Trump: It Doesn’t Matter If The Iranian General Posed An Imminent Threat To US
President Donald Trump on Monday downplayed the significance of any imminent threat to the U.S. before he ordered the strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, raising questions about the available intelligence preceding the move, according to The Hill.
Trump authorized the strike after an Iranian-backed militia group killed an American contractor and wounded U.S. personnel in Iraq and Iran-backed protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Trump administration officials initially argued that the strike was a defensive measure, meant to fend off imminent attacks by Iran on U.S. facilities, yet have since suggested that the strike was in retaliation for Iran’s escalatory behavior in the region, providing few additional details.
“This administration already has a credibility problem, and President Trump has a pretty casual relationship with the truth,” said William Inboden, who served on former President George W. Bush’s National Security Council. “So even when he does what I would regard as the right thing or a good policy decision with Soleimani, he then hurts himself and widens the credibility gap with these shifting explanations.”
Trump told Fox News in an interview Friday that four embassies were being targeted, putting officials in a precarious spot by providing details they were not fully prepared to discuss.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he didn’t see specific intelligence pointing to an imminent threat to four embassies, while adding that he agreed with Trump in the sense that his “expectation was they were going to go after our embassies.”
Trump, on Monday, insisted the threat posed by Soleimani was imminent, but tweeted “it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past!”
Lawmakers from both parties were outraged following a classified briefing last week, claiming that the Trump administration failed to outline any specific looming threat from Soleimani. Congress is set to consider curbing presidential war powers this week.