June 21, 2019

President Trump on Friday confirmed he called off military strikes against Iran at the last moment, saying he decided this would not have been a "proportionate" response.

Trump tweeted following a New York Times report that the operation was called off on Thursday night while planes were in the air, although the report wasn't clear on what led to the sudden change in strategy. This came after Iran shot down a U.S. drone, which Iran said was in its airspace while the U.S. said it was in international airspace.

In a Twitter thread on Friday morning, Trump said that "we were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights" but that he called it off 10 minutes beforehand after being informed that 150 people would die. He went on say that he decided the strikes were "not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone" and that "I am in no hurry."

Trump had previously speculated that Iran bringing down the U.S. drone might have been a mistake made by a "loose and stupid" person, telling reporters "you'll find out" what his response would be. Brendan Morrow

February 10, 2017

Early Friday morning, the Senate voted 52 to 47 to confirm Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to lead the Health and Human Services Department. The party-line vote was the fourth contested Cabinet vote in a row. Democrats argued before the vote that Price, a seven-term congressman and former orthopedic surgeon, had failed to come clean about some suspicious-looking stock transactions and has a history of pushing to curtail Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans argued that he is very knowledgeable about health care policy. Both sides expect Price to take a leading role in dismantling the Affordable Care Act and, presumably, replacing it with a new health insurance system. Peter Weber

January 25, 2017

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) confirmed Wednesday during an interview on CNN that she did meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on a recent "fact finding" trip to Syria. Gabbard said she did not initially plan on meeting with Assad, but took the opportunity when it arose because of her concern for the Syrian people. She claims she talked about "peace" with Assad, and also noted that she learned from the people of Syria that "there are no moderate rebels."

CNN's Jake Tapper pressed Gabbard on whether she had any hesitations meeting with a man "responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of people being displaced during this five-year-long civil war," and specifically whether she had considered that meeting with Assad as a member of Congress may give him "enhanced credibility." "Whatever you think about President Assad, the fact is that he is the president of Syria," Gabbard said. "In order for any peace agreement ... there has to be a conversation with him."

Gabbard followed up her remarks on CNN with a statement released Wednesday reiterating her concern for ending the war. Foreign Policy noted earlier this month that Gabbard's trip was "exceedingly rare," while Politico's Jake Sherman pointed out that Gabbard is "277th in seniority in the House," which "has limited influence in foreign policy." House leadership was apparently not aware of Gabbard's trip.

Some reporters have questioned whether Gabbard's meeting may have violated the Logan Act, which prohibits any citizen "without authority of the United States" from "any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof ... in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States." Becca Stanek

November 29, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that he will nominate Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be his secretary of health and human services. "Chairman Price, a renowned physician, has earned a reputation for being a tireless problem solver and the go-to expert on healthcare policy, making him the ideal choice to serve in this capacity," Trump said in a statement. "He is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace ObamaCare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American." While on the campaign trail, Trump vowed to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but he has wavered on that promise post-election, saying after a meeting with President Obama that he would keep some parts of the healthcare law.

As a congressman and chair of the House Budget Committee, Price has been a vocal critic of ObamaCare, helping to draft replacement bills, and he has also expressed his support for House Speaker Paul Ryan's proposal to privatize Medicare. Price said in a statement released by Trump's transition team that he was "humbled by the incredible challenges that lay ahead." "There is much work to be done to ensure we have a healthcare system that works for patients, families, and doctors," Price said. Becca Stanek

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