Pence insists Iran threat was 'imminent' following disastrous briefing


Members of the House and Senate said the administration failed to offer convincing evidence of an imminent threat from Iran during this week's intelligence briefings.

Mike Pence appeared on multiple television programs Thursday morning, including "Fox & Friends," and insisted that unreleased intelligence justified the Trump administration's claim that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani posed an imminent threat to America.

Pence's claim followed a day of congressional briefings that were panned by lawmakers for their lack of specificity and detail.

"To protect sources and methods, we're simply not able to share with every member of the House and Senate the intelligence that supported the president's decision to take out Qassem Soleimani," Pence said on Fox. "I can assure your viewers that there was a threat of an imminent attack."

Pence made a similar assertion on NBC's "Today."

After an intelligence briefing on the strike from the Trump administration on Wednesday morning, members of the House expressed disappointment.

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

His sentiments were echoed by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who said she was never told in the briefing what the imminent threat supporting the attack was.

A briefing later in the day for senators also produced similarly disappointing results.

The information presented was "a far cry from what I consider to be an imminent threat," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said he and other senators "have more questions than we have answers" after the brief presentation.

The presentation was described as "incredibly thin on facts" that "did not support any claim of an imminent threat" by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Administration ally Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told reporters it was "probably the worst briefing" he has ever received on military affairs during his time in the Senate. He said the Trump administration's message to lawmakers was to "run along and be good little boys and girls and not debate."

As a result of what he described as an "insulting" briefing, in which administration officials refused to fully answer questions or provide evidence, he said he would now be supporting a resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine (VA) to curtail Donald Trump's war powers.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.