👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops Tuesday night in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. No U.S. or Iraqi casualties have been reported. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the strikes a “slap in the face” to the U.S. and not sufficient retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. (Washington Post / NBC News / NPR / New York Times / CNN / ABC News)
Trump met with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the Iranian missile attack, tweeting “All is well! […] So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!” (NBC News)
Satellite photos of the Iranian missile strike. (NPR)
2/ The U.S. military had advance warning of Iran’s attack on the two American locations in Iraq. “We had intelligence reports several hours in advance that the Iranians were seeking to strike the bases,” a senior administration official said, giving military commanders time to move U.S. troops into safe, fortified positions. Meanwhile, some Trump administration officials believe that Iran’s missiles intentionally missed areas populated by Americans, suggesting that Iran chose to send a message rather than provoke a substantial U.S. military response. (Washington Post / USA Today / CNN)
3/ Trump said Iran appears “to be standing down” after the missile attack and signaled that no further U.S. military strikes were planned, because “The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.” Trump, in a nationally televised address from the White House, announced a new round of what he termed “punishing economic sanctions” against Iran, while calling on NATO to become “much more involved in the Middle East process.” Trump also called on world powers to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal so a new pact could be negotiated. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / USA Today / New York Times)
4/ The House will vote Thursday on a resolution to limit Trump’s military options for action against Iran, unless explicitly authorized by Congress. The war powers resolution says that without further congressional approval, Trump would have to end all military action against Iran within 30 days. The House could also consider repealing the 2002 authorization for the use of military force for the Iraq War, as well as blocking funding for military action against Iran not approved by Congress. (New York Times / Bloomberg / CNBC)
- The House Foreign Affairs Committee called for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify in a hearing on Iran next week. Members of Congress want to know more about the decision to assassinate Iran’s top military commander. The hearing will take place on Jan. 14 and will include a panel of Iran policy experts. The State Department has not responded to the request or indicated whether Pompeo will agree to testify. (Reuters)
5/ Several Democratic senators want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to submit the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, saying the party has little to gain from further delay. Pelosi called on McConnell to publish a resolution outlining rules for the impeachment trial before the House sends over the articles. McConnell, however, declined, saying “There will be no haggling” and that the House had no choice but to end “shameless game-playing” and transmit the two articles of impeachment. (Bloomberg / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)
The Trump administration wants to delay disclosing what the Secret Service spends on protection for Trump and his family when they travel until after the 2020 election. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been negotiating draft legislation with several senators to move the Secret Service back to his department - its historic home. Democrats, however, want the Secret Service to disclose the costs related to Trump’s travel and his adult children within 120 days. Mnuchin, however, wants such disclosures to begin next year. (Washington Post)
New York state’s Court of Appeals will decide whether Trump must face a defamation case by former contestant on “The Apprentice.” Summer Zervos said Trump kissed her against her will at a meeting in 2007 and later groped her at a Beverly Hills hotel. Trump denied the claims, calling Zervos a liar. Trump has argued that he is immune from lawsuits, investigations, and criminal proceedings while he remains in office. (Reuters)
The Trump Organization set a Jan. 23 deadline for bids on the Trump International Hotel in Washington. The company hopes to get more than $500 million for the lease rights to the historic Old Post Office building. (Wall Street Journal)
Trump’s reelection campaign plans to spend $10 million to advertise during the Super Bowl. The campaign has purchased 60 seconds of commercial time during the Feb. 2 game. It is unclear whether the campaign will run a single minute-long ad or split the time between multiple, shorter ads. (Politico)
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