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June 19, 2017

On Monday, Russia declared it would treat U.S.-led coalition aircrafts that crossed west of the Euphrates River as targets, a response to Americans shooting down a Syrian government fighter jet on Sunday, The Associated Press reports.

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Sunday's incident was the first time a U.S. jet downed a manned hostile aircraft in more than 10 years, The Washington Post reports, and the fourth time in a month that the U.S. military attacked Syrian loyalist forces. Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the fight against the Islamic State.

In a statement, the Syrian military said the jet was carrying out a mission against the Islamic State, and its pilot was killed. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, Col. John Thomas, scoffed at the claim that the aircraft was bombing ISIS, because the village of Ja'Din is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition mostly comprised of Arab and Kurdish fighters, and ISIS hasn't recently been in the area. Jeva Lange

10:46 p.m. ET
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Following the retraction of an article on a Wall Street financier and ally of President Trump allegedly meeting with a Russian investment fund, three investigative journalists at CNN are leaving the network.

On June 22, CNN published a story its website about Senate investigators looking into a meeting between SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci and an executive for the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which invests in Russian companies, the Los Angeles Times reports. Late Friday, CNN removed the story from its website, saying the article did not meet its editorial standards, and the network also apologized to Scaramucci. Scaramucci said Friday the story was false, and on Saturday, accepted CNN's apology, tweeting: "Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on."

In the wake of the retraction, the article's writer, Thomas Frank, and editors Eric Lichtblau and Lex Harris have all resigned from CNN, the network announced Monday night. CNN did not say that the story was false, just that the facts were "not solid" enough for publication. Harris, who started at CNN in 2001 and oversaw the investigative unit, said in a statement CNN is a "news organization that prizes accuracy and fairness above all else. I am leaving, but will carry those principles wherever I go." Catherine Garcia

10:17 p.m. ET
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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer released a blunt statement Monday night about Syria, claiming the United States has "identified potential preparations for another chemical attack by the [Bashar al-] Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children."

The White House says it has seen activities "similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017, chemical weapons attack." The U.S. is in Syria to "eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria," the statement continued. "If, however Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price." Catherine Garcia

9:28 p.m. ET
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Tennis superstar Serena Williams is not to be messed with, on or off the court.

Over the weekend, John McEnroe, while promoting his new memoir, But Seriously, told NPR he believes Williams is the best female player ever. When asked why he didn't refer to her, like others have, as the best player in the world, McEnroe responded that while she is "incredible," if Williams "played the men's circuit, she'd be like 700 in the world."

Williams waited until Monday to tweet a message right to McEnroe. "Dear John," she wrote. "I adore and respect you but please, please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based." That wasn't all; Williams went on to add, "I've never played anyone ranked 'there' nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day, sir." Williams is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and they are expecting their first child. Catherine Garcia

8:38 p.m. ET
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Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, was questioned by FBI agents five times in March regarding his contacts with Russians and communications with the Trump campaign, several people with knowledge of the investigation told The Washington Post.

When asked about claims that he acted as a middleman between the campaign and Russian officials, Page denied any wrongdoing, a person familiar with the case said. Page told the Post he had "extensive discussions" with FBI agents in March, but would not say if he has had any follow-up meetings. He did reveal that he met with the agents without an attorney, and said he wasn't concerned about not having a representative with him because he told the truth.

The Post reports Page was also asked about the claims made against him in a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer, which came to light earlier this year. The dossier states that Page met in July 2016 with Igor Sechin, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Igor Divyekin, a senior Kremlin official, and he was part of a "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [Trump associates] and the Russian leadership." Page said he never met Sechin, and hadn't heard of Divyekin until the dossier came out. Catherine Garcia

7:25 p.m. ET
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Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted Monday evening that she will vote no on a motion to advance the Senate health-care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Collins made the announcement a few hours after the Congressional Budget Office released its preliminary analysis of the Senate Republicans' health-care proposal, which estimates that in 10 years, if the plan passes, 22 million more people would be uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act remained the law. "I want to work with my GOP and Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA," she tweeted. "CBO analysis shows Senate bill won't do it. I will vote no on mtp," meaning motion to proceed.

"CBO says 22 million people lose insurance," she continued. "Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to health care in rural areas threatened. Senate bill doesn't fix ACA problems for rural Maine. Our hospitals are already struggling. 1 in 5 Mainers are on Medicaid." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who wants a vote on the BCRA this week, cannot afford to lose more than two votes, and now at least eight GOP senators have publicly noted their displeasure with the bill. Catherine Garcia

6:39 p.m. ET

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released on Monday its preliminary analysis of the Senate Republicans' health-care proposal, estimating that by 2026, 22 million more people would be uninsured under the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

The Senate Republicans decided to jump on one bit of information in the analysis — that "the draft bill would lower premiums by 30 percent when compared with current law," the Affordable Care Act. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, also said the CBO report "confirms that the Senate health-care bill will soon start lowering premiums for millions of Americans relative to the unsustainable premium increases under the broken ObamaCare system."

They're not exactly on the same page as the Republican National Committee, which released its own statement saying, "Remember, the CBO has a long track record of being way off in their modeling, with predictions often differing drastically from what actually happens." So, depending on which Republican you ask, either the CBO report is completely accurate, or it can't be trusted. Catherine Garcia

5:16 p.m. ET

On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its appraisal of Senate Republicans' health-care bill, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The CBO estimated that were the BCRA to become law, 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 than if ObamaCare were to remain the law of the land.

As ProPublica's Charles Ornstein pointed out, that's effectively the populations of these 17 U.S. states combined:

The Senate's bill does make out slightly ahead of the bill House Republicans passed early last month, which the CBO estimated would result in 23 million more uninsured by 2026 than ObamaCare.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pushing for a vote on the BCRA this week. Read the CBO's full report here. Kimberly Alters

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