Let Me Start: Sanctioned…but will it work?

Updated
By Hardball staff

MYSTERY:Search and rescue experts are “throwing everything” at the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Australia’s prime minister said Friday.

“If there is anything down there, we will find it,” Tony Abbott told reporters as a multinational air and sea mission focused on the remote southern Indian Ocean. “We owe it to the families of those people [on board] to do no less.”

But a second day of searching the zone ended without success Friday, with none of the five military aircraft involved in the hunt confirming any sighting of debris.” (NBC News)

2016:The claim has hardened into accepted fact among many Democratic operatives: Hillary Clinton is freezing the Democratic 2016 field as she waits until possibly late this year to decide on another presidential run. It’s virtually impossible for anyone other than Clinton to raise money or build a campaign infrastructure, the thinking goes, with Clinton hovering overhead.

Yet Clinton’s allies believe it’s not true — and increasingly they are saying so. In fact, they argue the opposite: that the former first lady is shielding other prospective Democratic contenders from months of attacks and scrutiny they’d probably face without her in the picture. There’s simply no need for Clinton to start a campaign this early, they say.” (Politico)

SANCTIONED:Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed legislation to complete the annexation of Crimea, a defiant step that came just a day after President Obama expanded sanctions against the Russian leader’s top aides and reputed financial associates.

The signing followed the unanimous passage of the legislation in the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house and came just hours after the first signs emerged in Russia of the bite from American sanctions.

Two Russian banks said that Visa and MasterCard are no longer handling transactions for its account holders, and Interfax news service reported Friday that two other banks were also affected. Several hundred thousand cardholders will be affected, according the Russian central bank.” (Washington Post)

MORE: Senators McCain, Coats respond to Russian entry bans

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Let Me Start: Sanctioned...but will it work?

Updated