Pelosi: Trump Notified Russia Of Baghdadi’s Death Before Telling Congress
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that President Donald Trump informed Russia of the military operation targeting Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi while failing to let congressional leaders in on the move.
According to The Washington Post, Pelosi called on the White House to bring lawmakers up to date on the raid, which resulted in al-Baghdadi’s death.
Trump said during a Sunday press conference that he opted against telling Pelosi and other congressional leaders about the operation because he “wanted to make sure this kept secret.”
The Post noted that presidents “typically follow the protocol of contacting congressional leaders, regardless of their political party, when a high-level military operation is conducted.”
“The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top congressional leadership were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region,” Pelosi said in her statement. “Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.”
The president said Russia was informed of the mission because U.S. forces would need to fly over “Russia-held areas.” Trump also said he informed Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) of the raid prior to his Sunday announcement.
In defending his decision to break with protocol and keep the information from Pelosi and others, Trump said he had worried about potential leaks, indicating he was “going to notify [congressional leaders] last night, but we decided not to do that, because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before.”
Trump did not back up his concern that Pelosi might leak the information with evidence, and The Post noted that the Speaker does not have a reputation for leaking sensitive material over the 20 years she has served on the House Intelligence Committee.