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March 16, 2014

Despite warnings from the United States and its allies that they would not recognize the outcome of the referendum, Crimean voters on Sunday voted almost unanimously to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. Preliminary tallies showed more than nine in ten voters backed a union with Moscow, according to multiple reports.

The U.S. maintained that the election was illegal and illegitimate, siding with the interim Ukrainian government that has taken over since the country ousted pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovich. And with Russian troops already positioned in Crimea, there's reason to wonder just how fair such a tectonic vote could be.

But talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart on Friday proved fruitless — Kerry said there was no "common vision" between the two sides — with Russia refusing to recognize the interim government in Kiev as legitimate. Then on Saturday, Russia vetoed a proposed U.N. resolution that would have rejected the outcome of the referendum.

In a phone call with President Obama Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the vote, saying the election was "completely in line with the norms of international law." Jon Terbush

9:06 p.m. ET
Essa Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images

At least 20 people were killed when an airstrike hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, with the bride among the dead. The Monday airstrike in Hajja province was launched by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels.

Health officials told The Associated Press most of the dead were women and children who were standing under a tent. The groom and 44 others — including 33 kids — were wounded, with many suffering from shrapnel wounds or severed limbs.

This was the third airstrike to hit Yemeni civilians since Saturday, when a coalition airstrike killed 20 people on a bus in the western part of the country. Another airstrike that hit a house in Hajja on Sunday night left a family of five dead. The independent monitor Yemen Data Project estimates that of the 16,847 airstrikes to hit Yemen since the fighting started three years ago, a third of those strikes have hit civilian targets. Thousands of Yemenis have been killed in the war, which shows no sign of ending anytime soon. Catherine Garcia

8:03 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Zach Gibson

On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn cannot appear on the June 26 primary ballot because the signatures his campaign gathered were invalid.

Five voters sued the Colorado secretary of state, saying that the 1,000 signatures necessary to get on the ballot didn't count because they were gathered by petition circulators who did not live in the state. Lamborn hired a firm called Kentucky Enterprises to collect the signatures, CBS Denver reports, which were approved by the secretary of state on March 29.

Earlier this month, a lower court ruled against the plaintiffs, but they appealed, leading to the state Supreme Court decision. An attorney for Lamborn's campaign said he plans on appealing. A six-term congressman, Lamborn represents the conservative 5th congressional district. Catherine Garcia

6:55 p.m. ET
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Former President George H.W. Bush was admitted to a Texas hospital Sunday morning with an infection, his office announced Monday.

Bush, 93, is at Houston Methodist Hospital, and is responding to treatments for an infection that spread to his blood, his office said, adding that he "appears to be recovering." Bush, whose wife, Barbara, died last week at age 92, was at her funeral on Saturday. Catherine Garcia

6:31 p.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on Monday 10-9 in favor of Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, becoming the next secretary of state.

After saying he would oppose Pompeo's nomination, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced right before the vote that he had changed his mind, following a conversation with President Trump. The full Senate will vote later this week. Catherine Garcia

5:29 p.m. ET

The temperature reached near 70 degrees in Washington, D.C., on Monday, so Sen. Rand Paul broke out his flip-flops.

The Kentucky Republican had long maintained his opposition to Mike Pompeo, President Trump's nominee for secretary of state, stating repeatedly that he intended to vote against Pompeo because of his hawkish instincts. During Pompeo's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month, Paul pressed Pompeo over whether Trump's use of military force in Syria without congressional approval was constitutionally sound, and said that Pompeo's view of the war in Afghanistan is at odds with Trump's desire to withdraw from the country.

But on Monday, Paul said that after speaking to Trump and Pompeo, he had "received assurances" that Pompeo does not in fact want to prolong America's presence in Afghanistan. Trump "believes that Iraq was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan," Paul wrote on Twitter, and on Monday he "received confirmation that [Pompeo] agrees" with Trump.

For that reason, Paul announced that he would vote to confirm Pompeo after all. With Paul's support, plus the backing of three moderate Senate Democrats, Pompeo seems poised for confirmation by the full Senate later this week.

5:28 p.m. ET
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

President Trump said one thing, but his flight records said another.

Trump reportedly told former FBI Director James Comey twice that he never stayed the night in Moscow, Russia, when visiting in 2013 for a Miss Universe pageant. But flight records reviewed by Bloomberg, combined with social media posts, appear to indicate that Trump indeed spent a full weekend with business associates and pageant developers in the Russian capital.

The findings contradict Trump's main alibi denying the veracity of a dossier that alleges salacious details about his interactions with prostitutes in Moscow. Even though Trump told Comey on two separate occasions that the dossier "couldn't be true" because of how little time he spent in Moscow on that trip, Bloomberg reports that Trump flew to Russia in a private jet owned by his business partner, rather than on his own jet, making his timeline a bit muddier.

Trump fired Comey last year, and aspects of his explanation regarding the trip to Moscow are detailed in Comey's recently released memoir, A Higher Loyalty. The dossier, compiled by a British ex-spy, remains unverified, though Comey has said some aspects of it were "corroborated by other intelligence."

Social media posts, such as a Facebook photo posted by a Russian restaurant, show that Trump was in Moscow the night before the pageant began. He partied with the pageant's host on a Friday night before spending Saturday touring Moscow and attending the pageant. Trump's own tweets show that he spent more than a full day in the city before flying back to New York early Sunday morning. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza

5:00 p.m. ET
Cole Burston/Getty Images

Ten people were killed and 15 injured Monday afternoon when a man drove a van down a Toronto sidewalk, authorities said.

The suspected driver of the vehicle, identified as 25-year-old Alex Minassian, is in custody, though authorities have yet to identify a motive. The incident occurred down a busy stretch of Yonge Street in Toronto's North York neighborhood. Toronto Deputy Police Chief Peter Yuen told reporters that authorities would be on the scene for "days," and that the investigation would be "complex."

An eyewitness told BBC News that she saw a white car plow through pedestrians. "So many people [were] shouting, 'Stop the car,' but he didn't," the woman said. "He just [kept] moving." Kimberly Alters

This is a breaking news story that will be updated as more details become available.

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