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Trump at a "Keep America Great" rally in Toledo, Ohio on Jan. 9. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. made an unsuccessful attempt to kill a senior Iranian official in Yemen on the same day that top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani was killed in an American airstrike, the New York Times and Washington Post report.

Why it matters: This second operation, targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, could indicate that killing Soleimani "was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans," the Post reports.

  • The Pentagon has said the U.S. killed Soleimani because the general was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."
  • President Trump told Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Friday that he believed Iran planned to attack four U.S. embassies as part of its imminent threat, but he provided no evidence for that claim.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also described the attacks as "imminent."

But, a classified briefing on Wednesday left Democrats and even some Republicans deeply skeptical, with many claiming that officials did not provide evidence of the "imminent" threat from Iran.

  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said on Twitter on Friday that the Trump administration did not provide proof of imminent attacks on four embassies at the Wednesday briefing.

Background: The Pentagon has not confirmed an attempted Jan. 2 strike on Shahlai. The agency told the Post and NYT that Yemen "is long-understood as a safe space for terrorists and other adversaries to the United States."

  • Shahlai is a financier and key commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, the Post notes.
  • The White House did not immediately respond to comment on Friday. The State Department declined to comment to the Post.

Go deeper: The Trump administration's mixed messages on the Soleimani strike

Go deeper

The risks and rewards of charging state-backed hackers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Last week’s stunning indictment of three North Korean hackers laid bare both the advantages and drawbacks of the U.S. government’s evolving strategy of using high-profile prosecutions to publicize hostile nation-state cyber activities.

Why it matters: Criminal charges can help the U.S. establish clear norms in a murky and rapidly changing environment, but they may not deter future bad behavior and could even invite retaliation against U.S. intelligence officials.

15 mins ago - World

Scoop: Netanyahu asked Biden to keep Trump's sanctions on International Criminal Court

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/ANP/AFP via Getty

Netanyahu asked Biden in their first phone call last week to keep sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in place, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli officials are concerned that removing the sanctions would hamper Israel's efforts to stop a potential war crimes investigation into Israel, and that the court's prosecutor could see it as a signal that the U.S. isn't firmly opposed to that investigation.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

FDA analysis finds Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is safe and effective

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration's staff released a briefing document on Wednesday endorsing Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine as safe and effective.

The latest: Assuming the FDA issues an emergency use authorization "without delay," meaning as soon as this weekend, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said J&J will have 3 million to 4 million ready for distribution next week.