One day after Crimea voted almost unanimously to break from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum the West cast as illegitimate and potentially fraudulent, the White House on Monday announced new sanctions on Russian officials and their cohorts. The executive order accuses Moscow of trying to "undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine" and authorizes the Treasury to target the financial assets of seven government officials as well as "any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry" and anyone who "acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support" to any senior Moscow officials.
The sanctions specifically name seven Russian officials as well as four others, including pro-Russia Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, and ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Russian President Vladimir Putin is not cited by name, with the White House saying such a move would be "highly extraordinary." Still, in a conference call to discuss the sanctions, a White House official called them the "most comprehensive sanctions applied against Russia since the end of the Cold War."
If President Obama had The Rock's build, he would have a much easier time getting Republicans to do what he wants. Or, at least, he would have a much easier time tossing them out windows and ripping off their limbs when they made him angry, as was the case in this Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Dwayne Johnson as "The Rock Obama."
"Don't be alarmed," Johnson says after some maddening Republican subversion causes him to hulk out and rip through his suit. "The Rock Obama much like Barack Obama, only larger and more violent." —Jon Terbush
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina on Sunday crept closer to a White House bid, saying in an interview with Fox News there is a "higher than 90 percent" chance she will run.
"As other potential candidates are doing, we need to make sure we have the right team in place, that we have the right support," she said, adding that an announcement would likely come in late April or early May.
A political neophyte, Fiorina ran for Senate in California in 2010 but lost by a 10-point margin. A CNN poll earlier this month found her with less than one percent of the vote in a hypothetical GOP primary. —Jon Terbush
Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Sunday took a none-too-subtle swipe at Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the presumptive frontrunners for their parties' 2016 nominations.
"The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families," O'Malley, himself a prospective White House candidate, said on ABC's This Week. "It is an awesome and sacred trust to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people." —Jon Terbush
What would Bambi look like with bulging muscles and an entourage of woodland gunmen? That's the question Saturday Night Live answered with a The Fast and the Furious meets Disney reboot staring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the titular orphaned deer.
"When I was a boy, they took away my mother," Johnson says in the faux trailer. "Now it's time for them to pay — dearly." —Jon Terbush
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday assailed the emerging details of a nuclear agreement intended to curb Iran's nuclear program.
"This agreement, as it appears, confirms all of our concerns and even more so," he said.
The U.S. and Iran have three days left before the deadline to reach a framework deal.
Arab leaders on Sunday announced a tentative agreement to create a joint military force to combat violence and extremism in the region.
"We recognize the clear challenges in the Arab world and the need to take measures to combat them," Nabil al Araby, chairman of the Arab League, said on the final day of the group's summit in Egypt.
The announcement came days after a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthi rebels who have overrun the country and forced President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) said Saturday his state would move to "clarify" the intent of a controversial so-called religious freedom law that critics contend will allow businesses to discriminate against gays.
"I support religious liberty, and I support this law," Pence told the Indianapolis Star. "But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there's a way to clarify the intent of the law."
The law, which will go into effect in July, bars the state from enacting legislation that could "substantially burden" the ability of people and businesses to practice their religious beliefs. Several high-profile businesses and figures have expressed concern over the law, or threatened to boycott the state.