget for his wall."

Limbaugh argued that Trump should not be intimidated by Democrats' "stupid silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way," which in this case is not funding Trump's border wall. If the government does not pass a budget by its Friday deadline, the government will shut down. However, Limbaugh warned that if Trump forgoes his plan to risk a government shutdown for his proposed border wall, then Democrats "will have just learned that this threat works on Trump too, not just all the other Republicans."

Trump said Monday that he would consider getting his funding for the wall in the fall, instead of as part of the spending bill. On Tuesday, however, Trump tweeted that he has not changed his position on getting the wall built.

Listen to the Limbaugh segment below. Becca Stanek

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