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SOTU Scoop
August 29th, 2014
05:08 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, August 29, 2014.

1. The terror threat. The British government has raised its terror threat level from "substantial" to "severe," in response to the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. While raising the threat level means a terrorist attack is highly likely, Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May said "there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent." Prime Minister David Cameron said Islamic extremism is the "root cause" of the terrorist threat in the UK, and that ISIS' fight in Syria and Iraq "is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore." Cameron added that he would soon announce plans to keep jihadist sympathizers from traveling to Syria and make it easier to seize their passports. The ISIS fighter who murdered American James Foley is believed to be from Britain, and British authorities estimate that 500 UK nationals have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside Islamic groups.

2. Obama's ISIS strategy. A day after President Obama said "we don't have a strategy yet" for defeating ISIS, the White House was still trying to clarify his remarks. "He was asked a very specific question about whether or not the president would seek congressional authorization before ordering any sort of military action in Syria," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday. "And the point the president made was that that's putting the cart before the horse. The president hasn't yet laid out a specific plan for military action in Syria." Critics of the president said his response showed his disengagement from world affairs. The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and House Foreign Affairs Committee and Iraq war veteran Rep. Adam Kinzinger offer their take on how the U.S. should respond to ISIS Sunday on State of the Union.

3. Ukraine. As many as 5,000 Russian troops have crossed the border into Ukraine, according to a British government source. The troops are taking part in fighting in the pro-Russian rebel cities of Luhansk and Donetsk. "The primary role of the current Russian deployments inside Ukraine is probably to assist, support and take the pressure off the separatist forces in order to maintain pressure on Kiev to decentralize," the British government source said. "However, we are not ruling out more ambitious plans, including a land corridor from the Russian border to Crimea." Russia has denied it has sent forces into Ukraine, while the Ukrainian government has called Russia's movements a "full-scale invasion." Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez joins State of the Union this Sunday from the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

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