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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 21, 2019

The Week Staff
Trump in the Cabinet room
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
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1.

Trump reportedly approved, then called off retaliatory strike on Iran

President Trump approved a U.S. military strike against targets inside Iran in retaliation for Iran's downing of a $130 million American surveillance drone, but the operation, already underway in its early stages, was abruptly called off Thursday night, The New York Times and The Associated Press reported. Planes were in the air and ships in position to strike a handful of targets, like radar installations and missile batteries, before dawn on Friday. It's not clear whether Trump changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration backed down for other reasons, but Iranian leaders told Reuters on Friday that Trump had warned them, via Oman, about an imminent attack, saying "he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues." [The New York Times, Reuters]

2.

Roy Moore announces he'll run for Senate again in 2020

Roy Moore, the 2017 Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama who lost the race after being accused of sexual misconduct, announced on Thursday he's running again. Moore will run for the Senate seat in 2020. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who defeated Moore in the 2017 special election to replace Jeff Sessions, has previously announced he'll be running in 2020 for a full term. Moore said there is "such opposition" to his run because "they know I can" win. When asked what he'll do differently in his campaign this time, Moore said he would "make more personal contact with people." Moore was accused of sexual assault and of pursuing sexual relationships with teenagers while in his 30s. Moore denied the allegations from nine women. [CNN]

3.

S&P 500 closes at record high

U.S. markets surged on Thursday, with the S&P 500 setting a new all-time high upon closing. Markets climbed in the wake of the Federal Reserve's announcement indicating possible interest rate cuts in the future. The S&P 500 closed at 2,954.18, putting the index on track for its best June since 1955. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also enjoyed a 250-point bump, coming within 1 percent of its record. The stock market hit a low point in May, with potential trade conflicts spurred by President Trump hurting investors. But renewed hope for interest rate cuts, plus Trump's promise to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, has investors feeling optimistic. [CNBC]

4.

Oregon governor sends police to round up Republican lawmakers

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) sent police out on Thursday to locate 12 Republican legislators who left the Capitol to avoid voting on a landmark climate plan. The proposal, which aims to dramatically lower the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, would be the second of its kind nationwide. Republican lawmakers walked out following failed negotiations with Democrats. The Oregon State Police can force any senator they find to return to the legislature, though the police say they will opt for "polite communication" rather than physical force. If enough senators remain absent, the rogue lawmakers could be fined up to $500 per person per day until a vote can be held. "Send bachelors and come heavily armed," Republican Sen. Brian Boquist said late Wednesday ahead of the walkout. "I'm not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It's just that simple." [The Associated Press, CBS News]

5.

Senate votes to block Trump's $8 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia

The U.S. Senate passed three resolutions on Thursday in an attempt to block President Trump's $8 billion sale of munitions to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Seven Republicans voted alongside unanimous support from Democrats, but the resolutions failed to gain enough support to override a presidential veto. Trump announced the sales last month, invoking an emergency provision to bypass Congress. But congressional members from both sides of the aisle have taken issue with Trump's workaround. "This vote is a vote for the powers of this institution to be able to continue to have a say on one of the most critical elements of U.S. foreign policy and national security," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who co-sponsored the bill. [The New York Times]

6.

Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt to face off in British prime minister race

Conservative lawmakers in the United Kingdom voted on Thursday to narrow the field of candidates competing to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May. The two candidates who will face off are Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. Johnson, who previously served as foreign secretary under May, is the favorite to assume May's position and garnered 160 votes out of 313 conservative lawmakers. Hunt, who currently serves as foreign secretary, finished with 77 votes. The two candidates will now be voted on by 160,000 party members across the U.K. The winner of the runoff will be announced the week of July 22, and will be tasked with shepherding the difficult process of removing Britain from the European Union. [The Associated Press]

7.

U.S. beats Sweden, sets record in Women's World Cup

The U.S. Women's soccer team defeated Sweden on Thursday, winning 2-0 and finishing the group stage of the Women's World Cup at the front of the pack. With a goal from Lindsey Horan and an own goal from Sweden's Jonna Andersson, the U.S. will enter the round of 16 knockout phase undefeated in the tournament thus far. The U.S. also set a new scoring record, with 18 goals scored and zero conceded in the first three games of the Women's World Cup. The team will go on to play Spain, which finished second in its group, in its first elimination round. [CBS Sports]

8.

Baseball legend David Ortiz wasn't intended target in shooting, police say

The man who shot former Rex Sox slugger David Ortiz thought he was shooting at Ortiz's friend, authorities say. Ortiz was at a bar with friend Sixto David Fernandez in the Dominican Republic on June 9 when he was shot. The attack was initially thought to be a murder-for-hire against the baseball legend, but authorities now say the hitman was trying to target Fernandez, whose cousin supposedly orchestrated the attack. Police say Victor Hugo Gomez, who is wanted by the U.S. Drug and Enforcement Administration, was the mastermind behind the plan. Gomez allegedly suspected his cousin, Fernandez, turned him into authorities in 2011, and thus ordered a hit on him. Eleven suspects have been arrested in the attack, none of whom are Gomez. Ortiz is reportedly recovering in Massachusetts and is in good shape. [NBC News, CNN]

9.

Appeals court says Trump's abortion restrictions can go into effect

The Trump administration's new restrictions on abortions can go into effect while the government is appealing the decisions that blocked them, an appeals court ruled Thursday. More than 20 states and other groups have challenged the new rules, which ban taxpayer-funded clinics from making abortion referrals and prohibit federally-funded clinics from sharing office space with abortion providers. Cases have been filed in Oregon, Washington, and California to appeal the rule. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco decided the rules were "reasonable" and said they comply with federal law. Those appealing Trump's restrictions say the rules create unreasonable barriers to abortions, but the 9th Circuit disagreed with this interpretation. [The Associated Press]

10.

Zion Williamson heads to New Orleans as No. 1 draft pick

Duke's freshman superstar Zion Williamson will play basketball for the New Orleans Pelicans after being chosen as the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NBA draft on Thursday. The decision was likely an easy one for the Pelicans. In his freshman season at Duke, 18-year-old Williamson was named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Rookie of the Year, and ACC Tournament MVP, and he averaged 22.6 points a game and set the single-game school scoring record for freshmen. Standing 6-feet-7-inches tall, Williamson led Duke to an Elite Eight appearance. After the Pelicans announced their pick, a teary-eyed Williamson was overcome with emotion. "I don't know what to say," Williamson said. "I didn't think I'd be in this position. My mom sacrificed a lot for me. I wouldn't be here without my mom." Murray State point guard Ja Morant went to the Memphis Grizzlies as the No. 2 pick, and Williamson's fellow Duke freshman R.J. Barrett was chosen by the New York Knicks. [ESPN, CNN]