The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump says Iran ‘standing down’ after missile strike

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump says Iran ‘appears to be standing down’ after missile attack | President confirms no Americans ‘harmed’ | Vows to impose ‘punishing’ new Iran sanctions | How attack shook Washington | What’s next | Address comes after senators urged Trump to deescalate | Trump tells ally he sees chance for new Iran talks | Lawmakers divided on war powers measure



President Trump addresses the nation:

Flanked by White House officials and military advisers, President Trump addressed the American people on last night’s missile attacks on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.

The gist of Trump’s address: Trump said Iran “appears to be standing down,” confirmed that no American lives were lost and vowed that his administration will impose new sanctions on Iran. 

Livestream of Trump’s remarks:

Photo of the press in the Grand Foyer:

Trump’s timing: The president was expected to give his address at 11 a.m. and began at 11:27 a.m. EST



Before Trump even said “good morning”: He walked out and immediately said, “As long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.” He then added, “good morning” and began his address.

Trump confirms that no Americans were harmed last night: “No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe.” 

On the damage from the attack: “Only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.” 

Trump announced new sanctions: “The U.S. will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.”

Trump’s message to Iran: “To the people and leaders of Iran, we want you to have a future — and a great future, one that you deserve … the United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.” 

On Iran now: “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world. 

Trump said he will ask NATO to be more involved: “Today, I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process.”

On American strength — basically, ‘don’t mess’: “Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast. Under construction are many hypersonic missiles. The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it.  American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent.”



“He believes very strongly that that opens the door for negotiations,” Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said about Trump. And Inhofe said he doesn’t think Trump will respond with force. “I’d be very shocked if he would do that. In fact, there’s no reason for retaliation.”



Top Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): “Retaliation for the sake of retaliation is not necessary at this time … What is necessary is to lay out our strategic objectives regarding Iran in a simple and firm fashion.” 

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah): “Whether further military action is warranted is a question that should be answered by Congress. The U.S. should seek to deescalate these raised tensions and I will continue to push to bring our troops back from the region.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised Trump: “I believe the President wants to avoid conflict or needless loss of life but he’s rightly prepared to protect American lives and interests and I hope Iran’s leaders do not miscalculate by questioning our collective will in launching further attacks.”


It’s Wednesday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to [email protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Iranian fired missiles onto military bases in Iraq:

Via The Associated Press, “Iran struck back at the United States early on Wednesday for killing its most powerful military commander, firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house American troops in what the Iranian supreme leader said was a ‘slap’ against America’s military presence in the region.”

The toll: U.S. and Iraqi officials both said there were no casualties in their forces. Iran is claiming that at least 80 U.S. troops were killed.



The U.S. had advance warning of the attack: Via USA Today’s Tom Vanden Brook and John Bacon, “the warnings allowed troops and other personnel to scramble into hardened bunkers for safety. U.S. and coalition personnel in Iraq on the mission to combat ISIS have been practicing drills for missile attacks for some time, [an unnamed] official said.”

Video of the missiles:

Who was in the Situation Room last night with President Trump: Via Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs: 

Mike Pence

Mike Pompeo

Mark Esper

Mark Milley

Mick Mulvaney

Robert O’Brien

Joseph Maguire

Stephanie Grisham

CIA’s Gina Haspel joined remotely.”

Tidbit about officials arriving at the White House: “Defense Secretary Esper just arrived at the White House carrying a large bag. Secretary Pompeo, seen reading in his car before he got out, also arrived.” (Via CNN’s Kaitlan Collins)

Keep in mind about vacant positions: Journalist Garrett Graff pointed out: “Reminder that as this crisis escalates, we have no Director of National Intelligence, no Dep Dir, no Homeland Security Secretary, no Dep Sec, no head of CBP or ICE, no State Dept Under Sec of Arms Control, no Asst Sec for Europe, and no Navy Sec.”

How Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) found out: 

Important to remember, missiles are not rockets: CBS’s Christina Ruffini tweeted, 

“DEAR EVERYONE: this is your friendly reminder that rockets and missiles are not interchangeable terms. 

-Rockets are directional (you point the it at the thing, and it goes where it was pointed at the time of launch). 

-Missiles are projectiles that are guided in flight.”



President Trump tweeted shortly after the attack: “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”

Iran’s foreign minister is hoping this ‘concludes’ the back and forth: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted, “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

A senior Iranian official trolled Trump: An Iranian official tweeted a photo of the Iranian flag as Tehran launched missiles in retaliation. Why: Shortly after reports that a drone strike killed Qassem SoleimaniPresident Trump tweeted a photo of the American flag. See the flag tweets:

Trump’s Jan. 2 tweet:

Saeed Jalili’s Jan. 7 tweet mocking Trump:



‘Missile Strike Damage Appears Limited, but Iran May Not Be Done’: Via The New York Times’s Alissa J. Rubin:

‘Iran leaves Trump an off-ramp, but will he take it?’: Via NBC’s Josh Lederman:

Interesting read on the uncertainty over Trump’s strategy: “If even the Pentagon does not know whether it is coming or going in Iraq, it might be hard to blame the rest of the world for being a little confused about President Trump’s strategy for the Middle East.” (Via The New York Times’s Peter BakerThe full analysis:



‘Unlikely bedfellows’: 

Via The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel, Friction is flaring in Congress between defense hawks and opponents of so-called forever wars after President Trump‘s order to kill a top Iranian general.”

For example: “The clash has made for some unlikely bedfellows, as typical Trump allies such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Fox News host Tucker Carlson rail against the president’s decision and echo Democrats’ concerns about the possibility of military conflict with Iran.”

Happening today on Capitol Hill: The full House and Senate will be briefed behind closed doors on the airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani



47 percent of American voters approve of President Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, according to a new Morning Consult poll.

Looking deeper into the poll — it split along party lines: “The opinions divided strongly along with partisan lines, with 70 percent of Democrats opposing the airstrike and 85 percent of Republicans supporting it. Sixty-one percent of Republican respondents said they strongly approved Trump’s decision.” 

The full poll:



Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney:



Lol, I feel this:




The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

11 a.m. EST: Three cloture votes in the Senate. The Senate’s full schedule today:

2:15 P.M. EST: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

3:45 ­– 4:45 p.m. EST: The House votes. The House’s full schedule today:



11 a.m. EST: President Trump addressed the nation. Livestream:

6:10 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen Pence participate in a reception for the prime minister of Greece and his wife. Livestream:



Today is National English Toffee Day.


The best news of the year:

Krispy Kreme is now selling mini doughnuts that are less than 100 calories each. Details and photo:


The best places to eat in 2020:

Yelp unveiled its list of the top 100 places to eat in America, including Farmbird in Washington, D.C.

Check out the full list:


And because you made it this far, here’s a goose parade:

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