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March 23, 2014

Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a victory lap Sunday on Face the Nation, telling host Bob Schieffer that President Obama's "naiveté" and "faulty judgment" on Russia precipitated the situation in Ukraine. And Romney — whom Obama mocked in a presidential debate for suggesting that Russia is America's top "geopolitical foe" — explained how, had he been elected, he would have threatened Moscow so much it wouldn't have dared to mess with another country.

"Unfortunately, not having anticipated Russia's intentions, the president wasn't able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you're seeing in the Ukraine, as well as the things that you're seeing in Syria," he said.

"This is not Fantasyland, this is reality where they are a geopolitical adversary," he added.

So what would Romney have done differently? More and earlier sanctions, accompanied by threats of other unspecified "things."

Had we, from the very beginning of the demonstrations in Ukraine, had we worked with our allies and said, "Look, let's talk about the kinds of severe sanctions we would put in place if Russia were to decide to move," and had we then communicated that to Russia beforehand, not put in place the sanctions but communicate, "Look, Russia, stand down here. Don't you think about grabbing territory or these are the things that will have to happen. These are the actions we will take." [Face the Nation]

Jon Terbush

12:27 a.m. ET

President Trump had a big weekend, and Jimmy Fallon's caricature of the 45th president laid out the highlights on Tuesday's Tonight Show. "In case you didn't hear the news, I'll tell you now: I shot four under par, my best golf score yet," he said. "But that's not what the fake news media reported on, so it's time for me to take matters into my own, abnormally gigantic hands. The only way to ensure that the news you're watching isn't fake is if I'm the one delivering it, which is why I'm starting the Trump News Network." With a snap of his fingers, Fallon's Trump was behind the TNN anchor desk.

The first Trump news story was about the super-real attack in Sweden. (Just ask Sweden!) "Nextly, President Me just announced his pick for national security adviser, H.R. McMaster," Fallon's Trump said. "Now normally when I'm talking to H.R. it's because one of my female employees is threatening to sue, but now H.R. is going to stand for Huge Ratings." His next segment was on sports, touting a "new study" that "finds that golf is totally work." After a brief weather report from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (Jo Firestone), Trump ditched today's fake stories for tomorrow's, hitting his "Bad Things Button." It created some bad news for Finland, if you can believe it. You can watch Fallon's borderline too-close-to-reality-for-parody TNN rollout below. Peter Weber

February 21, 2017

Fielding questions from her constituents for a whole 45 minutes wore down Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Tuesday, causing her to flee and the audience to roar.

Ernst was in the tiny town of Maquoketa, population 6,062, for a roundtable with veterans. When she arrived at city hall, slipping through a side door, she found 100 people crammed inside the room, CNN reports, with dozens more filling the hallways and atrium. The microphone being used by constituents repeatedly cut in and out, frustrating people in the room who couldn't hear what was being said, and Ernst only took one question from a non-veteran, a man who asked her about the Affordable Care Act. When she uttered the words "health savings accounts," Ernst was met with a chorus of boos.

The meeting came to a jarring end after only 45 minutes, despite a long line of people waiting at the microphone to ask more questions, causing the crowd to boo and jeer. One of the attendees, Deb Sperry, 61, told CNN she drove 45 miles to the event because Ernst "never has any type of town hall or meeting with her constituents" where she lives. The senator says she is in the "early stages" of visiting every county in Iowa, but critics say Ernst's visits often take the form of private tours of factories and businesses and she hasn't had any public events in towns where people outnumber livestock. If Tuesday's meeting — which ended with the crowd shouting "We want our voices heard!" and "Your last term!" as she made a hasty exit — is any indication of the events to come, Ernst might want to consider holding her next roundtable in an undisclosed corn field. Catherine Garcia

February 21, 2017

For about an hour on Tuesday, the Statue of Liberty had a caption: "Refugees Welcome."

Activists moved quickly in the early afternoon, unfurling a 3-by-20 foot banner with the pro-refugee message and affixing it to the public observation deck at the top of the statue's pedestal, National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis told the New York Daily News. This violated park rules, Willis said, which prohibit items from being attached to the statue.

On Twitter, a group calling itself "Alt Lady Liberty" claimed it was behind the banner, saying they are "private citizens who felt like we needed to say something about the America we believe in." One of the activists said their grandparents met in a refugee camp in the aftermath of World War II, and President Trump's executive order banning refugees from entering the U.S. hit close to home. "We wanted to send a reminder about America when we're at our best — the country that's a beacon of freedom to the world, built by immigrants," the activist said. "Walling off countries or entire religions is against our values." Catherine Garcia

February 21, 2017
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

While the welcome Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received from the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce was warm, it was downright frosty outside, where hundreds of protesters gathered chanting, "Shame on Mitch! Shame on Mitch!"

The Kentucky Republican is spending the week in his home state, and on Tuesday, he spoke with the Chamber of Commerce about rolling back regulations and the Affordable Care Act. Protesters assembled outside hours ahead of McConnell's appearance, with one demonstrator, Debbie Rowe, telling WLKY she was there because she doesn't "feel that Mitch McConnell represents the people of Kentucky anymore. I think he represents Washington and his own pocket."

Safely inside the building, McConnell said that even though he disagreed with the protesters, he was "proud" of them for showing up. "They don't share my agenda, but I respect their right to be there," he told WLKY. President Trump doesn't share McConnell's sentiments, tweeting on Tuesday night that "the so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!" Trump must have missed McConnell's comments after his meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, when he said the president "would serve himself better by not having as many controversies surrounding his statements because it tends to take us off message." Catherine Garcia

February 21, 2017
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A federal judge in Austin issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday that keeps Texas from cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood over videos released by anti-abortion activists.

In his ruling, Judge Sam Sparks said state health officials did not present any evidence of any violations by the program and "such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider." There are 34 Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas, serving more than 120,000 patients, including 11,000 on Medicaid. Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state received $4.2 million in Medicaid funding in the 2015 fiscal year, and Planned Parenthood estimates it received about $3 million in 2016. The organization says that none of that money went to abortions, but rather services like HIV and cancer screenings.

In 2016, following the release by an anti-abortion group of heavily edited videos it claimed showed Planned Parenthood representatives discussing prices for fetal tissue collected from abortion, a Texas grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing and indicted two anti-abortion activists involved in the video for document fraud, with those charges later dismissed, Reuters reports. Catherine Garcia

February 21, 2017
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Months after it came to light that Wells Fargo employees created as many as 2 million fraudulent accounts in the names of bank customers without permission, the company announced Tuesday that it has fired four senior managers. They will not receive a bonus for 2016 and will forfeit their unvested equity awards and vested outstanding options, Wells Fargo said.

The board unanimously agreed to terminate Shelley Freeman, former Los Angeles regional president and current head of consumer credit solutions; Pamela Conboy, Arizona lead regional president; Matthew Raphaelson, head of community bank strategy and initiatives; and Claudia Russ Anderson, former community bank chief risk officer. Wells Fargo did not explain how the fired executives were connected to the unauthorized accounts scandal.

The bank agreed in September to pay an $185 million settlement with several agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and said it fired around 5,300 workers in connection with the scandal. Last month, Wells Fargo reported that 200,000 fewer checking accounts were opened and new customer credit card applications dropped 47 percent compared with the same month a year earlier. Catherine Garcia

February 21, 2017
Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Two Muslim-Americans activists launched a crowdfunding campaign Tuesday to raise money to repair a historic Jewish cemetery in St. Louis that was vandalized over the weekend. Within two hours, the fundraising campaign started by Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi had already surpassed its goal of $20,000. "Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration, and violence in America," the crowdfunding webpage read.

More than 100 headstones were toppled or damaged in the attacks, believed to have happened late Sunday night or early Monday. Investigators are reviewing surveillance footage to help identify suspects.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who is Jewish, has condemned the attacks as "despicable" and "cowardly" and requested volunteers to help him clean up the cemetery Wednesday afternoon. The Missouri House of Representatives in Jefferson City held a moment of silence Tuesday for the cemetery, which opened in 1893. "Anxiety is high. Your loved ones are there. Your memories are there," said Karen Aroesty, the St. Louis regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

The cemetery attack marks the second instance of anti-Semitic violence this week alone, after bomb threats were called into 11 Jewish community centers nationwide on Monday. Since early January, 54 Jewish community centers across 27 states have faced threats. Becca Stanek

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