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August 13, 2017
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The Iranian parliament on Sunday voted to increase expenditures on the nation's ballistic missile program and Revolutionary Guards in response to new U.S. sanctions. Lawmakers described the spending bump as a way to "counter America's terrorist and adventurist actions."

The legislation "was designed wisely so that it does not violate the nuclear deal and provide excuses for opposing sides," said Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, giving Iran "potential and actual options to confront hostile U.S. actions." Some members of parliament reportedly chanted the slogan "Death to America" when the bill passed. Bonnie Kristian

2:13 a.m. ET
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So far this year, Republican committees have paid close to $1.3 million to companies owned by President Trump, new Federal Election Commission records show.

The Washington Post analyzed the records, and found that at least 25 congressional campaigns, state parties, and the Republican Governors Association have spent more than $473,000 combined at hotels or golf resorts owned by Trump, and his companies received $793,000 from the Republican National Committee and Trump's campaign committee. Trump's reelection committee has paid nearly $15,000 for lodging at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the hotel has hosted events for several Republican representatives, including Dana Rohrabacher of California, whose campaign committee spent more than $11,000 on catering and event space in May and June, and Jodey Arrington of Texas, whose committee paid almost $9,700 in January for food, beverages, and facility usage, the Post reports.

These payments have helped properties like Trump's private club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, which otherwise lost business because of Trump; in response to his reaction to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, 10 of the 16 galas and dinners planned for next winter at the club have been cancelled, the Post reports. Catherine Garcia

1:45 a.m. ET
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In a nationally televised address on Monday night, President Trump will lay out his new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, and the strategy is expected to include sending "several thousand" more U.S. troops to aid in the 16-year war, The New York Times reports. Trump announced that he had completed his strategic review on Saturday morning, and on Sunday night, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters that Trump has "made a decision," adding, "I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous and did not go in with a preset position."

There are currently about 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan as part of the 13,000-strong NATO force that's training and advising the Afghan military, plus another 2,000 or so U.S. troops conducting counterterrorism operations against Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State militants. Trump gave Mattis the authority in June to deploy up to 3,900 more troops to Afghanistan, but Mattis has declined to do so without a broader strategy in place.

The president has been working on his Afghanistan strategy for months, as former President Barack Obama did when he took office. Trump was inconsistent during the campaign on what he thought the U.S. should do about Afghanistan, and he has considered pulling out as president, because, as he noted in 2013, the war is very expensive.

But Trump has told advisers he's been shown maps of Afghanistan from 2014 and 2017, and the Taliban's presence in the country (indicated in red) had grown from a little bit to more than half the map today, reports Jonathan Swan at Axios, adding: "Trump has been reluctantly open to the generals' opinion and I'm told he doesn't want to be the president who loses the country to the terrorists." At the same time, GOP strategist Ron Bonjean tells The Washington Post, Trump's "address is designed to turn the page from the Charlottesville chaos and remind voters that Trump is commander in chief and has made an informed and responsible decision." The speech, from Fort Meyers in Virginia, will be at 9 p.m. EST, during a town hall House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will be conducting through CNN. Peter Weber

1:19 a.m. ET
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It may make people uncomfortable, but Diana Ratcliff wants the world to know that when her cousin Heather Heyer was killed last weekend, run over by a car as she counter-protested a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, it was an act of terror.

"They'll call it murder," Ratcliff wrote in an op-ed for CNN, published Sunday. "They may call it a hate crime, but then struggle to call it terrorism. That man was fulfilling a call-to-action from white nationalists. He was committing an act of terror." If anyone with darker skin had been "marching the streets of Charlottesville wielding tiki torches, carrying semi-automatic rifles, chanting racist chants, engendering fear at a house of prayer, and menacing its residents, we'd call them terrorists," she added.

Ratcliff described her family as having a "white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant background with Appalachian heritage," and said they "have never had to be afraid that someone would target us or lynch us because of the color of our skin." During a vigil in Charlottesville, one speaker praised Heyer for her courage but asked why it took the death of a white woman to get the public outraged over racism and bigotry. "All I could think was, 'Heather is sitting in heaven right now, shaking her head in agreement,'" Ratcliff said. For those who think racism is "dying out with an aging population," they're wrong, Ratcliff warns — instead, it has "found new life, and it's going to get worse if we don't put a stop to it now." Read the rest of Ratcliff's op-ed at CNN. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2017

About two hours after a Liberian-flagged oil tanker, Alnic MC, collided with the U.S. Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain at 5:24 p.m U.S. East Coast time in the Strait of Malacca off Singapore, President Trump tweeted that he was on his way back to Washington "after working hard" during his 17-day vacation at his New Jersey golf resort and other locations. The Navy, which announced the accident on Twitter a few minutes after Trump's tweet, said that 10 sailors are missing and five injured, and a search-and-rescue operation is underway. "Our first priority is determining the safety of the ship and crew," tweeted Adm. John Richardson, the chief of U.S. naval operations. "As more information is learned, we will share it."

On Sunday night, Trump tweeted out his "thoughts and prayers" to the sailors on the destroyer, which was damaged on the rear port side but is reportedly heading toward Singapore under its own power.

Earlier, when he arrived at the White House, reporters asked Trump about the accident. "That's too bad," Trump said.

The Strait of Malacca, connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans, is often congested with shipping traffic, but analysts said the Navy should be concerned about the second collision in two months involving an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the 7th Fleet. Just last week, the Navy disciplined several officers for a deadly June collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a much larger container ship off Japan; seven U.S. sailors died. "They were already stretched after the Fitzgerald collision, and now they've lost a second frontline destroyer at an acute time in the region, with the tensions around North Korea and in the South China Sea," Euan Graham at Sydney's Lowy Institute tells The Washington Post.

In February, another guided-missile cruiser in the 7th Fleet, the Antietam, ran aground in Tokyo Bay near the fleet's base at Yokosuka, Japan, and in May, the Navy cruiser Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel, with no injuries, The New York Times notes. Peter Weber

August 20, 2017
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad thanked Russia, Iran, and Lebanon-based Hezbollah militias on Sunday for helping his army make gains against rebel groups and the Islamic State, saying their "direct support — politically, economically, and militarily — has made possible bigger advances on the battlefield and reduced the losses and burdens of war."

Assad made his remarks during a televised address to the country, which is still in the midst of a six-and-a-half-year-old civil war. He said there had been several plans by the West to remove him from the presidency, yet none had come to fruition, and revealed that the army will launch an offensive in Syrian deserts, in conjunction with Russian planes and Iranian-funded militias, to root out ISIS militants.

Assad also said Syria has "an interest in the success of" ceasefire deals brokered by Russia, adding that "the idea of these de-escalation zones is to stop the bloodletting ... and the eviction of the armed groups handing over their weapons and the return of normalcy." Several rebel groups have accused Assad of violating truces, including in the suburbs of Damascus, where witnesses say the army bombs residential areas that are held by the rebels, Reuters reports. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2017
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The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said at least 10 sailors are missing and five others hurt after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and a tanker collided early Monday in the waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca.

The destroyer sustained damage on its left rear and port side aft. The ship is based in Yokosuka, Japan, and has 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers, and 291 enlisted sailors, The Associated Press reports. This is the second crash in the Pacific involving a ship from the Navy's 7th Fleet in two months, following June's collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship, which killed seven sailors. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2017

Comedian Jerry Lewis died Sunday morning, his agent announced that afternoon, at home in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 91.

Perhaps best known for his comedy partnership with Dean Martin, Lewis' slapstick career spanned more than half a century and media including film, television, radio, and stage. He starred in movies like 1960's The Bellboy and 1963'sThe Nutty Professor, and also worked as a singer, screenwriter, director, and producer.

Offscreen, Lewis was a prominent supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, headline its annual fundraising telethon for decades and raising some $2.6 billion for the cause. Lewis is survived by his second wife, SanDee Pitnick, and six children.

Lewis was widely mourned by Hollywood when news of his death broke; see a few of those tributes below. Bonnie Kristian

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