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Then-citizen Donald Trump predicted in November 2011 video that then-President Barack Obama would start a war with Iran in order to get re-elected in 2012.

"Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective. So the only way he figures that he’s going to get re-elected, and as sure as you're sitting there, is to start a war with Iran."

The big picture: The idea of Obama potentially attacking Iran as a political tool was a prime topic for Trump around that time, as illustrated by his tweets:

  • Oct. 9, 2012: "Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate."
  • Sept. 16, 2013: "I predict that President Obama will at some point attack Iran in order to save face!"
  • Sept. 25, 2013: "Remember what I previously said — Obama will someday attack Iran in order to show how tough he is."

The state of play: The video has resurfaced after President Trump — during his re-election year — ordered an airstrike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, one of the regime's most powerful figures, in a move that is widely expected to significantly escalate tensions in the Middle East.

Go deeper: Pompeo says Soleimani strike disrupted "imminent" attack

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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