The United States is moving toward an explicit call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, multiple U.S. government sources have told CNN.
The move is expected in the coming days, after the United States consults with the United Nations Security Council. The United States has opposed Assad's security crackdown on protests across Syria.
Administration officials have been talking among themselves about when would be the most effective time to call on al-Assad (pictured) to step down, several sources over the past week have told CNN. Officials described the White House as being more eager, while the State Department was more cautious about the ramifications should al-Assad not heed the call.
A Security Council meeting is expected Wednesday, multiple U.S. government sources told CNN.FULL STORY
[Updated at 9:44 p.m. ET] Referring to the Obama administration's contention that Standard & Poor's analysis of the government's finances was off by about $2 trillion, a Treasury Department spokesperson said: "A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself."
The Standard & Poor's rating agency announced Friday evening that it has downgraded the U.S. credit rating to AA+ from its top rank of AAA.
On Friday afternoon, hours before S&P publicly announced the downgrade, the agency revealed its plans to the Obama administration and sent an analysis to the Treasury Department. The senior administration official said the analysis inflated U.S. deficits by $2 trillion.
Treasury analysts contacted S&P and challenged the analysis, and S&P acknowledged the mistake, the official said. But S&P said it still would stick with its decision to downgrade the United States' credit rating, according to the official.FULL STORY