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Vox Sentences: The strike that never happened

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Trump confirms that he called off an attack on Iran at the last minute; the final two candidates for UK prime minister have been announced.

Trump confirms the US almost attacked Iran

Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • President Trump confirmed that he canceled a planned limited strike on Iran after Tehran shot down a US drone. [Washington Post / Erin Cunningham, Missy Ryan, and Dan Lamothe]
  • Trump says the US was “cocked and loaded” but he called off the strike 10 minutes before it was supposed to begin when he realized 150 people would die from the attack. He tweeted that he thought such an outcome was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.” [CNN / Stephen Collinson]
  • However, it is unclear whether that was the actual reason behind Trump’s withdrawal. US officials told Vox’s Alex Ward that there were concerns over oil prices following the attack and that the warplanes wouldn’t be ready by the scheduled time. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • Iran downed the US drone just a day ago, which sparked anger in the Trump administration. The two countries gave conflicting accounts of the incident: Tehran said the drone invaded Iranian airspace, while the US said the drone was in international waters. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • Rather than directly attack Iran, Trump tweeted that he will impose more sanctions against it. The New York Times reported that while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wants a military response to the drone strike, he acknowledges that sanctions may be more effective in the long term. [NYT / Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper, and Eric Schmitt]
  • As of now, however, it doesn’t seem like the US has imposed any new sanctions on Iran. [Washington Post / Damian Paletta]
  • Democrats have heavily criticized Trump for increasing the chances of a potential war with Iran. Bernie Sanders was one of the many Democratic leaders who urged Congress to reclaim its power to declare war. [Guardian / Ed Pilkington]
  • Another conflict with a Middle Eastern country could be bad news for Trump, who campaigned on the promise that he would pull the US out from endless wars. [Politico / Matthew Choi]

The PM battle: Boris Johnson vs. Jeremy Hunt

  • The fight to become the UK’s next prime minister has narrowed down to two candidates: former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and current Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt. [CNN / Luke McGee]
  • 313 Conservative MPS held their last round of votes to determine the final candidates for the PM race. Johnson was first by a landslide with 160 votes, while Hunt came in second with 77 votes. [BBC]
  • Environment Secretary Michael Gove was a close third place at 75 votes. Gove had a bitter rivalry with Johnson in 2016, which ultimately ruined Johnson’s chances of becoming PM, and party members were worried of a repeat. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • Johnson and Hunt will now go head to head for leadership of the ruling Conservative Party, and subsequently theUK. Results will be announced the week of July 22. [AP / Jill Lawless]
  • Johnson is the favorite of the Conservative Party and a hardcore Brexit supporter who has promised solid outcomes — even if it means not securing a deal with Brussels. He is also a controversial character because of his provocative rhetoric. [Al Jazeera]
  • Hunt, on the other hand, had supported remaining in the EU and is less likely to support a “no-deal” Brexit. Although he said he’s now committed to Brexit, some don’t trust him and worry he will be unable to deliver results, just like Theresa May. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • The two men are now off to court the 160,000 party members across the UK — and convince the nation that they are the solution to Brexit woes. [Washington Post / Karla Adam]


  • Journalist E. Jean Carroll said in a story for New York magazine that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in 1996. On the cover of the magazine, she is pictured in the coat she wore the day of the incident. [The Cut / E. Jean Carroll]
  • Scientists have limited knowledge of giant squids, the mysterious monsters of the sea. Imagine the excitement when they filmed the first giant squid in US waters. [NYT / Brooke Jarvis]
  • All sales of La Croix in Massachusetts have technically been illegal because the company does not have a permit to sell fizzy water in the state. [Vice / Bettina Makalintal]
  • Owning a dinosaur fossil may sound cool, but it could also threaten access to material that scientists need for groundbreaking research. [WSJ / Lukas Rieppel]
  • Senators have received a classified briefing about UFOs from the Pentagon. Did they talk about aliens? We may never know. [Independent / Andrew Buncombe]


“By walking away from diplomacy, Trump has made military conflict more likely. Another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need.” [Joe Biden’s response to news that Trump canceled an attack against Iran at the last minute]

Listen to this: Never forget

The 9/11 first responders and Jon Stewart are fighting Congress for what they hope is the last time. [Spotify | Apple Podcasts]

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