Iran attacks bases housing US troops

By Meg Wagner, Ivana Kottasová, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 2:31 AM ET, Thu January 9, 2020
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3:54 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Pelosi says War Powers resolution will come to House floor tomorrow

From CNN's Clare Foran

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

In a new statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House Iran war powers resolution will come to the House floor tomorrow. 

“Today, to honor our duty to keep the American people safe, the House will move forward with a War Powers Resolution to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran. This resolution, which will be led by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, will go to the Rules Committee this evening and will be brought to the Floor tomorrow," Pelosi said.

Pelosi added: “The House may also soon consider additional legislation on the Floor to keep America safe. This legislation includes Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s resolution to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and Congressman Ro Khanna’s legislation to prohibit funding for military action against Iran not authorized by Congress."

Earlier today: President Trump decided to hit Iran with new sanctions in the wake of its attack on two Iraqi military bases housing US troops.

It is unclear what new sanctions will be unveiled and, after years of punishing blockades being built up, what new measures can actually apply pressure on Iran. After the Saudi oilfield attacks, similar sanctions were pledged and experts even then were unclear what impact was left for the US to have on the already beleaguered economy.

3:48 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

What it looked like in the Situation Room last night

White House photo
White House photo

The White House released a photo of President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other officials in the Situation Room last night after the missile attacks.

Earlier today, the White House named the officials who were in the room:

  • Vice President Mike Pence
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley
  • Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney
  • National security adviser Robert O’Brien
  • Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire
  • Press secretary Stephanie Grisham

CIA Director Gina Haspel attended the meeting remotely.

3:37 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Iran communicated in "multiple messages" to US that attacks were the extent of their response 

From CNN's Pamela Brown

As US officials were busy assessing Iran’s missile attacks in Iraq late Tuesday, messages began arriving from Iran saying one thing: We’re done.

There were "multiple messages and they were all the same,” a person familiar with the matter said. Iran wanted to convey their retaliatory action had ended — and was waiting to see how the US would respond.

Iran initiated contact through at least three backchannels starting late Tuesday, including through Switzerland and other countries.

The back-and-forth communication came as American officials were still determining the extent of the Iranian attacks and were formulating plans for a response.

In response, the US sought to communicate to Iran that its proxies in the region were of equal concern as the activities of the Iranian state, the person familiar said.

The National Security Council didn't respond to a request for comment.

3:25 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Democrat lashes out at "sophomoric" rationale for taking out Soleimani

From CNN's Manu Raju

Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images
Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, had harsh words coming out of the briefing on Iran.

He attacked the briefing and the administration for not providing what he described as any real rationale showing that an imminent attack was being planned. Connolly called it “sophomoric” rationale. 

"My reaction to this briefing was that it was sophomoric and utterly unconvincing. And I believe more than ever that Congress needs to act to protect the Constitutional provisions about war and peace," the Virginia Democrat said. 

He added: "I believe there was no rationale that could, could pass a graduate school thesis test." 

3:03 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Some consideration was given to striking back at Iran, but decision was made to hold off, official says

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Some consideration was given to striking back at Iran last night, a White House official said, but the decision was made to hold off until more information came in regarding Iran's intentions and the conditions on the ground. 

"Certainly some consideration. But the President was never going to act before all the facts were clear," the official said.

Earlier today, Trump said that Iran appeared to be "standing down."

But he also said "our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast."

2:37 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Trump speaks with NATO secretary general

From CNN's Allie Malloy

President Trump spoke today with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about "the current situation in the Middle East," the White House said.

"Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg," the White House said in a readout. "The two leaders discussed the current situation in the Middle East. The President emphasized the value of NATO increasing its role in preventing conflict and preserving peace in the Middle East."

In his remarks earlier, Trump said he planned to "ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process."

3:28 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

There is congressional disagreement on "imminent" nature of Iran threat to US

From CNN's Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb

There appears to be disagreement on the "imminent" nature of the threat Iran and Qasem Soleimani posed to the US, following today's briefing for members of the House of Representatives. 

“Nothing that was said today says that to me” the threat was imminent, said Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Democrat from Ohio. “The presentation did not in any way show it was imminent.”

Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina, disagreed, saying CIA director Gina Haspel provided a briefing that was “exhaustive in terms of the number of attacks and planned attacks that had been contemplated and why the need for action was necessary.”

He argued that Soleimani will be hard for Iran to replace.

1:33 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Democrats slam Trump's strategy on Iran

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is seen on Capitol Hill December 3, 2019 in Washington.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is seen on Capitol Hill December 3, 2019 in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Several Democrats rejected the notion that the latest developments in the Iran crisis amounted to a validation of President Trump’s strategy.

“If you ratchet up conflict, then de-escalate, I don’t necessarily think the strategy is a good one — it’s a risky one,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, ranking Democrat on Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said Trump’s strategy was “absolutely not” validated. 

“We’re fundamentally worse off today than we were just a month ago. Iran has fully restarted their nuclear weapons program,” Murphy said. “Our troops are on the verge of being kicked out of Iraq. We've turned the Iranian people, the Iraqi people, the Lebanese people against us. Our counter-ISIL missions have been suspended. This has been a disaster. And I'm glad that we may be on a path towards deescalation, but the carnage of just the last several days is perhaps irreparable.”
1:28 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

UN says it welcomes any indication that "leaders are walking back from major confrontation"

From CNN's Richard Roth

The United Nations exhaled following President Trump’s speech and comments by Iranian officials. 

“We take note of the statement made by President Trump," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Dujarric said the UN welcomes any indication that “leaders are walking back from major confrontation” and are trying to avoid escalation.

“It is our common duty to make every effort to avoid a war in the Gulf that the world cannot afford,” Dujarric said in a statement.

“We must not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war. As always, ordinary people pay the highest price," the UN spokesperson said.