Keeping An Eye On Kiev

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • OBAMA WEIGHS IN: President Obama said before leaving the North American Summit in Mexico last night that he hopes an announced truce in the Ukraine holds long enough to give the government and the opposition time to step back from violence and work on peace, ABC's SERENA MARSHALL, JIM AVILA and MARY BRUCE report. "If the truce is implemented it could provide space for the sides to resolve their disagreements peacefully and going forward we will continue to do whatever we can to support Ukrainians as they seek a peaceful solution and respond to the aspirations of the Ukrainians people for a strong unified democracy that is fully integrated in with the international community," Obama said. This came at the end of a day when the president warned that the United States was watching developments in Kiev closely, did not like what it was seeing and promised "consequences" if the violence did not stop.
  • THE LATEST FROM KIEV: At least 22 people died today after clashes resumed in Kiev - a deadly escalation of violence in the Ukrainian capital one day after a ceasefire was issued, the Associated Press reported. According to ABC's BRUNO ROEBER, security forces fired live ammunition at protesters. Molotov cocktails were thrown at police. Medics used the lobby of one hotel as a makeshift hospital to tend to the wounded. The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Poland are reported to be meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych in Kiev. The European Union will hold an emergency meeting in Brussels later today to consider sanctions.
  • RUSSIA'S ROLE: When asked what role Russia is playing in the unrest in Kiev and the civil war in Syria, Obama said last night that there is not "any secret" that his political views differ from those of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that there is not "a competition between the United States and Russia." "Our approach of the United States is not to see this as some cold war chess board in which we are in competition with Russia," he said. "Our goal is for the people of Ukraine who are able to make decisions about themselves about their future."


GAY AND CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS FLIRT WITH REUNION. The more then two-year rift between gay Republican groups and the American Conservatives Union, which organizes the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, isn't over yet. Yesterday, one of those groups, GOProud, touted a new day it its relationship with CPAC, suggesting that this year, their attendance at the conference is a step forward after being barred from sponsoring the event by CPAC organizers in previous years, notes ABC's ABBY PHILLIP. The news, first reported in the National Journal, suggested a reversal on CPAC's part. But in reality, CPAC hasn't changed its mind about whether GOProud can be an official sponsor of the event like other conservative groups. GOProud members can attend as guests this year, as they have in previous years, but they still won't be a sponsor like they were 2010 and 2011, nor will they be a vendor or have a booth. "We're participating at the level this year that we want to participate in. We didn't ask to have a booth or be on a panel. We didn't ask to be a sponsor," Ross Hemminger, who took over GOProud last summer, told ABC News. "We wanted to take it slow. We wanted to focus on rebuilding a relationship with the folks that we didn't have a relationship with previously." But others saw it as at best, a half measure, specifically one member of GOProud's founding leadership. Chris Barron said plainly, "nothing has changed."

SCOTT WALKER ON HOT SEAT AFTER EMAILS SHOW ILLEGAL DEALING BY AIDES. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, is facing fresh scrutiny after thousands of previously sealed documents were released that suggest some of Walker's top aides when he was Milwaukee County Executive illegally coordinated with campaign staffers during his 2010 gubernatorial election, reports ABC's JOHN PARKINSON. Almost 28,000 pages of e-mails were released by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals yesterday as part of the evidence gathered in an investigation into his county administration. "It's exactly what's wrong with the political process that they're hoping for something bad to happen in Wisconsin," Walker told the Associated Press. The probe started after some money supervised by Walker's office for a veterans' charity went missing. As the investigation unfolded, prosecutors discovered several staff transgressions, including the widespread use of laptops and a secret wireless Internet router hidden in an armoire in the Milwaukee County office with the apparent intent of hiding communications from public access. That three-year investigation, now known as John Doe I, resulted in convictions of six individuals tied to Walker, including two former deputy chiefs of staff. Although no criminal charges were filed against Walker, his political opponents believe he knew about the clandestine email system and turned a blind eye to illegal comingling of campaign and county resources.

WHY OBAMA WON'T FEEL AS WARMLY TOWARD CANADIANS THIS WEEK. President Barack Obama joked that he may not "feel as warm" toward Canadians as he usually does when both the U.S. men's and women's hockey teams face off against the Canadians in the Olympics, ABC's MARY BRUCE and SERENA MARSHALL note. Speaking yesterday at the North American Leaders Summit, President Barack Obama joked that since his brother-in-law is Canadian, that he has to like Canadians - but with both teams going for gold, the president said he may have to put diplomacy on the side. "So for a very brief period of time, I might not feel as warm towards Canadians as I normally do - at least until those matches are over," he said. Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper both said they will be "watching tomorrow's Olympic women's hockey game and Friday's Olympic men's hockey game between Canada and the USA with great interest and excitement. They agreed to disagree on who to root for," according to the White House.

ONE PRESIDENTIAL PERK GEORGE W. BUSH REALLY MISSES. President George W. Bush has made a point of staying out of the political limelight since he left the White House five years ago, but there's still one perk he misses from his time as president - Air Force One. "A lot of people ask me, do I miss much about being president? The answer's really no," Bush said in Dallas, Texas yesterday, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. "I mean I miss people I served with. I miss Air Force One. In eight years, they never lost my baggage." Bush made his comments while highlighting the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative with Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Biden. "I do miss saluting men and women who volunteered to defend our nation during war," Bush said. "Many are coming home and are preparing for new missions as civilians and I intend to salute these men and women for the rest of my life."


INSIDE 'HILLARYLAND': A LOOK AT CLINTON'S 'ENEMY LIST' AND HER 'OPEN-DOOR POLICY' FOR 2016. When it comes to Hillary Clinton, the question no longer seems to be will she run for president but when will she announce. But as the insistent chatter grows louder about an assumed presidential campaign, so too have the echoes from the scandals of the Clintons' past. The authors of the new book "HRC," which traces Clinton's ascendance from defeated 2008 candidate to the presumptive Democratic frontrunner, told "Top Line" that the skeletons of the Clintons' past, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal in particular, are unlikely to pose a true obstacle to Hillary if she does in fact run in 2016. "President Clinton's and Hillary Clinton's approval ratings shot up during the Monica Lewinsky affair," co-author Jonathan Allen said. "I think it's one of the reasons you see Karl Rove and some of the other folks in the establishment to stay away from that, because it didn't help Republicans in the 1990s." Allen said that Clinton will focus her campaign on the future, and that includes a strategy of making nice with enemies of the past. He and co-author Amie Parnes reveal in the book that Clinton has an "enemy list," which ranks Democratic members of Congress based on their loyalty to the 2008 Clinton campaign. WATCH:


RNC RAISES $7.8 MILLION IN JANUARY. The Republican National Committee announced today that the committee raised $7.8 million in January and that the committee has $9.8 million cash on hand. "Thanks to the continued support of our donors, we started off 2014 strong," Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. "As a result, we've been able to continue making unprecedented investments in data and digital-as we continue to build our on-the-ground presence in communities across the country. We're spending our money in a way that's designed to help candidates up and down the ballot. We're building a long-lasting infrastructure that will serve our party well in 2014 and into the future."


@KiritRadia: Video of #Kiev's mayor announcing he is leaving the ruling party in protest over #euromaidan violence: …

@PhilipRucker: GOP mindset about 2014 battle for Senate: cammo netting…sandbags…"we are at war every day." … w/ @pkcapitol

@JamesPindell: HUGE! @SenScottBrown on Fox and Friends abt #nhsen: I am going to make some decisions and we are going to see what happens #nhpolitics

@reidepstein: The Baltimore Sun helpfully tells you where all the scenes from House of Cards were shot …

@alisaw: Fun fact: today is both @rihanna's and Sen. Mitch McConnell's birthday. Who's going to wish who a HBD first? cc: @McConnellPress

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