CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 5, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
CLINTON EXPLAINS HITLER COMMENTS … Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought on Wednesday to explain her remarks comparing Vladimir Putin's military intervention in Ukraine to Adolf Hitler's European aggression ahead of World War II. The former secretary of state told an audience in Los Angeles that her comments on Tuesday were an attempt for "people to have a little historic perspective." – Dan Merica
AS FEARS OF INSTABILITY RISE IN CRIMEA … Tensions mounted on the ground in Crimea when U.N. Ukraine Envoy Robert Serry was threatened by armed men in Sevastopol.
“When I left, my car was blocked,” Serry said. “And somebody who did not identify himself was telling me that he had orders to bring me immediately to the airport. I refused. I sat in the car. There was a kind of standoff. At some point, these people, who were, actually took the driver out, put another driver in, tried to put other people in the car. I managed to get outside the car, and I walked, and I found this cafe. And since then I've been here."
WHILE SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYS THE ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION UNDERLINES THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SITUATION
“We have seen today with what happened with special envoy Serry, just how important it is to ensure the safety of those monitors and observers. Ukraine’s territorial integrity must be restored and must be respected. The United States stands ready to help our friends in a time of need,” Kerry said a press conference in Paris
AND DIPLOMATIC TALKS CONTINUED …
Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov met three times today in Paris. One of the meetings included a "brief and informal discussion" with Britain's William Hague, France's Laurent Fabius and Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, an official said.
NATO announced it suspended the planning of its first joint mission with Russia, a maritime escort for a U.S. vessel. The mission was part of the effort to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He also said the world body has put "the entire range of NATO-Russia cooperation under review” to send "a clear message Russia's actions have consequences."
Russia has been warned that possible sanctions will be on the agenda when European Union leaders meet Thursday in Brussels if no progress is made in ending the high-stakes showdown sparked by Russia's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea region.
In a tit-for-tat move, Russian lawmakers are drafting a law that would allow Russia to confiscate assets belonging to U.S. and European companies if sanctions are slapped on Moscow, Russian state media reported. – Laura Smith-Spark and Michael Holmes
GEN. MARTIN E. DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, ON THE STATE OF THE RUSSIAN MILITARY FORCES: “I cannot at this time tell you where the military forces inside of the Crimea came from. I can tell you that we have been tracking other activities in the western and southern military districts … We don’t have any evidence as yet (that unmarked troops in Crimea are Russian soldiers). I think evidence could likely become available over time.”
HOUSE PANEL TO VOTE ON RUSSIA SANCTIONS RESOLUTION … The House Foreign Affairs Committee will vote as early as Thursday on a resolution that proposes sanctions against Russia over the standoff in Ukraine, Chairman Ed Royce told CNN. The measure would not carry the force of law, but would instead express House sentiment on Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. – Deirdre Walsh
View the resolution: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2014/images/03/05/royce_082_xml.pdf
YOU CAN KEEP YOUR OLD HEALTH PLAN UNTIL 2016 … Insurers can keep their customers on policies that don't comply with Obamacare for another two years, the Obama administration announced Wednesday. The change could prevent Americans from receiving a new round of termination letters just before the November midterm elections. – Tami Luhby
HEARING ON IRS TARGETING DESCENDS INTO CHAOS … An unseemly showdown occurred Wednesday morning as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, tried to question former Internal Revenue Service manager Lois Lerner, who headed the unit that targeted groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra screening. Lerner, who retired last year from the IRS, once again refused to testify by invoking her Fifth Amendment rights.
Frustrated, Issa adjourned the session over the objections of Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who shouted back that the chairman's actions were "un-American," sparking a debate between the two. – Lisa Desjardins and Tom Cohen
THE BUZZ: WITH SALE, CNN AND FLIPBOARD ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP … Flipboard and CNN have partnered to deliver CNN’s reporting, video and photography to the Flipboard audience around the world. Flipboard readers can now find CNN’s global news and information content in the News, Entertainment, Technology and Business sections on Flipboard. As part of the CNN experience on Flipboard, the network has created custom magazines for three programs to give users additional opportunities to dive deeper into the issues and topics featured on air:
John King’s Go “Inside Politics”: The biggest stories, sourced by the best reporters.
The Lead with Jake Tapper: In depth news and analysis on today’s leads – from politics to money, sports and popular culture.
Fareed Zakaria’s GPS Daily: Explore global issues and engage with diverse and unique perspectives.
A year ago today, this man became president of the nation that is considered the petroleum capital of South America. Who is it?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama frames minimum wage fight in global terms
In the midst of managing the nation's response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, President Barack Obama enlisted the help of some fellow executives on Wednesday to continue his fight for an increase in the nation's minimum wage. – Adam Aigner-Treworgy
Leading CNNMoney: Who would suffer from Russian sanctions?
Russia is threatening to retaliate against any steps the United States and its European allies might take to impose sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine with measures of its own. – Mike Thompson
Leading Houston Chronicle: Patrick leads Dewhurst going into runoff; Cornyn holds off challenge from right; local GOP gets new chairman
The Republican lieutenant governor's race, the nastiest and most competitive of the primary season, is set to go another round. State Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston and incumbent David Dewhurst will compete in a May 27 runoff … Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn topped challenger Steve Stockman, a U.S. representative from Friendswood, in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate with 59 percent of the vote. – Ronnie Crocker
Leading Sunshine State News: Bill Clinton Provides Robocalls for Alex Sink
Former president Bill Clinton is stepping into the spotlight in Florida politics by getting calls out to voters in Congressional District 13, urging them to vote for Alex Sink. – Allison Nielson
Leading Drudge: Pump Up NATO
The United States plans to expand military cooperation with Poland and Baltic states to show "support" for its allies after Russia's intervention in Ukraine, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said Wednesday.
Leading Politico: Senate blocks Obama’s Justice nominee
Several Senate Democrats joined with Republicans on Wednesday to block President Barack Obama’s controversial nominee to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division. The rejection of Debo Adegbile in a 47-52 vote marks the first time that one of Obama’s nominees was thwarted since Senate Democrats changed filibuster rules in November. The nomination needed 51 votes to advance. – Burgess Everett
Leading HuffPo: Richard Burr Blocks Judicial Nominee After Recommending Her To Obama
On Tuesday, the Obama administration confirmed it was pulling back a judicial nominee in Florida after it became apparent that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) would not allow a vote, even though the nominee was originally his own recommendation. But Rubio isn't the only Republican senator holding up a judicial nominee he previously supported. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is also refusing to advance Jennifer May-Parker, a nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, though Burr previously put May-Parker forward for the post. – Jennifer Bendery and Sam Stein
Leading New York Times: C.I.A. Employees Face New Inquiry Amid Clashes on Detention Program
The Central Intelligence Agency’s attempt to keep secret the details of a defunct detention and interrogation program has escalated a battle between the agency and members of Congress and led to an investigation by the C.I.A.’s internal watchdog into the conduct of agency employees. – Mark Mazetti
The political bites of the day
- Obama: Tells Democrats to wake up for the midterm elections -
PRESIDENT OBAMA AT A DEMOCRATIC FUNDRAISER IN VIRGINIA ON TUESDAY NIGHT: “It’s something about midterms. I don’t know what it is about us. We get a little sleepy, we get a little distracted. We don’t turn out to vote. We don’t fund campaigns as passionately … That has to change and has got to change right here, because too much is at stake for us to let this opportunity slip by.”
- McConnell: We are worse off everywhere in the world because of Obama -
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KENTUCKY, IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S FOREIGN POLICY FROM CNN’S DANA BASH: “Can you think of any place in the world, any place where we are better off now than we were when he came to office? I am hard pressed to think of any single place in the world where we are better off.”
- Pro-Bevin ad slams McConnell for judge recommendation: ‘Now we’re stuck with gay marriage’ -
SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND SPONSORED AD ATTACKING MITCH MCCONNELL: “Man: McConnell should admit right now that recommending Judge Heyburn was a mistake. He knew this judge wasn’t a conservative and promoted him anyway. Now we’re stuck with gay marriage. Woman: Yeah. First it was funding Obamacare, then it was giving Obama a blank check to raise the debt ceiling, now it’s liberal judges. I’m voting for conservative Matt Bevin instead.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain)
She's right on this comparison: "Hillary Clinton compares Putin actions in Ukraine to Adolf Hitler’s in Nazi Germany" http://www.presstelegram.com/general-news/20140304/hillary-clinton-compares-vladimir-putins-actions-in-ukraine-to-adolf-hitlers-in-nazi-germany …
Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63)
Wow, Hillary comparing Putin in Ukraine to Nazis. Welcome to the club! When I made parallels a year ago & month ago, was shocking to many!
Rachel Streitfeld (@streitfeldcnn)
First on CNN: Republican Super PAC @AmericaRising goes after Hillary Clinton over the 'Russian Reset' http://cnn.it/P0VDDY
Lauren Pratapas (@LPratapas)
S.E. Cupp: Her own brand of conservatism http://redalert.io/1gakc7f via @redalert @secupp
Meredith Shiner (@meredithshiner)
How good was today's failed nom vote? It appears many Senate Dems snuck out back door from lunch, evading reporters.
Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP)
Eric Holder: "Our legal system hinges on the fundamental ideal that every accused individual has a constitutional right to counsel."
Here is the first medical-marijuana commercial to air on major networks, and it's a doozy http://ti.me/1kvbnfj via @TIME
CAP Education (@EdProgress)
SAT to drop essay requirement and return to top score of 1600 in redesign of admission test via @washingtonpost http://wapo.st/P1aFJT
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
One year ago today, Nicolás Maduro became the president of Venezuela, replacing former President Hugo Chavez after his death. On April 14, 2013, Maduro was elected to a full term, representing the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.
Maduro, once bus driver, rose politically through his role as a trade union leader. He was later elected to the National Assembly and from there served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and then as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013.
In early 2014, violent protests began to occur in Venezuela in response mainly to criminal violence and inaccessibility to basic goods. In response to media coverage of the protests, Maduro denied press credentials for a short time to CNN.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Alexander Hunter (@AlexanderCNN) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing email@example.com
WANT TO SIGN UP?
Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our new CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down.