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April 14, 2018
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Moscow on Saturday condemned Friday night's U.S. strikes on Bashar al-Assad regime targets in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. is "deepening a humanitarian catastrophe," while a Russian embassy statement called the attack "treacherous and insane" and a "clear and present danger to world peace" which violates international law.

Fellow Syrian ally Iran also slammed the strikes, labeling them "aggression" and "a flagrant violation of international laws and a disregard for Syria's right of national sovereignty and territorial integrity." Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he "explicitly announce[s] that the U.S. president, French president, and the British prime minister are criminals and have committed crime."

Assad himself told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani the attack has only strengthened his commitment to "crush terrorism in every inch" of Syria, referring to the rebel fighters whose territory the Syrian president is believed by the U.S. to have targeted with chemical weapons last week. Bonnie Kristian

10:13 a.m. ET
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President Trump is renewing his attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and floating the idea of firing him, an idea he suggests is a popular one.

In an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, Trump reiterated his disapproval of Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, going as far as to say, "I don't have an attorney general. It's very sad." Trump even mocked Sessions, saying he was "mixed up and confused" during his nomination process. After this assessment, Trump was asked if he might fire the attorney general, to which he responded, "we'll see what happens," adding that "a lot of people have asked me to do that."

Politico reported last week that if the president were to fire Sessions right now, Senate Republicans have no idea who could be confirmed to replace him. After all, senators would need to feel confident that the nominee would not interfere with Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. A spokesperson for Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told Politico that he "finds it difficult to envision a circumstance" where he'd vote to confirm a successor to Sessions assuming Sessions is fired "for faithfully executing his job."

CNN also reported in August that congressional Republicans are continuing to advise Trump not to fire Sessions, at least not until after the midterms. But it's unclear whether Trump will take their advice. He told The Hill that he believes so many people disapprove of Sessions that even his "worst enemies" think the attorney general shouldn't have recused himself. Read the full interview at The Hill. Brendan Morrow

9:53 a.m. ET
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The Trump administration is unable to locate 1,488 migrant children who were placed with sponsors this year, a Senate investigation found on Tuesday. The New York Times reports that the migrant children, who entered the country illegally, were unaccounted for after follow-up phone calls by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The department insisted that "these children are not 'lost,'" explaining that the sponsors of those particular children "simply did not respond or could not be reached when the voluntary call was made." About 11,250 migrant children have been placed with sponsors in 2018.

Senate investigators said that the administration's inability to keep track of migrant children is a "troubling" problem, since the children could end up with human traffickers or in otherwise dangerous situations. HHS says it is not responsible for the children after they are released from government custody.

The congressional report was released along with proposed legislation that would make sure HHS tracks children's safety after they leave custody, and would require background checks for sponsors. An HHS spokesperson said sponsors "have been vetted for criminality and ability to provide for [children.]"

The increasing number of migrant children in federal detention has brought increased scrutiny to the Trump administration's handling of their care and release. In April HHS acknowledged that it could not be sure of the location of an additional 1,475 migrant children who were placed with sponsors last year. Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

8:53 a.m. ET
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If there was ever any doubt that Disney's upcoming streaming service is going to be a massive hit, those doubts can now be put to rest.

Variety reports that Disney's forthcoming Netflix competitor will include original TV shows based on characters in the multi-billion dollar Marvel film franchise. The idea is to give some of the heroes who haven't yet headlined their own movie a TV show lasting between six and eight episodes, with limited series based on Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) reportedly already in development. Hiddleston and Olsen are both expected to reprise their roles from the movies.

These shows will receive budgets on par with that of an actual feature film, Variety reports. And although the current slate of Marvel TV shows, like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil, are produced separately from the movies like Avengers: Infinity War, the head of Marvel's film studio, Kevin Feige, will be directly involved in these new shows. It will almost be like new Marvel blockbuster movies are being delivered directly via streaming instead of in a theater.

This move essentially guarantees that Marvel fans, many of whom have been begging for a Loki movie, will sign up for Disney's streaming service, which launches in 2019. Read more about the new Marvel shows at Variety. Brendan Morrow

8:11 a.m. ET

The Trump administration announced this week that it is capping the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. in fiscal 2019 at 30,000, the lowest number since the current U.S. refugee resettlement system was put in place in 1980. It's also a steep drop from the cap of 45,000 refugees set in 2018 — though with only two weeks left in the fiscal year, the U.S. has let in only 20,918 refugees, Axios notes. And the large majority of those refugees shared a certain religion in common.

In fact, fewer than 2,000 Muslim refugees have been admitted to the U.S. this fiscal year, versus more than 9,000 in fiscal 2017 — even though, as Axios notes, 39 percent of the 25 million refugees in the world come from three predominantly Muslim countries: Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Most of the Muslims let in this year came from Myanmar, while the number of Somali refugees dropped sharply due to unexplained objections from the White House. Still, while the share of Christian refugees has grown to 71 percent, the total number of Christians allowed in dropped more than 40 percent from the previous year. You can read more at Axios. Peter Weber

7:46 a.m. ET

Yet another retro video game console will be given a new life this holiday season, though getting your hands on it might be a challenge.

Sony has just announced that the PlayStation Classic, a mini version of the console originally released in 1994, is hitting store shelves this December. It will cost $100 and come with 20 games, including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms, Sony announced Wednesday. The other 15 games haven't been revealed yet.

With this console, Sony is following in the footsteps of Nintendo, which in 2016 released the wildly successful NES Classic Edition, a mini version of the Nintendo Entertainment System that came with 30 games. Despite being a re-release of a 30-year-old system, the NES Classic has been such a hit that in June 2018, it actually outsold the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, per The Verge. Nintendo followed it up with the Super NES Classic Edition, which was so popular that pre-orders sold out minutes after they went live, Business Insider reports.

It remains to be seen whether the PlayStation Classic will be as hard-to-get an item, but you can at least attempt to buy one on Dec. 3. Watch a video of Sony's announcement below. Brendan Morrow

6:47 a.m. ET

When you're giving a speech, a joke can help win over your audience and add leavening to a weighty subject. Sometimes those jokes don't age well, though, like pretty much any joke involving a racial epithet. Or jokes about your high school's lifelong code of omertà when, a few years later, you're a Supreme Court nominee credibly accused of a violent and clumsy attempted rape in high school and your high school friend, the only witness to the alleged incident, says he has no memory of it happening.

On Tuesday, CNN unearthed a video of Judge Brett Kavanaugh making such a joke. "Fortunately we had a good saying we've held firm to to this day," Kavanaugh said in a March 2015 speech at Catholic University of America's Columbus Law School: "What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep. That's been a good thing for all of us, I think." The joke is in the first part of the clip, and CNN's panel discusses it and the broader Kavanaugh imbroglio for a few minutes after that. Watch below. Peter Weber

6:12 a.m. ET
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On Tuesday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a massive spending bill that funds the Defense Department and the Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services Departments for fiscal 2019 and also keeps the entire government open through Dec. 7, averting a government shutdown before the midterm elections. The House is expected to take up the measure next week, but because it does not include the money President Trump wants for his border wall, it is unclear if Trump will sign it. The government will partially shut down on Oct. 1 if Trump doesn't sign a stopgap spending bill.

The legislation the Senate passed 93 to 7 provides $606.5 billion for the Pentagon and $178 billion for Labor, Education, and HHS. Together, that accounts for more than 60 percent of discretionary spending. If the House approves and Trump signs the bill, Congress can wait to pass the seven remaining spending bills — out of 12 — by Dec. 7. Along with its stopgap spending measure, the Senate's Defense, Labor, Education, and HHS bill reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act until Dec. 7 and orders the Department of Homeland Security to submit a plan to Congress to reunite separated migrant families. Peter Weber

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