Hillary Clinton is under fire after comparing Russian president Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.
Late Wednesday, she tried to clarify, but didn't entirely back down:
"What I said yesterday is that the claims by President Putin and other Russians are that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into Eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities. And that is reminiscent of claims that were made in the 1930's, when Germany, under the nazis, kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe. So, I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective. I'm not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before."
Republican Senator John McCain was quick to agree with Clinton's comparison, tweeting:
She's right on this comparison, and he referenced a headline reading: "Hillary Clinton compares Putin actions in Ukraine to Adolf Hitler's in Nazi Germany"
She's right on this comparison: "Hillary Clinton compares Putin actions in Ukraine to Adolf Hitler’s in Nazi Germany" http://t.co/3akjQBTrvz
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 5, 2014
OutFront: CNN Political Commentator Michael Smerconish, he's also host of CNN's "Smerconish" and David Ignatius is a columnist for the Washington Post.
Was the United States caught off guard?
There are serious questions about whether U.S. intelligence failed to predict what's happening on the ground in Ukraine.
In a tense hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Senator John McCain hammered Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, asking him whether U.S. intelligence was aware of Russia's plans to invade Crimea.
Hagel said that the U.S. was aware of the threat early last week, but that didn't satisfy the senator.
MCCAIN: So, despite all the media reports, our intelligence sources predicted that Lavrov would invade Crimea?
HAGEL: As I said, I don't get into the specifics in open hearing, but if you would like a briefing of your staff on the specifics of your question.
MCCAIN: Well, how about commenting on news reports that say that.
HAGEL: Well, news reports are news reports, but that's not the same as real - it's not real intelligence though.
MCCAIN: OK I - in other words, the fact is, Mr. Secretary, it was not predicted by our intelligence, and that's already been well-
known, which is another massive failure because of our misreading, total misreading, of the intentions of Vladimir Putin.
The CIA responded saying, "Since the beginning of the political unrest in Ukraine, the CIA has regularly updated policymakers to ensure they have an accurate and timely picture of the unfolding crisis. These updates have included warnings of possible scenarios for a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Any suggestion otherwise is flat wrong."
CNN's Erin Burnett asked New York congressman Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, whether McCain went too far?
"The invasion or the incursion was not predicted, however, it was among a list of possibilities," King said. "We are going to hold hearings, do an investigation as to if more intelligence could have been gathered or was the problem with the analysis."
It seems everyone has an opinion on what Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing with regards to Ukraine and why he's doing it:
President Obama: There have been some reports that President Putin is pausing for a moment and reflecting on what's happened.
Madeleine Albright: He's living in some other world.
Michael McFaul: Putin is saying, I'm here, and you're going to have to deal with me.
Sen. John McCain: I think he loves to strut on the world stage.
Who is the man behind the tiger? The shirtless man on the horse?
OutFront: Ariel Cohen is a Senior Research fellow, Heritage Foundation. He's met with Putin close to a dozen times, and he was born in the Crimean region.
The U.S. and its allies are waiting for Vladimir Putin's next move.
As Russian forces tighten their hold on the Crimean Peninsula, the next few days will be crucial.
Both the Russian and Ukrainian forces are poised to react to the slightest provocation.
More than 100 unarmed Ukrainian soldiers tried to return to a Ukrainian military base north of Sevastopol Tuesday morning when about a dozen Russian soldiers fired warning shots over their heads.
Video shot by one of the Ukrainian soldiers showed the Ukrainians continuing to move forward. In the video, a Russian, holding his weapon, orders them to halt their advance: "I have orders; I will shoot you in the legs if you come any further."
Just how powerful is the Russian military?
CNN's Barbara Starr has a detailed look Putin's forces.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to help construct a way for Putin to get out of the Ukraine crisis - an "off ramp," according to a U.S. senior administration official.
Merkel and President Barack Obama spoke Tuesday and talked about the off-ramp, which would include international observers, who could ensure the rights of the many ethnic Russians in Ukraine - thus taking care of a key Putin concern. Crimea will not be offered to Moscow, the administration official said. Obama presented the off-ramp during a call Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the official said.
The official told reporters that the United States is moving in the direction of sanctions imposed on Russian individuals suspected of being corrupt and other bad actors.
The official continued to say that these sanctions could go forward in the coming days. Broader sanctions in conjunction with European allies could follow, if conditions warrant.