Pres. Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, talked for an hour Thursday afternoon, with the U.S. president stating "Russia's actions are in violation of Ukraine's sovereignty" and that there is a diplomatic way out, according to the White House.
The call came after Obama issued another warning to Russia and signed an order to impose economic sanctions after the Crimean parliament voted to separate from Ukraine.
The president says the U.s. and it's allies will not just stand by and watch.
"The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law," Obama said. "Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine. In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders."
Russia continues to solidify its position with its military, moving a partially-sunk Russian ship, to block seven Ukrainian vessels in Crimea.
In addition, Russia is conducting large-scale defense drills about 280 miles from the Ukrainian border. Russian authorities said the drills are part of a regular combat training cycle, according to the news agency. The show of force is the backdrop of a deteriorating relationship between the region of Crimea and the UKrainian government.
The White House turned up the pressure with the announcement of new economic sanctions that also include expanding visa restrictions.
Both the U.S. and Russia continue to try to find a diplomatic solution, but after a second meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. Russia says it has not found any common ground.
They agreed to continue talking "over the course of the next hours, the next days" to try to find a political solution to end the crisis, Kerry told reporters following the meeting.
OutFront: Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department.
Robert Redford presents "Chicagoland," a series exploring the highly toxic fight over slashing the bloated budget of America's third biggest city.
The man in charge is someone who relishes a fight – Mayor Rahm Emanuel who, last year, closed 50 Chicago schools affecting 27,000 students, which was the largest school closure in American history, most of them in low-income black neighborhoods.
That decision led to the mayor being called, a "liar", a "classist", a "racist" and "The Murder Mayor."
OutFront: Liz Dozier, who appears on "Chicagoland," is the principal of Fenger High School, located in Roseland, one of the Chicago neighborhoods hit by the closures.
(CNN) - A California man who lost $500,000 at blackjack and pai gow is suing a new Las Vegas casino, alleging he was too drunk to be allowed to gamble over a 17-hour period just before Super Bowl weekend.
Mark A. Johnston of Ventura, California, is claiming he shouldn't have to pay the Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino the $500,000 debt because employees served him so much alcohol that he suffered a blackout and was unable to remember the losses or even his gambling, the lawsuit alleges.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board is now investigating the Downtown Grand, formerly the Lady Luck Casino, on whether it violated gaming regulations, said Karl Bennison, chief of the board's enforcement division.
Those regulations prohibit casinos from "permitting persons who are visibly intoxicated to participate in gaming activity" and from providing "complimentary service of intoxicating beverages in the casino area to persons who are visibly intoxicated."
"We are investigating this thoroughly," Bennison said. "We are aware of this matter. We'll see if there are regulation violations."
Calls for the removal of a powerful congressman from his leadership post.
Democrats are demanding that House Speaker John Boehner remove Republican Congressman Darrell Issa as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
In a letter to the Speaker, the Congressional Black Caucus said Issa "abused his authority" at an IRS hearing Wednesday when he clashed with the Democratic ranking member of the committee Elijah Cummings.
Issa refused to take Cummings' statement and muted his microphone when he protested an early end to the hearing during which Lerner again refused to testify.
House Speaker John Boehner said Rep. Darrell Issa was justified in ending a hearing on IRS targeting of conservative groups.
"From what I understand, I think Mr. Issa was in his rights to adjourn the hearing," Boehner told reporters on Thursday.
Cummings told CNN's Erin Burnett that he was 'shocked' by Boehner's response.
"You cannot have a situation where the minority is silenced so that and prevent it from speaking one syllable," Cummings said. " That's what Issa was trying to do, preventing the minority from speaking one syllable at a hearing."
Gripping eyewitness testimony in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.
The athlete's neighbor in excruciating detail revealed what he saw just minutes after the blade runner's girlfriend was shot four times.
Witness Johan Stipp, said he went to Pistorius' residence after hearing shots fired. He said he saw Steenkamp mortally wounded, her brain tissue mixed with blood and Pistorius praying for her to live.
"I remember the first thing he said when I got there was, 'I shot her, I thought she was a burglar and I shot her,'" Stipp told the court.
The testimony was so powerful it left the one-time Olympian in tears.
Robyn Curnow is OutFront in Pretoria, South Africa with the story.