Britain exits the European Union:

Washington (CNN): Britain’s vote to leave the European Union Friday left the United States confronting a threat to the strength and cohesion of both its closest historical ally and a 70-year transatlantic partnership that has been the bedrock of Western peace and prosperity.

The outcome of Britain’s referendum instantly pitched an already weakened Europe into a new crisis, opening the possibility that other member states could choose to leave the E.U. and create new headaches for Washington.

American leaders on all sides of the political aisle Friday expressed respect for the decision of British voters and vowed to stand with America’s “special relationship” ally Britain and the diminished European Union once both partners have finalized their divorce — a period that could take years.