Jan. 9
“We caught a total monster and we took him out. … We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy.”

— Mr. Trump, in a news conference

Mr. Trump made his first remarks identifying a specific threat against a specific target in the region: the American Embassy in Baghdad.

But later in the news conference, Mr. Trump appeared to conflate the suggested threat of bombing the embassy with protesters who had broken into the embassy compound at the time.

“If you look at those protesters, they were rough warriors. They were Iranian-backed,” Mr. Trump said. “Had they gotten through, I believe we would have either had a hostage situation or we would’ve had a, worse, we would’ve had a lot of people killed.”