Lena Dunham hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, but in some ways the star of the show was Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obviously, Putin himself — busy as he is consolidating Russian control of Ukraine's Crimea province — didn't make an appearance. And nobody on the show did their best Putin impersonation. But the Russian leader was the focus of the cold open, when Liam Neeson helped Jay Pharoah's President Obama poke fun at the Republican criticism that Obama just isn't tough enough to go mano a mano against the Russian strongman:
"Weekend Update" also started out with the Crimea situation, with Cecily Strong landing a pretty good joke about Obama and the right side of history. Taran Killam's Matthew McConaughey is nonsensically delightful, but if you want just the Ukraine stuff, skip ahead to about the seven minute mark, when Vanessa Bayer and Fred Armisen talk about what it's like to be Vladimir Putin's best friends growing up. --Peter Weber
Go Go Power Ranger, straight to jail: Ricardo Medina Jr., best known for playing the red Power Ranger in Power Rangers Wild Force in the early 2000s, was arrested Saturday in connection to the stabbing death of his roommate.
— JustJared.com (@JustJared) February 1, 2015
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies told ABC Los Angeles that Medina called 911 Saturday afternoon to report a stabbing at his home in Green Valley, California. Deputies say that the 36-year-old got into an argument with his roommate, Joshua Sutter, 36, and it turned physical. Sutter allegedly followed Medina and his girlfriend into Medina's bedroom and forced the door open; Medina then stabbed him with a sword he kept in the room. Sutter died at the hospital, and Medina was booked for murder and held in lieu of $1 million bail.
With six seconds left before the half, the Seattle Seahawks scored big to tie the game 14-14. —Catherine Garcia
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) February 2, 2015
U.S. officials say that NATO's military commander Gen. Philip M. Breedlove is now in favor of providing lethal weapons to Ukrainian forces, and administration and military officials are starting to lean in that direction as well.
The White House has only provided aid in the form of items like night-vision goggles, first aid kits, and body armor, but Secretary of State John Kerry is open to discussing providing lethal aid during his visit to Kiev on Thursday, The New York Times reports. "Although our focus remains on pursuing a solution through diplomatic means, we are always evaluating other options that will help create space for a negotiated solution to the crisis," Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said.
The first touchdown of the Super Bowl belongs to the New England Patriots: Watch the video below to see quarterback Tom Brady connect with wide receiver Brandon LaFell to score. —Catherine Garcia
Idina Menzel started Super Bowl XLIX on the right note, with a stirring rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Watch her impressive performance in the video below. —Catherine Garcia
President Obama's forthcoming budget proposal will include a request for $478 billion for vast infrastructure improvements, to be funded with a 14 percent tax on $2 trillion in corporate earnings held abroad. The six-year plan is a more robust version of a policy Obama has proposed in the past. Obama is to unveil his budget on Monday.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday stood by his harsh criticism of protesters who last week interrupted a Senate hearing with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
"I was outraged and I'm still outraged," McCain said on CNN, arguing that the protesters were physically threatening Kissinger. "I think they're terrible people that would do that to a 91-year-old man with a broken shoulder," he added.
Last week, McCain called protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink "low-life scum" after they brandished banners and handcuffs during the hearing. —Jon Terbush
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Sunday said homosexuality is a "lifestyle" choice, adding that while he disagreed with it personally, he was accepting of people with different beliefs.
"I don't drink alcohol, but gosh, a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do," he said on CNN. "I don't use profanity, but believe me I've got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera. It's not my cup of tea."
Deflategate may have been a bunch of hot air.
The NFL's investigation into the New England Patriots' alleged ball tampering has determined that the footballs used in last month's AFC Championship were not as underinflated as previously believed, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Though previous reports said 11 of 12 footballs were each underinflated by two pounds per square inch, the league actually found many to be only "a few ticks" under the minimum allowable PSI; only one was two pounds under the limit.
The Patriots denied tampering with the balls in any way, and team owner Robert Kraft demanded an apology from the NFL should it find no evidence of wrongdoing.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Sunday that the U.S. had to be "prepared to put boots on the ground" in Syria and Iraq to battle ISIS. In an appearance on ABC's This Week, the potential 2016 candidate said that he did not consider it an "immediate plan," but that it should remain on the table.
Also Sunday, a Des Moines Register poll showed Walker leading a hypothetical GOP field in Iowa one year out from the Iowa caucuses. Walker declined to say Sunday if he was indeed preparing a White House run, though he said he "wouldn't bet against me on anything."