(CNN) - President Barack Obama canceled a visit to Moscow next month for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an administration official told CNN on Wednesday.
Before the announcement, Obama was on "The Tonight Show" and discussed U.S.-Russia relations, saying, "There have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality. And what I consistently say to them and what I say to President Putin is, that's the past."
(CNN) - A former special advisor to President Barack Obama and co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" Van Jones criticized the president's recent statements about the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance programs.
"We don't have a domestic spying program," Obama said on "The Tonight Show" Tuesday. "What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat."
Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department is preparing an overhaul of how federal prosecutors deal with non-violent criminal offenders in a move that could mark the end of the tough-on-crime era, which began with strict anti-drug laws in the 1970s and accelerated with mandatory minimum prison sentences and so-called three-strikes laws.
The idea is to change the type of sentences that prosecutors seek in cases where instead of prison, offenders could benefit from alternatives such as drug court, a Justice Department official said.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 7, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
STAY VIGILANT: President Barack Obama said Wednesday that although “we have decimated the al Qaeda leadership that attacked us on 9/11,” the threat of terrorism still exists from “al Qaeda affiliate and like-minded extremists.” Obama referenced recent embassy closures around Africa and the Middle East by saying “We've been reminded of this again in recent days.” For more on Obama’s speech, scroll down to Hot Sots.
NO GO: OBAMA CANCELS TALKS WITH PUTIN AHEAD OF G-20 SUMMIT… The president will still attend a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in early September, but now will go to Sweden beforehand instead of stopping in Moscow to meet with Putin, the White House announced.
– Jessica Yellin. Jake Tapper and Tom Cohen
WHY? “Russia’s disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship,” a White House statement said.
(CNN) – Shuttered American embassies dotting the Middle East are a reminder that extremist threats still exist, despite a dismantled al Qaeda core in Afghanistan and Pakistan, President Barack Obama told a crowd of Marines Wednesday.
During his address at Camp Pendleton between Los Angeles and San Diego, Obama said those threats shouldn't cause Americans to "retreat from the world."
Washington (CNN) – During the 2012 presidential race, Democrats pilloried Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as an Ayn Rand-quoting conservative loony who wanted to dismantle Medicare and Social Security.
On Wednesday, Ryan was blasted as a liberal, amnesty-loving union suck-up.
Welcome to Alabama.
New York (CNNMoney) – Fresh off a speech in Phoenix in which he outlined his vision for the housing market, President Obama took to the web Wednesday to answer questions from Americans wondering what the government can do to help.
Taking questions submitted online in an event live-streamed in cooperation with real estate site Zillow, Obama reiterated in broad terms his support for scaling down government-backed housing finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a key theme of his speech in Phoenix on Tuesday.
Washington (CNN) - House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa demanded Wednesday that the Federal Election Commission turn over records of more than five years of communications with the Internal Revenue Service - a move that significantly expands the California Republican's ongoing probe of alleged federal targeting of conservative groups.
In a letter to FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub - a Democrat - Issa cited CNN reporting on Monday that raises "the prospect of inappropriate coordination between the IRS and the FEC about tax-exempt entities."
Washington (CNN) - Eliot Spitzer is unleashing a pair of new television ads Wednesday in the New York City comptroller's race framing himself as an anti-establishment populist, a theme he has been hitting on the campaign trail since unexpectedly jumping into the race last month.
Both of the 30-second ads are titled "You," and portray Spitzer as a champion of working people standing up against special interests, corporations and Wall Street – "an independent voice," as Spitzer's campaign has taken to describing the former governor and attorney general.
(CNN) - Did you miss the president's interview on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"?
Here are five things you need to know about the interview, which marked his sixth sit-down with Leno.