August 12, 2014
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Early Tuesday, Russia said it has sent a convoy of about 280 trucks carrying food, medicine, and other supplies toward the Ukraine border. The destination is the Ukrainian city of Luhansk, controlled by pro-Russia separatists and under siege by Ukrainian troops, and the convoy is at least theoretically part of a humanitarian mission overseen by the Red Cross. NATO isn't buying it, and Kiev is nervous.

On Monday, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso called Russian President Vladimir Putin and "warned against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian," the EU said. The Kremlin gave its side of the conversation, in which Putin had "focused attention on the catastrophic consequences of the military operation" by Ukraine and pointedly "noted that the Russian side, in cooperation with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, is sending a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko agreed to a Red Cross mission, but only if it involved the European Union as well as Russia. The ICRC said Monday that "the practical details of this operation need to be clarified before this initiative can move forward."

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Reuters on Monday that he judged there to be "a high probability" that Russia will stage a military intervention, noting as Ukraine gets closer and closer to taking control of Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia's state-run media has increasingly warned about the humanitarian crisis in the primarily Russian-speaking Ukrainian cities. "We see the Russians developing the narrative and the pretext for such an operation under the guise of a humanitarian operation, and we see a military build-up that could be used to conduct such illegal military operations in Ukraine," Rasmussen added.

NATO has estimated that Russia has about 20,000 troops and ample heavy weaponry amassed at the Russia-Urkaine border, primed to invade. On Monday, Ukraine said there are about 45,000 Russia troops, plus 160 tanks, 1,360 armored vehicles, 390 artillery systems, up to 150 truck-mounted missile launchers, 192 fighter jets, and 137 attack helicopters. Western intelligence hasn't verified those numbers. Peter Weber

12:55 p.m. ET

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired earlier this month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions because he allegedly "lacked candor," published an op-ed about the experience at The Washington Post Friday night:

On March 16, I spent the day with my family waiting to hear whether I would be fired, after 21 years in the FBI and one day before I qualified for my long-planned, earned retirement.

As day turned to night, I had a lot of time to reflect on how it would feel to be separated from the organization I loved — and led — and the mission that has been the central focus of my professional life. Despite all the preparation for the worst-case scenario, I still felt disoriented and sick to my stomach. Around 10 p.m., a friend called to tell me that CNN was reporting that I had been fired. She read me the attorney general's statement.

So, after two decades of public service, I found out that I had been fired in the most disembodied, impersonal way — third-hand, based on a news account. [...] Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way. [The Washington Post]

The morning after the firing, McCabe continued, he "woke to find the president of the United States celebrating [his] punishment" as a "great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy." Trump since then has continued his attacks on McCabe, claiming that the former FBI agent's memos chronicling their meetings together were fabricated after the fact.

Read the full article at the Post. Bonnie Kristian

12:32 p.m. ET

Protesters are gathering at some 700 student-led March for Our Lives events nationwide on Saturday to demand stricter gun regulations, and they're armed — if you'll pardon the pun — with signs both clever and poignant.

Half a million people are expected at the main rally in Washington, D.C. President Trump is at his resort in Florida for the weekend and has yet to personally comment on the marches, but the White House issued a statement "applaud[ing] the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today."

See some of the most memorable protest signs below. Bonnie Kristian

11:56 a.m. ET

President Trump came under fire Saturday for his announcement late Friday evening that transgender people who "may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery" will not be able to join the military "except under certain limited circumstances."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned Trump's memo as "cowardly" and "disgusting," arguing it is "purpose-built to humiliate our brave transgender members of the military who serve with honor and dignity":

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough suggested on Twitter the memo was timed to distract from the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill Trump signed earlier Friday, a spending package slammed by conservatives as "an embarrassment and a disgrace":

Meanwhile, Republican pundit Ana Navarro, who is firmly #NeverTrump, referenced Trump's draft deferrals during the Vietnam War in a tweeted response:

Congressional Republicans have kept quiet about the memo so far. Bonnie Kristian

10:39 a.m. ET
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An Iowa family of four was found dead Friday inside their vacation condo in Tulum, Mexico, local authorities reported. Police said there are "no signs of traumatic injury," and a relative of the family reported on Facebook there "was no foul play." Autopsies will be conducted to determine the cause of death, which some reports have suggested was a gas leak.

Kevin Sharp, 41, his wife Amy, 38, and their children Sterling, 12, and Adrianna, 7, were from Creston, Iowa. The Sharps owned a beer distribution company, and Kevin raced stock cars.

"We watched the flights leave Cancun and land in St. Louis. We watched the last one leave Cancun. We were hoping that we would hear from them then. When we did not we knew that something was wrong," said Jana Wedlund, Amy's cousin. "The only thing we're thankful for, the only thing they've given us hope for, is that it was very peaceful." Bonnie Kristian

10:33 a.m. ET
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The London offices of Cambridge Analytica were raided overnight Friday by agents of the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's office. The seven-hour search, which completed early Saturday, was authorized by a warrant to investigate the company's database and servers.

"This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data and analytics for political purposes," said the Information Commissioner's office of the raid. "As you will expect, we will now need to collect, assess, and consider the evidence before coming to any conclusions."

Cambridge Analytica is the data firm alleged to have illicitly acquired and used information from the Facebook profiles of tens of millions of Americans for targeted campaign ads. The Trump campaign was among its clients, as was a super PAC organized by incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook both deny illegal conduct, and Facebook has suspended the data firm from its service. Bonnie Kristian

10:27 a.m. ET

South Korea announced Saturday it has finalized plans for high-level talks with North Korea this coming Thursday.

Each country will be represented by three delegates who will meet in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in advance of planned negotiations between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which will in turn be followed by discussion between Kim and President Trump. The date of the Trump-Kim summit has yet to be set.

"Through these talks and future talks, we must end the nuclear and peace issue on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said of the arrangement. "It is necessary to make it possible for the two Koreas to live together peacefully without interfering with each other or damaging each other." Bonnie Kristian

8:20 a.m. ET
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Student-led March for Our Lives rallies are scheduled in Washington and cities across the United States on Saturday. About 500,000 people are expected to gather in the capital alone, and some 700 additional protests for stricter gun laws are listed on the march website.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where the mass shooting on Valentine's Day left 17 people dead, are among the 20 speakers scheduled for the primary event in Washington. All the speakers are 18 or younger, and they will be accompanied by performances from celebrities including Ariana Grande, Common, and Miley Cyrus.

March for Our Lives' student organizers say Saturday's protests are just the beginning of their gun control campaign. "We want to continue what we're doing, especially leading up to November," said Jaclyn Corin, 17, from Parkland. "We want every young person to register to vote and head to the polls, no matter who they're voting for or what party they've voting for." Bonnie Kristian

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