Donald Trump says he thinks Iran shot down a Ukrainian plane by 'mistake.'
Donald Trump on Thursday said he suspected a Ukrainian jet was targeted in Iran by "mistake." Trump's comments follow news reports that U.S. officials believe it's "highly likely" a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran was mistakenly shot down by Iranian missiles intended for other targets.
"Well, I have my suspicions," Trump said Thursday of the crash, which killed all 176 people aboard the plane including Ukrainians, Iranians, and Canadians.
"It's a tragic thing when I see that, it's a tragic thing. But somebody could've made a mistake on the other side," Trump added. "It was flying ... in a pretty rough neighborhood. ... Some people say it was mechanical. Personally, I don't think that's even a question."
Until now, the reason for the crash — which took place hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases that house American troops — has been a mystery.
Iranian officials claimed "technical" problems were responsible for the crash, according to the Washington Post. However, aviation experts have suspected the plan was shot down intentionally.
And now, Trump as well as unnamed U.S. officials say that they suspect Iranian missiles were behind the crash.
Trump made the comments during an event in which he announced he was rolling back environmental protections against energy and infrastructure projects. But Trump also spoke about the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, following his order for the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have been in an uproar, saying the administration's briefing about the rationale for the strike was "insulting and demeaning," as the administration gave few details for the strike and simply asked for lawmakers to trust their decision.
"It is not acceptable for officials within the executive branch of government ... to come in and tell us that we can't debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran," Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said on Wednesday after the briefing. "It's un-American, it's unconstitutional, and it's wrong."
Trump, however, said he thought the briefing was great.
"I had calls from numerous senators and numerous congressmen and women saying it was the greatest presentation they ever had," Trump said on Thursday.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.