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Without presenting any evidence, Trump now claims that Soleimani was plotting against 4 US embassies before he was assassinated

2020-01-10 15:01:00

Trump rally
Trump rally

AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin

  • President Donald Trump is now claiming that former Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was plotting attacks against four US embassies when Trump ordered an airstrike that killed him.

  • “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad,” the president said at a rally in Ohio on Thursday night.

  • On Friday, according to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Fox News aired a clip in which Trump told host Laura Ingraham that four embassies were involved in the alleged plot, though he didn’t specify which ones.

  • Trump’s remarks to Ingraham are the most specific any US official has been so far about what they said was an “imminent threat” posed by Soleimani to American lives.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump is now claiming that former Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was plotting against four embassies when Trump ordered an airstrike that killed him.

“Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad,” the president said at a rally in Ohio on Thursday night. “But we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly, and we stopped him cold.”

On Friday, according to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Fox News aired a clip in which Trump told host Laura Ingraham that four embassies were involved in the alleged plot, though he didn’t specify which ones.

 

Trump’s remarks to Ingraham are the most specific any US official has been so far about what they said was an “imminent threat” posed by Soleimani to American lives.

The Trump administration first announced the strike against him last week.

Soleimani’s assassination kicked off a series of escalatory actions from both Washington and Tehran that simmered down earlier this week after Iran fired several missiles at US bases in Iraq that resulted in no American casualties. Trump subsequently announced that “all is well” and that the conflict had been de-escalated.

The president’s actions also invited harsh blowback from Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans as well who expressed concern that Congress had not been consulted or notified prior to the drone strike.

The House of Representatives subsequently passed a War Powers Resolution on Thursday that would drastically curtail the president’s ability to take further military action against Iran. It passed on a largely party-line vote, though eight Democrats voted against it, and three Republicans voted in favor of it.

Since the strike was first announced, questions have swirled about how robust the underlying intelligence supporting the strike was, and whether Soleimani really did pose an “imminent threat,” as Trump and his deputies have claimed.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper was asked whether the Iranian attacks against US personnel were days or weeks away before Soleimani’s death.

“I think it’s more fair to say days, for sure,” Esper said.

But several Democratic and Republican lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with the administration’s briefings on the strike against Soleimani, who was Iran’s most powerful military official and a widely revered figure within the nation.

Asked if she was convinced that there was evidence that Soleimani was planning an “imminent” attack on US personnel, as the administration has said, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts replied, “No” but said she could not elaborate further.

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal echoed that, saying, “There was no raw evidence presented that this was an imminent threat.”

Additional reporting from The New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi indicated that the underlying intelligence for the strike was “razor thin.”

Callimachi reported that one source told her there wasn’t evidence of an “imminent” attack on US interests that could kill hundreds, as the White House has said. “The official describes the reading of the intelligence as an illogical leap,” she wrote on Twitter.

Read the original article on Business Insider




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