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Mike Pence sits with Nikki Haley at the UN Security Council. Photo: Mary Altaffer / AP

Vice President Mike Pence wrapped Russia together with the worst state actors in the world in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly today, naming it among the countries and terror groups "who seek to undermine...sovereignty, prosperity, and security."

Why this matters: What Pence said about Russia is as important as the context in which he said it. He rhetorically grouped Russia with the menaces of Iran, North Korea, and radical Islamic terrorism, making his one of the harshest messages the Trump administration has sent to Russia in nine months.

  • Trump didn't call out Russia by name in his speech to the UN on Tuesday, though he did obliquely criticize the Kremlin's occupation of Crimea, saying: "We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea."

Here are the key grabs, from Pence's speech to the UN Security Council Wednesday morning:

"For as President Trump observed yesterday, we are once again confronted, in his words, by 'those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil, and terror,' who seek to undermine the sovereignty, prosperity, and security, all of which the President called the 'pillars of peace.'

"In Eastern Europe, Russia continues to compromise the sovereignty of its neighbors and seeks to redraw international borders by force. Radical Islamic Terrorism continues to beset nations with barbarous attacks – in Barcelona, Paris, London. In the Middle East, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism continues to flout the spirit of Iran Deal, destabilizing the region and brazenly threatening the security of sovereign nations. And as the world has seen in just the past few days, the depraved regime in North Korea is relentlessly pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles – and now, as the president said, 'threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life'."

Pence also echoed Trump's attacks on the Human Rights Council — a UN body that conservatives frequently lambast for what they argue is unfair and hypocritical scrutiny of Israel.

  • "The truth is, the Human Rights Council doesn't deserve its name...Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council actually attracts and welcomes many of the worst human rights violators in the world...As to its operation I think of what President John F. Kennedy warned more than 50 years ago. That the United Nations must not become a 'forum for invective' – and yet today, its Human Rights Council has become exactly that – a forum for anti-Semitism and invective against Israel."
  • "It is, as the President said, a 'massive source of embarrassment' – and we call on the Security Council and this entire body to immediately reform the membership and practices of the Human Rights Council – and end the Human Rights Council's blatant bias against our cherished ally, Israel."

Go deeper

In photos: Drought-ravaged California lashed by major storm

Workers try to divert water into drains as rain pours down on Oct. 24 in Marin City, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A major storm system was pummeling Northern California and parts of the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains overnight.

The big picture: "Atmospheric river" storms, associated with a record-strong "bomb cyclone" offshore from the Pacific Northwest, have brought flooding and mudslides to parts of California that were razed by recent wildfires and in severe drought. It's also caused widespread power outages in California, Oregon and Washington state.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

2 hours ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.