Trump approves retaliatory strike Thursday night, then abruptly pulls back. President Trump blamed someone “loose and stupid” in Iran for shooting down a United States surveillance drone early Thursday, and in bellicose comments warned that “this country will not stand for it.”  But the president at the same time appeared to offer a way out of the crisis, saying that he suspected it was some individual in Iran who “made a big mistake,” even as Iran had taken credit for the strike and asserted that the high-altitude U.S. drone was operating over Iranian air space, which U.S. officials denied.  Trump drew an important distinction in stating that the episode would have been far more serious if the aircraft had been a piloted vehicle, and not a drone.

By Thursday afternoon, the top leadership of Congress had been summoned to a classified briefing on Iran in the White House Situation Room.  Multiple news reports, cited anonymous sources early Friday morning stated that the Trump administration had approved retaliatory strikes Thursday night, then abruptly pulled back.  ABC News CNN The New York Times