The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Will Cantine and Jordan Mazza

FOREIGN AFFAIRS ABC News' Liz Kreutz: " Hillary Clinton Psychoanalyzes Vladimir Putin" Russian President Vladimir Putin may have a buff physique, but Hillary Clinton sees right through it. During a Q&A at a marketing summit in California today, Hillary Clinton gave a deep read on Putin's personality, and compared the encounters she's had with him to those she's experienced on an elementary school playground. "I have had my personal experiences with him," she said, when answering a question about Putin and the recent situation in Crimea. "He's a fascinating guy. Obviously he is determined." LINK

ABC News' Ali Weinberg: " John Kerry Defends His Diplomatic Efforts: 'I May Fail - I Don't Care'" Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry defiantly defended his diplomatic efforts, saying that while ambitious, they were better than doing nothing. While the purpose of Tuesday's hearing was to pick through the State Department's budget, it was Kerry's record that came under scrutiny as his old colleagues on the committee accused him of taking on too many responsibilities with too few results. "I think you're about to hit the trifecta," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Kerry, naming three of the most complicated issues Kerry took on: the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Iranian nuclear program and the Middle East peace talks. LINK

The Hill's Peter Sullivan: " McCain Blasts Kerry's 'Trifecta' Of Disasters On Foreign Policy" Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday accused Secretary of State John Kerry of presiding over a "trifecta" of foreign policy disasters. McCain lambasted his former Senate colleague at a hearing in which Kerry faced wide-ranging criticism about the administration's handling of crises in the Middle East and Ukraine. "I think you're about to hit the trifecta," McCain declared. "Geneva II [a Syrian peace meeting] was a total collapse, as I predicted to you that it would be. … The Israeli-Palestinian talks, even though you may drag them out for a while, are finished," McCain said. "And I predict to you that, even though we gave the Iranians the right to enrich, which is unbelievable, that those talks will collapse too." LINK

The Washington Times' Guy Taylor and Ashish Kumar: " Pals No More: McCain, Kerry Trade Personal Shots During Heated Senate Exchange" While they were once known for crossing party lines to work together on foreign policy, whatever friendship John McCain and John Kerry had in the past seems now to be finally and completely dead. That was, at least, the appearance Tuesday during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing when Mr. McCain suddenly hammered into Mr. Kerry and accused him of being out of touch with "reality." The Obama administration is "failing very badly" at foreign policy, Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican told Mr. Kerry, a former Democratic senator from Massachusetts, who has served as President Obama's secretary of state since early last year. LINK

Bloomberg's Kateryna Choursina, Jake Rudnitsky and Nicole Gaouette: " Kerry Blames Russian Agents As Ukraine Acts In Kharkiv" U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia of using "special forces and agents" to spark unrest, as Ukrainian authorities sent security forces to Kharkiv to clear the country's second-biggest city of separatists. "Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine" have been "sent there determined to create chaos," Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington yesterday. "These efforts are as ham-handed as they are transparent," Kerry said. He accused Russia of working to "create a contrived crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary." LINK

The New York Times' Andrew Higgins and David Herszenhorn: " U.S. And NATO Warn Russia Against Further Intervention In Ukraine" As the government in Kiev moved to reassert control over pro-Russian protesters across eastern Ukraine, the United States and NATO issued stern warnings to Moscow about further intervention in the country's affairs amid continuing fears of an eventual Russian incursion. Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Kremlin of fomenting the unrest, calling the protests the work of saboteurs whose machinations were as "ham-handed as they are transparent." Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he added: "No one should be fooled - and believe me, no one is fooled - by what could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Dion Nissenbaum: " U.S., China Defense Chiefs Trade Barbs Over Regional Ambitions" Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's call for a new model in relations with Beijing's military swiftly ran into headwinds Tuesday as China's defense minister castigated the U.S. and its Asian allies in a stark reminder of the differences dividing the two countries. Standing side-by-side during Mr. Hagel's first official trip to Beijing since he became defense secretary a year ago, the two men traded pointed barbs over their countries' ambitions in the region as their news conference turned into near-acrimony. LINK

POTUS' AUNT DIES The Boston Globe's Travis Anderson: " Obama Aunt Who Won Fight Over Asylum Dead At Age 61" President Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, who won asylum in 2010 after living illegally in Boston for several years, died on Monday night in a nursing home in the city, her legal team said. The law office of Margaret W. Wong, one of Onyango's immigration lawyers, confirmed on Tuesday that she died the night before in her sleep at the Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation Harborlights facility in South Boston. LINK

The New York Daily News' Tim O'Connor and Bev Ford: " President Obama's Aunt , Zeituni Onyango Passes Away At 61" President Obama's aunt - who lived in the U.S. illegally for years after being denied asylum - has died in Massachusetts. Zeituni Onyango, 61, passed away at about 4 a.m., Tuesday, at a Boston rehabilitation center where she was being treated for cancer and respiratory problems, her immigration lawyer Margaret Wong said. Onyango was the half-sister of the President's late father, Barack Obama Sr. Wong said she last spoke with Onyango about a week ago. LINK

USA Today's Aamer Madhani: " Obama's Aunt, Who Fought Immigration Battle, Dies At 61" An aunt of President Obama whose immigration status grabbed headlines before the president's 2008 election has died in Massachusetts. Attorney Margaret Wong, who represented the president's aunt in her immigration case, said Zeituni Onyango died Tuesday in a Boston rehabilitation center. Wong said that Onyango, 61, who was the half sister of the president's father, was being treated for cancer and respiratory problems. Onyango moved to the U.S. from Kenya in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004. But she remained in the country illegally, living in Boston public housing. LINK

SECRET SERVICE The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig: " Secret Service Removing Supervisor, Tightening Rules After Drinking Incidents" Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has demoted the supervisor of one of the agency's largest divisions and reassigned nearly two dozen members of its staff, part of a broader cleanup effort in the wake of embarrassing drinking incidents on two recent presidential trips, according to three people familiar with the moves. The agency also has ordered stricter rules on drinking for employees of the division, known as special operations, prohibiting them from drinking alcohol within 12 hours of reporting for duty and 24 hours before the president's arrival at any trip location. LINK

GOP Politico's Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer: " John Roberts Gets The Parties Started" Republican Party committees are getting their groove back, thanks to John Roberts. Insiders are dreaming up how to maximize a recent Supreme Court ruling that frees up some big donors to give even more. A prominent idea: create a new class of donors who contribute a total of six- or seven-figures to each of three party committees and spread cash to endangered lawmakers. In exchange, the big-money givers would get something of an "all access pass" that comes with perks from the big three national committees, like face time with top officials. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS " Pres. Obama: 'When Women Succeed, America Succeeds'" LINK " John Kerry: Russian Agents Trying To Destabilize Ukraine" LINK

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