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June 19, 2017
Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard fired "a number of mid-range surface-to-surface missiles" at Islamic State targets inside Syria on Sunday.

In a statement to the semi-official Tasnim news agency, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' office of public affairs said the missiles were launched from the western border provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan, and delivered "fatal and crushing blows" in the Deir Ezzor area. ISIS claimed responsibility for the June 7 attacks in Tehran that left at least 17 people dead, and the missile launch was in retaliation, the IRGC said.

Iran accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of supporting the Tehran attacks, Bloomberg reports, and earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf nations severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, due to the country's relationship with Iran. Catherine Garcia

8:00 a.m. ET

The White House has repeatedly insisted that just because Special Counsel Robert Mueller reached the conclusion that Russian agents "conspired to obstruct the lawful functions of the United States government through fraud and deceit," it does not mean that foreign actors actually had a tangible impact on the 2016 election. "The results of the election were not impacted," President Trump insisted last week. "The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!"

Fox News' Shep Smith thinks such claims are hogwash. Speaking Tuesday after Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "we know from the Russia indictment that there was no collusion," Smith put the breaks on the administration's attempts to brush Mueller's report aside. "That is not true," Smith said, adding that Fox News reports the probe into possible collusion is "a separate investigation" altogether.

Smith additionally had no patience for the administration's spin on the integrity of the 2016 election. "The White House is trying to say it's incontrovertible the Russian meddling had no impact on the election," he said. "That is not true, it's an open matter." Watch Smith break it down below. Jeva Lange

7:28 a.m. ET

Boston Dynamics' extremely creepy robots just got even more terrifying. The "notoriously tight-lipped company" is apparently in the process of teaching its yellow "SpotMini" robo-dogs to fight off humans, Wired reports, which basically means giving them the "ability to deal with our crap." Here is what that nightmarish goal looks like in action:

Boston Dynamics explains that in the video above, man's mechanical best friend was instructed by one human to proceed through the door, while another human attempted — admittedly not with much passion — to ward off its attempts.

Not so reassuringly, a new study by 26 experts in the field claims that artificial intelligence is increasingly a threat to mankind, The Independent reports. "AI will alter the landscape of risk for citizens, organizations, and states — whether it's criminals training machines to hack or 'phish' at human levels of performance or privacy-eliminating surveillance, profiling, and repression — the full range of impacts on security is vast," Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute research fellow Miles Brundage said.

To anyone still concerned about Fido Prime, "this testing does not irritate or harm the robot," Boston Dynamics promises. People worried about, well, people might not be so reassured. The score is clear: Humankind 0, SpotMini 1. Jeva Lange

7:21 a.m. ET

Stephen Coblert's guest on Tuesday's Late Show was Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and after discussing what they gave up for Lent, Colbert turned to last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. "You've been in D.C. since 2007, why can't there be any meaningful reform — or even meaningless reform?" he asked. "Congress has done nothing," Gillibrand agreed. "And they don't get anything done because the NRA has a chokehold on Congress. The NRA is concerned only with gun sales — it is literally all about money, it is all about greed, it has nothing to do with the Second Amendment — and we've seen death after death after death. And it has to stop."

Colbert prodded a bit, asking if lawmakers are beholden to the NRA's campaign cash, its firing-up of single-issue gun voters, or its threat to fund primary challengers. Gillibrand said all of the above: "It's the power of money, it's the power of communications, it's the fear they instill in members, and it's wrong." She ducked a question about the NRA and Democrats but offered her solution: "Listen to these kids" in Florida who are "speaking truth to power."

Listening to parents and children who lost loved ones to guns changed her mind, Gillibrand said, accounting for her drop from an NRA A rating to an F. "I think this whole conversation has a chance of changing because of these kids," she said. Colbert noted that it isn't just guns — large majorities of both parties also support protecting DREAMers, and Congress doesn't nothing there, either. Gillibrand blamed "dark money" from corporations.

"You need to take away the voice and the outsized influence that corporations have over members of Congress, and the NRA is one of the worst offenders," she said. They ended by talking about ongoing Russian efforts to sway U.S. elections and what she said, as the "#MeToo senator," to her former colleague Al Franken. Watch below. Peter Weber

6:05 a.m. ET

American skiers have not traditionally excelled at cross country events at the Olympics — it is called Nordic skiing for a reason — and in fact, only one American had medaled in cross country before Wednesday — Bill Koch, who took the silver at Innsbruck in 1976. But on Wednesday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Americans Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins won, and it was gold.

Randall and Diggins beat Sweden by 0.19 seconds, and Norway picked up the bronze 3 seconds later. Diggins had fallen behind in the final leg, USA Today reports, but she sprinted her way to the narrow and historic victory.

Including this medal, Team USA has six golds and 14 total medals, putting it in 5th place overall, behind Norway, Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands. Peter Weber

5:34 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert kicked off Tuesday's Late Show with some much-needed "good news" out of Wakanda, the fictional African nation featured in the blockbuster movie Black Panther, which crushed all sorts of box office records over the weekend. "Meanwhile, back here in America, we have our own drama," he said, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians and three Kremlin-linked entities — and President Trump tweeting about it for the rest of the weekend.

Some of the indicted Russians trying to influence the 2016 election were in contact with "unwitting individuals" associated with Trump's campaign, according to the indictment. "Unwitting — so that narrows it down to the entire Trump campaign." Trump's first tweets claimed vindication, but as "the mean TV people pointed out that it did not exonerate Trump," his tweets got progressively angrier, Colbert said. You can watch him reads some of them, with commentary, below. Peter Weber

5:03 a.m. ET

"This morning, the White House was able to get a break from the scandals of today with a scandal from 10 years ago," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, recapping the Washington Post profile of Rachel Crooks, who said President Trump forced an unwanted kiss on her in Trump Tower. "Of course, the president was far too consumed with today's domestic crises to notice this," Colbert began, quickly abandoning the joke to read Trump's odd tweeted denial.

"We're also hearing more about the women who actually consented to let Trump kiss them," Colbert said, pointing to the alleged affair Trump had with former Playboy model Karen McDougal. "No surprise — in her centerfold, her turn-ons included rampant corruption, thin-skinned egomaniacs, and one wide yellow hair piled atop a deflated basketball," he joked. McDougal sold her story to the National Enquirer before the election, then buried it until The New Yorker published McDougal's handwritten notes about the affair. "Welcome to Trump's America, where if the story is too steamy and trashy for the National Enquirer, you'll find it in The New Yorker," Colbert marveled.

He read some of McDougal's recollections. "Yes, Trump lets his mistresses know right up front that he's willing to pay — that's why he has a sign in his hotel room, 'We Validate Porking,'" Colbert quipped, throwing in several more off-color jokes, and an aside about Mr. T, as he walked through the details of the purported affair — and its dates. "How dare you, sir! Cheating on Stormy Daniels?" Colbert fake-huffed. "Do you not respect the sanctity of the billionaire-porn star relationship? You just go ahead and three-time the person you're two-timing with?"

"Bill Clinton would blush at how easily Trump seems to duck consequences" of his "slow-moving sex scandal," including "porn stars, hush money, caught-on-tape crudeness, and tawdry tabloids," Mike Allen said at Axios, but with Daniels and McDougal promising to talk, it may speed up soon. Peter Weber

4:16 a.m. ET

There were four more funerals Tuesday for students slain last week in Parkland, Florida. But "as these kids buried their friends, some sick conspiracy theories have been cropping up," Anderson Cooper said on CNN Tuesday night. One claims the student survivors demanding new gun laws are "crisis actors" and another insists student David Hogg is a gun-grabbing "pawn" of the FBI.

"While we'd normally be reluctant to even give these conspiracy theories any oxygen at all," Donald Trump Jr. rewteeted the FBI one, making it "newsworthy," Cooper said. "We'd love to talk to Don Jr. about why he did that, why he is, by extension, attacking these kids who just buried their friends, but it turns out he's in India promoting his father's real estate empire." Instead, he had on Hogg and his father, former FBI employee Kevin Hogg. David Hogg called the conspiracy theories "unbelievable," said Don Jr.'s retweet was "disgusting to me," and judged it "hilarious" that anybody would think his dog-cuddling dad is pulling his strings.

In Cooper's panel discussion, Jack Kingston insisted he "would never say" that the kids are crisis actors, but he did repeat his more respectable conspiracy theory about George Soros controlling the Parkland students. "It would shock me if they did a nationwide rally and the pro–gun control left took their hands of it," he said.

"When you say something like that, it's so bad, and I'm going to tell you why it's bad," Van Jones told Kingston. But Parkland student Sarah Chadwick had already beaten him to the punch. Peter Weber

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