President Trump. Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump was interrupted during campaign planning at his Mar-a-Lago resort last Sunday and pulled into another meeting which resulted in the final call to authorize a drone strike that killed Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani, the New York Times reports.

Why now: Officials said the decision to strike Soleimani emerged in response to the death of an American contractor the Friday before Christmas in Iraq by Iranian-sponsored militia groups. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed Soleimani was "actively" planning an attack on Americans, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: Trump gave the U.S. military broad range to kill Soleimani the next time there was an opportunity after months of intensifying rocket attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq, Politico reports.

  • Trump spoke with advisers throughout the week leading up to the Iraqi drone strike, receiving input on the decision, per Politico.
  • Pompeo said U.S. officials had “an intelligence-based assessment that drove our decision-making process,” and it changed their calculations about the "intelligence flow" the U.S. collected about Soleimani in Iraq, Politico writes.
  • Officials told Trump they felt Soleimani was" taunting" the U.S. by going to Baghdad with "impunity," the Post writes.
  • The U.S. "tracked Soleimani’s movements for several days, keeping Trump apprised, and decided that their best opportunity to kill him would be near the Baghdad airport, the senior administration official said," according to the Post.
  • The White House notified close congressional allies about the attack ahead of time, but, per Politico, left Democrats uninformed.

Protests at the U.S. embassy in Iraq sparked memories of the 2012 Benghazi attack with Trump declaring, "Our people will be protected. This will not be Benghazi," Politico notes.

  • Officials who spoke with Trump allegedly said they felt a decisive response to the killing of the American contractor and attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq would make him look stronger than President Obama, the Post writes.

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Graham hopes his panel will approve Amy Coney Barrett by late October

Chair Lindsey Graham during a Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News Saturday he expects confirmation hearings on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court to start Oct. 12 and for his panel to approve her by Oct. 26.

Why it matters: That would mean the final confirmation vote could take place on the Senate floor before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Texas city declares disaster after brain-eating amoeba found in water supply

Characteristics associated with a case of amebic meningoencephalitis due to Naegleria fowleri parasites. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Texas authorities have issued a warning amid concerns that the water supply in the southeast of the state may contain the brain-eating amoeba naegleria fowleri following the death of a 6-year-old boy.

Details: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a "do not use" water alert Friday for eight cities, along with the Clemens and Wayne Scott Texas Department of Criminal Justice corrections centers and the Dow Chemical plant in Freeport. This was later lifted for all places but one, Lake Jackson, which issued a disaster declaration Saturday.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 32,746,147 — Total deaths: 991,678 — Total recoveries: 22,588,064Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 7,007,450 — Total deaths: 204,486 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.