President Donald Trump approved military strike against Iran in retaliation for downing US drone

President 'approved military strike against Iran in retaliation for downing US drone but PULLED BACK last minute - AGAINST the advice of aides - as planes were in air and battleships in position'

President Donald Trump approved military strike against Iran in retaliation for downing US drone
Trump, pictured with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, National security adviser John Bolton, center, and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, is said to have approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing a US drone but pulled back last minute

President 'approved military strike against Iran in retaliation for downing US drone but PULLED BACK last minute - AGAINST the advice of aides - as planes were in air and battleships in position'

Officials were said to be expecting a strike as late as 7pm on Thursday  
But following a Situation Room briefing and amid increasing fears of open conflict Mitch McConnell said 'measured responses' would be coming

Those in favor of a military response reportedly included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John R. Bolton and CIA director Gina Haspel

Pentagon officials are said to have warned against escalation
Newly released Pentagon video shows a smoke trail from the downed aircraft
The high-altitude, high-endurance Naval drone was brought down Wednesday
It was denounced as an 'unprovoked attack' in international air space by the US
But Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday that parts of the drone had been recovered in Iranian territorial waters

In a letter addressed to the UN Iran called it a 'dangerous and provocative' act
President Donald Trump had initially labeled the a missile strike a 'big mistake'
He then moved to dial tensions down, suggesting it may have been shot in error
United Airlines suspended flights from Newark to Mumbai after a safety review

And the FAA issued an emergency order prohibiting all US flights in overwater area of Tehran-controlled airspace above Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman