Summer of Sanctions

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • BREAKING OVERNIGHT - U.S. SAYS RUSSIAN MISSILE LAUNCH 'SERIOUS' VIOLATION OF TREATY. The Obama administration publicly accused Russia of violating a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, a declaration likely to deepen tensions between the two countries already at odds over crises in Ukraine, Syria, and the Middle East, ABC's DEVIN DWYER reports. The allegations, raised by President Obama in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, center on ground-launched cruise missile tests conducted in 2011, an administration official said. The U.S. determined those tests violated Russia's treaty agreement to not to "possess, produce, or flight-test" missiles with a range of up to 5,500 kilometers. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty was signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. "This is a very serious matter which we have attempted to address with Russia for some time now," an administration official said, requesting anonymity to speak ahead of a formal announcement. An annual State Department compliance report on arms control treaties, due out today, is expected to outline in detail the U.S. findings of the alleged Russian treaty violation.
  • 'OUR PURPOSE HERE AGAIN IS NOT TO PUNISH RUSSIA': The White House yesterday said it expects the European Union to impose new sanctions against critical sectors of the Russian economy this week, ABC's MARY BRUCE notes. "We expect the European Union to take significant additional steps this week," Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told reporters at the daily White House briefing, "including in key sectors of the Russian economy." The U.S. is preparing to take additional steps as well. "In turn and in full coordination with Europe, the United States will implement additional measures itself," Blinken said, reiterating "our purpose here again is not to punish Russia but to make clear that it must cease its support for the separatists and stop destabilizing Ukraine."
  • TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE: This morning, President Obama meets with rank and file House Democrats at the White House to discuss economic issues. Later the president visits wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.


ABC's RICK KLEIN: Forget the slim and diminishing chances of actually passing a law before Congress breaks for the rest of the summer. The question now - for Democrats and Republicans, Senate leaders and House leaders - is whether something is better than nothing in responding to the border crisis, before everyone heads home for the campaign stretch. Clearly any incumbent would rather talk about something that passed - right? Maybe not so fast, not with primary season not quite finished for Republicans, and not with red-state Democrats eager to show daylight from their party's president and congressional leadership. (Would Mary Landrieu or Mark Pryor want to throw more money at the border without changing the 2008 law governing deportations of those streaming across the border from Central America?) It's already popping up in ads: "Thanks to the pro-amnesty policies of President Obama and Sen. [Jean] Shaheen, we have an immigration crisis on our hands," Scott Brown says in a new TV ad airing in New Hampshire. Ben Sasse, the GOP Senate candidate in Nebraska, takes a slightly different angle in a video his campaign posted online: "Go to Central America and stop the bleeding," Sasse says to President Obama.

ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: The days until the congressional recess are ticking down and as the days pass the reality that nothing will get done on the immigration front seems likely, but when it comes to 2014 candidates at least two-but likely many more-are running on the issue. Today, Nebraska GOP Senate candidate Ben Sasse released a video calling on the president to travel to see the "human tragedy." "President Obama needs to go to Central America this week and make a major speech," Sasse says looking directly at the camera. "He needs to say to the people of Latin America, 'The United States' borders are not open, we are not going to have amnesty.'" He's not the only one. Yesterday, New Hampshire GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown became the first candidate to release an ad on the issue, claiming "folks who come here illegally they just walk across the border" and "that's wrong." He blames the crisis both on the president and his opponent: "It is time for us to secure the border once and for all and tell people who try to come here illegally that we intend to enforce the law." Expect many more candidates on both sides of the aisle to embrace the issue, especially if after this week they can blame Congress for doing absolutely nothing. WATCH the Sasse video: and the Brown ad:

ABC's ARIANE DE VOGUE: Though the Supreme Court issued a major opinion concerning gay rights in 2013, it has so far sidestepped the issue of whether states can ban gay marriages. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Monday striking down Virginia's strict marriage laws brought the issue one step closer to the justices. It's the second time a federal appeals court has struck down a state ban since the Supreme Court ruling in United States vs. Windsor. It will take at least a few weeks for the 4th Circuit's ruling to go into effect. In the meantime, supporters of the law could ask for a re-hearing with either the full court of appeals or the Supreme Court. Though the opinion deals directly with Virginia's laws, the reasoning could apply to other states under the 4th Circuit's jurisdiction, "including to states with bans that, as the majority noted, are similar to Virginia's, including South Carolina, North Carolina, and West Virginia," said Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center.



SARAH PALIN'S NEW TV CHANNEL SPAWNS TWITTER MOCKERY. The hashtag #PalinTVshows has taken off on Twitter since the announcement of Sarah Palin's new, subscription-based channel. Using plays on existing TV show titles, the majority of the tweets ridiculed the former vice-presidential candidate and her latest endeavor. Palin publicly announced her project Sunday. In a video on her YouTube channel, she called it "a news channel that really is a lot more than news." It will cover stories about her family, behind-the-scenes looks at events and "the issues that the mainstream media won't talk about," Palin said. Palin expressed hope that the channel would be a "community," where viewers could share their concerns directly with her. However, this community does come at a cost. The subscription rate is $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year. ABC's JENNIFER HANSLER compiled a list of Twitter's best Palin TV one-liners.

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN 3 POLITICIANS TRIED A MINIMUM WAGE BUDGET. Have you ever seen a congressman snacking on a measly tin of sardines? Or maybe a governor ordering a McChicken off the dollar menu? In Washington this week that scene was reality for three Democratic politicians who are taking the Live the Wage challenge, ABC's SCOTT WILSON reports. Reps. Tim Ryan and Jan Schakowsky joined former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in taking the challenge-and are each living on a budget of $77 for the week-the same amount that a minimum wage worker typically has to spend on food, transportation and day-to-day expenses-after factoring out major costs such as rent and utilities. A $77-a-week budget certainly doesn't allow for luxuries. "I basically had a couple bags of peanuts in the cloakroom-and there was a little fruit in the office that I ate yesterday," Rep. Ryan told ABC News. "I spent about seven bucks last night on a couple cans of sardines and a bag of crackers from the convenience store up the street."

ONE CONGRESSMAN'S QUEST TO PROTECT JETLINERS FROM MISSILES. Rep. Steve Israel wants all new U.S. commercial airliners to include some kind of missile defense systems to protect against a terror attack, according to ABC's ERIN DOOLEY. The New York Democrat has renewed a push for the legislation after a missile allegedly blew Malaysia Airlines flight 17 out of the sky over Ukraine and a Hamas rocket landed near Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. "Terrorists are copycats, and I'm concerned that [when] they see these tactics, they're going to try and employ them," Israel told ABC News. "We know that there are thousands of shoulder-fired missiles in the hands of terrorists around the world. They're going to use these things and we are still leaving our public undefended." The congressman says he plans to introduce a bill expanding missile protection for passenger planes, likely one that would require all newly built commercial aircraft include defensive technology.

WHY A FRUSTRATED DEMOCRAT WANTS A SWIMMING POOL IN DARRELL ISSA'S COMMITTEE ROOM. A frustrated California congressman is calling for a swimming pool to be installed in the chambers of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee - to facilitate a medieval litmus test, notes ABC's JOHN PARKINSON. In a statement caked thick with sarcasm, Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., called on the committee's Republican chairman, Darrell Issa, to "install an above-ground pool" to aid the GOP chairman's investigations into a wide range of controversies. "We are picking winners and losers, when it is clearly obvious that witches can only be found by dunking them in water," Cardenas wrote. "If they float they're a witch. If they don't, installing a pool will allow us to retrieve the non-witch before he or she drowns." The committee voted Friday to reject White House assertions of "absolute immunity" of David Simas, a senior adviser to President Obama and the director of the new White House Office of Political Strategy, who has refused to testify voluntarily or under subpoena at the committee.


"PERRY TO JOIN NHGOP CHAIR ON CALL TODAY TO CRITICIZE SHAHEEN, OBAMA ON BORDER SECURITY," by the New Hampshire Journal's John Distaso. "In a move with laced with ramifications not only for this year's mid-term election, but also possibly for the 2016 first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Texas Gov. Rick Perry later today will weigh in on the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire for the second time in less than week. Perry, who is seriously considering a second run for the White House, will join state Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn on a media conference fall to discuss, the NHGOP says, 'the failed Obama-Shaheen border security policies.'"


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