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August 28, 2014

On Wednesday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart offered a pretty counterintuitive approach to handling the insurgency from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). After halfheartedly walking his viewers through ISIS 101, using his patented technique of having TV news clips answer his leading questions, Stewart focused on the Islamist militia's plans for carving out an Islamic caliphate. And he addressed ISIS directly, issuing a stark warning: Be careful what you wish for.

"That's right ISIS, look at us," Stewart said. "We're living your dream. We're the most powerful state in history, we influence the whole world, and all we talk about is how everything sucks now!" Well, if cautionary tales about bogged-down bureaucracy and partisan gridlock doesn't stop ISIS, at least it's cheaper than airstrikes. --Peter Weber

12:49 p.m. ET
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The U.S. government last fall ruled the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin's former media czar, Mikhail Lesin, an "accident," but two FBI agents and a U.S. intelligence agency official say he was actually beaten to death, BuzzFeed News reported Friday. The three agents were not "directly involved" in the investigation of Lesin's November 2015 death in a Washington, D.C., hotel room, but they said they "learned about it from colleagues who were."

The FBI agents also revealed yet another previously unreported bit of information: Lesin was in D.C. to talk to Department of Justice officials about "the inner workings of RT, the Kremlin-funded network that Lesin founded," BuzzFeed reported. He was apparently slated to meet with the DOJ the day after he was killed in the hotel room that the DOJ had reportedly paid for.

"There seems to be an effort here to cover up that fact for reasons I can't get into. What I can tell you is that there isn't a single person inside the bureau who believes this guy got drunk, fell down, and died. Everyone thinks he was whacked and that Putin or the Kremlin were behind it," one of the FBI agents told BuzzFeed, dismissing the official explanation for Lesin's death.

The agents said that, actually, the FBI "has obtained evidence and conducted witness interviews that indicate Lesin was murdered," apparently with a baseball bat.

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News. Becca Stanek

12:00 p.m. ET
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North Korea has launched what appears to be a ballistic missile, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Friday. The missile, launched shortly before midnight local time in Japan, is apparently headed for Japanese waters. It could land in Japan's "exclusive economic zone," Reuters reported, citing Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile flew for roughly 45 minutes. There were "no immediate reports of damage," CNBC reported.

Davis said the Pentagon is "assessing" the situation "and will have more information soon." Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called a meeting of Japan's National Security Council.

This test would mark the 14th missile test North Korea has conducted this year. Becca Stanek

This is a breaking news story that will be updated as more details become available.

10:46 a.m. ET

It's unclear which people Fox News' Jesse Watters has been talking to, but he claims "a lot" of them "wish President Trump was a dictator." Watters explained Thursday on The Five that if Trump were a dictator then "maybe we could repeal ObamaCare." "It would be a lot easier that way," he said, hours before the ObamaCare "skinny repeal" died on the Senate floor.

Watters made the remark as the panel discussed a recent quote from Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), comparing Trump to King George III. Ellison said Trump's efforts to "intimidate people, to pack the courts, to intimidate the press" are all part of his plan to "just run everything himself." "We fought a war of independence against somebody — King George — who was trying to do that," Ellison said.

But Watters seems to think that, for the sake of repealing the health-care law that insures more than 20 million Americans, it wouldn't be so bad for Trump to be a little more like the man who sparked the Revolutionary War. Watch Watters make the case below. Becca Stanek

10:03 a.m. ET

Frustrated with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, President Trump is reportedly already considering whom he wants to replace him with, The New York Times reported Thursday:

[...] Mr. Trump has openly told people that he has lost faith in Mr. Priebus. He has said he wants "a general" as chief of staff, and has focused on John F. Kelly, the retired four-star Marine now serving as homeland security secretary. Many of his advisers, however, consider that a bad idea. [The New York Times]

Even if Trump's advisers manage to talk him out of tapping Kelly, the chances of Priebus sticking around are looking pretty low. The New York Times reported that Trump has lately taken to bringing up the time Priebus suggested that Trump drop out of the presidential election after the infamous Access Hollywood tape of Trump talking about grabbing women by the genitals surfaced. Trump reportedly goes around asking his associates, "'Do you remember when Reince did that?'"

Read more at The New York Times. Becca Stanek

9:09 a.m. ET

As Senate Republicans fell silent early Friday morning upon learning they did not have enough votes to pass an ObamaCare repeal, the crowd gathered outside the U.S. Capitol burst into cheers. People bracing for a "skinny repeal" of the Affordable Care Act hugged, danced, pumped their fists in the air, and clapped the moment they learned the repeal would not become a reality:

Senate Republicans' ObamaCare repeal attempt, an effort seven years in the making, was defeated after three Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and John McCain (Ariz.) — voted against the proposal that would've ended ObamaCare's individual mandate. Republicans weren't entirely sure which way McCain would vote until the decisive moment he silently walked up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and gave him a thumbs-down. Becca Stanek

8:48 a.m. ET

After Senate Republicans failed to repeal ObamaCare, GOP Rep. Mo Brooks (Ala.) on Friday morning suggested that it might be time for a change in party leadership. Brooks urged Senate Republicans not to quit pushing to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but he said that if they're willing to quit, maybe some Republicans should quit too. "If they're gonna quit, well then by golly, maybe they ought to start at the top with Mitch McConnell leaving his position and letting somebody new, somebody bold, somebody conservative take the reins," Brooks said on CNN's New Day.

"You think the problem is leadership? You think it's time for a change?" CNN's Chris Cuomo clarified. Brooks responded by noting that "unquestionably, the leadership at the top is responsible" for the failed repeal vote. "If Mitch McConnell cannot get the job done on this, how is he going to get the job done on the rest of President Trump's agenda over the next three and a half years?" Brooks said.

Brooks insisted that it isn't "necessarily anything bad about Mitch McConnell," but "he's got a job to do." "And if he can't do it, then as The Apprentice would say, 'You're fired,' and get somebody who can," Brooks said.

Watch it below. Becca Stanek

7:44 a.m. ET
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) apparently made a dramatic entrance into the Senate chamber just before he cast his ObamaCare repeal-killing vote. Politico reported that as McCain walked in for the Senate vote on rolling back the Affordable Care Act, he "tantalizingly hinted": "Watch the show."

And what a show it was. Once inside the chamber, McCain, who Republicans say was waffling all day on his vote, walked up to a group of Democrats to announce he'd be voting against Republicans' plan to repeal ObamaCare. "Let's get this over with. I really want to do [the National Defense Authorization Act]," McCain, eager to move onto the next piece of legislation, reportedly said. He reportedly "embraced" Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

He then voted no, joining Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) in killing their party's seven-year mission to undo ObamaCare in the wee hours of Friday morning. McCain cast his vote despite pleading talks with the party's top leadership, from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Vice President Mike Pence on up to President Trump.

Politico reported that Republicans were so shocked after the vote they "could barely speak."

Read more about McCain's fateful vote at Politico. Becca Stanek

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