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Trump and Iran step back from brink, while Harry and Meghan 'step back' from royals: The Morning Rundown

"Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world," Trump said Wednesday.
President Trump Delivers Statement On Iranian Missile Attacks On U.S.-Iraqi Bases
President Donald Trump speaks about the situation with Iran from the White House on Wednesday. Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump seemed to step back from further military escalation with Iran as members of his own party broke ranks over his handling of the crisis. Meanwhile "Megxit" rattles the royals.

Here's what we're watching this morning.


Immediate crisis with Iran may have been defused, but debate over war powers lingers

Trump seemed to seek a de-escalation Wednesday in the rising military conflict with Iran, saying Tehran "appears to be standing down" after its missile attack on U.S. targets in Iraq.

But the war in Washington over his handling of the crisis may be just beginning.

Two Republican Senators ripped into the Trump administration Wednesday after a classified briefing about last week's airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

"It was probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said.

Lee said he found the briefers insistence that any public debate over military action toward Iran would empower Tehran "insulting and demeaning."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined Lee in saying that as a result of the "less than satisfying" briefing, he would now vote in favor of a new war powers resolution being put forward by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Most Republicans, however, left the briefing with a different interpretation of what was presented, defending the president and the strike.

Meantime, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House will vote Thursday on its own a war powers resolution to limit the Trump administration's military actions against Iran.


Harry and Meghan's plan to 'step back' rattles royals

Prince Harry and Meghan on Wednesday announced their own Brexit from the royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stunned their subjects with the news that they intend to "step back" from Buckingham Palace, divide their time between the United Kingdom and North America — and even start paying their own bills.

"We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen," they said in an post on Instagram.

The announcement has elicited a wave of diverse reactions: from support to jeers from American late night hosts.

We take a look at the trajectory of their charming romance to public breakup with the royal family.

And they may still be in for a fairy tale ending, Kaitlin Menza, writer, editor and the co-host of the "Royally Obsessed" podcast, writes in an opinion piece.

Prince Harry and Meghan in happier times, on the day they announced their engagement in 2017.Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP - Getty Images file

Iranian investigators say Ukrainian jet was on fire, tried to turn back before crashing

The crew of a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Iran never made a radio call for help and were trying to turn back for the airport when the plane went down, according to an initial Iranian report released Thursday on the crash that killed 176 people.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pledged to discover the "truth" behind the crash, and announced investigators from his country had arrived in Iran to assist in the probe.

The Iranian report suggested a sudden emergency struck the Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines early Wednesday morning, when it went down just moments after taking off from Tehran's international airport.

Eyewitnesses, including the crew of another passing flight, described seeing the plane engulfed in flames before crashing, the report said.

Investigators from Iran's Civil Aviation Organization offered no immediate explanation for the disaster, however.


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Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

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Thanks, Petra