President Trump revealed the logo for the new Space Force branch of the military.
CNBC notes it looks a lot like the Star Trek logo for the fictional Starfleet from the iconic science fiction television and film franchise.
The Pentagon has confirmed that 34 U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the Iranian missile strike in Iraq. Eight of them were flown back to the United States for medical treatment, CNN reports.
President Trump originally said there were no casualties.
Associated Press: “Over the past eight months, the United States has poured more than 20,000 additional troops into the Middle East to counter the escalating threat from Iran that peaked with the recent missile attack on American forces in Iraq.”
“Despite President Trump’s pledge to bring troops home, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East on Thursday said the most recent forces to enter the region could be there for ‘quite a while.’”
President Trump appeared to brush off the traumatic brain injuries and concussion-like injuries sustained by U.S. service members after Iran’s missile strike on a military base in Iraq, saying he did not consider them to be “very serious injuries,” ABC News reports.
Said Trump: “I heard that they had headaches. And a couple of other things.”
CBS News: “Documents apparently generated by Cambridge Analytica suggest that the political consulting firm had a contractual relationship with Kenneth Braithwaite in the year before he was nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Norway in 2017.”
“Braithwaite, who President Trump has said will be his nominee for Secretary of the Navy, made no mention of an agreement in his required government disclosure form, and says he never entered one.”
Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, has been placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, Axios reports.
“Nearly one dozen American troops were wounded in Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack on Iraq’s al-Asad air base. This week, they were medically evacuated to U.S. military hospitals in Kuwait and Landstuhl, Germany, to be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation,” Defense One reports.
Senior military and Trump administration officials had said on Jan. 8 that 11 Iranian missiles had caused “no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are U.S., coalition, contractor, et cetera.”
“US intelligence officials have quietly asked the Senate and House Intelligence Committees not to hold public hearings on this year’s World Wide Threats Assessment after testimony from agency chiefs last year prompted an angry response from President Trump, CNN reports.
“Officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence broached the topic during informal preliminary discussions with committee staff.”
“While these officials made it clear that they don’t want top intelligence officials to testify publicly, they haven’t formally refused to do so as an invitation to appear has not been issued yet… The request is unlikely to be granted.”
Michael Flynn moves to withdraw his guilty plea for lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, in reversal for President Trump’s former national security adviser, the Washington Post reports.
“Four Republicans have agreed to vote with Democrats in support of the measure, according to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who wrote the legislation that seeks to prevent President Trump from further escalating hostilities with Iran,” the Washington Post reports.
Bloomberg: “Worth noting amid recent developments that the administration is giving *another* briefing to senators tomorrow about the Soleimani strike. Kaine and others — Paul, Lee — have cited the treatment of senators at the briefing as a catalyst for action on war powers.”
“The U.S. is expelling 21 Saudi military students from a training program amid an FBI investigation into a deadly shooting at a Florida Navy base last year, Attorney General William Barr said Monday, for the first time describing the attack as terrorism,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The New York Times reports Barr asked Apple “in an unusually high-profile request to provide access to two phones used by the gunman.”
“The Trump administration has struggled to justify the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani from the jump. And now the one justification presented publicly by President Trump has utterly fallen apart,” the Washington Post reports.
NBC News: “President Trump authorized the killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.”
“The presidential directive in June 2019 came with the condition that Trump would have final sign off on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. That decision explains why assassinating Soleimani was on the menu of options that the military presented to Trump last week for responding to an attack by Iranian proxies in Iraq that killed an American contractor and wounded four U.S. service members.”
“The timing, however, could undermine the Trump administration’s stated justification for ordering the U.S. drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3. Officials have said Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, was planning imminent attacks on Americans and had to be stopped.”
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told CBS News he “didn’t see” specific evidence that top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was planning attacks on four U.S. embassies, but said he believed such attack would have occurred.
Said Esper: “The president didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said was he believed. I didn’t see one, with regard to four embassies. What I’m saying is that I shared the president’s view that probably — my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies. The embassy is the most prominent display of American presence in a country.”
United States troops at the Al-Asad air base in Iraq were aware that an Iranian attack was imminent, allowing them to take shelter two-and-a-half-hours before missiles struck on Wednesday, CNN reports.
A senior administration official and a senior defense official told the Washington Post “they were only aware of vague intelligence about a plot against the embassy in Baghdad and that the information did not suggest a fully formed plot. Neither official said there were threats against multiple embassies.”
“The senior defense official did not directly contradict Trump but said there was concern that there might be an attempt to place a bomb at the Baghdad embassy, a heavily fortified structure in a secure area of the Iraqi capital. The senior administration official said that Trump has been fixated on not allowing an attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility, out of fear of being compared unfavorably to his predecessor.”
Said one official: “Trump is totally obsessed with not letting something like Benghazi happen to him.”
“I realize that you are a politician and that hyperbolic, hyperpartisan claptrap is the unfortunate fashion of the day. But even allowing for the new normal of nastiness in political rhetoric, your casual slur of countless good Americans hits a new bottom…”
“You are not a talk radio host or a carnival barker. You are a pastor, an attorney and a sitting member of Congress. Therefore, the evidence would suggest you should know better. To utter such garbage, which you know to be false and defamatory, goes against all the training and teaching you must have received. But you got your cheap shot across, and perhaps that’s all that matters to you.”
Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.
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