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Lawmakers say briefing on reason for Iran strike 'utterly unconvincing'

Democrats emerged from a classified briefing on the strike that killed Qassem Soleimani saying they were unconvinced by the justification for the attack.

By Emily Singer - January 08, 2020
Donald Trump

Members of Congress were briefed Wednesday morning about the intelligence behind the decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani — which Trump administration officials say was necessary due to Soleimani’s plans for an “imminent attack” on Americans.

However, Democratic lawmakers who emerged from the classified briefing saying they saw no evidence of an imminent strike and questioned the attack that some worry will start yet another violent conflict in the Middle East, while at the same time hurting other military efforts in the region, such as the fight against ISIS.

“No case was made for imminence,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told reporters. “It was sophomoric and utterly unconvincing.”

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) echoed Connolly’s comments, telling Politico editor John Bresnahan that she, too, did not see any evidence of an imminent threat.

“I don’t know if they know the rationale,” Fudge told Bresnahan, referencing the strike that killed Soleimani. “They certainly didn’t tell me what it was.”

The Trump administration has shifted its justification for killing Soleimani in the days following the drone strike that took the Iranian leader out, first saying that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack, then saying attacking Soleimani would deter Iran from launching future attacks.

However, Donald Trump finally addressed the nation Wednesday morning about the Soleimani operation, claiming, “In recent days, he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him.”

Yet Democrats were not convinced of this in their Wednesday briefing, with Connolly telling reporters that he thinks Congress needs to act to curtail Trump’s war powers — as House Democrats are mulling.

“I believe more than ever that Congress needs to act to protect the Constitutional provisions about war and peace,” Connolly told reporters.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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