Soleimani Killing: Trump Says Imminent Threat ‘Doesn’t Matter’ – Do You Agree?
Do you agree with Trump that it “doesn’t really matter” if Soleimani posed an imminent threat?
by U.S.-Iran Hostilities | 1.14.20
What’s the story?
- For more than a week, President Donald Trump and his team asserted that Gen. Qasem Soleimani posed an “imminent” threat to Americans when he was killed by a U.S. drone strike.
- "Why is that important?" House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), asked at a hearing on the strike Tuesday. "Because in the case of an imminent threat, the president has authority under Article 2 of the Constitution to protect Americans."
- While initially claiming there was an “imminent” threat, Trump officials have since offered shifting justifications for the strike, including Trump's recent claim that "it doesn't matter."
Friday, January 3rd
When Trump announced that he had ordered a drone strike on Soleimani, who ran the Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force, he said the general was "plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel."
Thursday, January 9th - Day
"There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by (Iranian general) Qassem Soleimani," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on Fox News.
"We don't know precisely when, and we don't know precisely where, but it was real."
Thursday, January 9th - Evening
At a campaign rally in Ohio on Thursday evening, Trump told the crowd:
"Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad. But we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly, and we stopped him cold."
Friday, January 10th - Morning
A reporter informed Pompeo that not knowing precisely when and where was not the definition of "imminent."
"We had specific information on an imminent threat, and those threats included attacks on U.S. embassies," Pompeo shot back. "Period, full stop."
Friday, January 10th - Afternoon
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley:
Note: Libya's Omar Gaddafi was killed by his own compatriots. Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki “were killed under a broad authorization approved by Congress for using military force against perpetrators or collaborators in the Sept. 11 attacks,” as NPR explained.
Friday, January 10th - Evening
Trump claimed in an interview that Soleimani was targeting four embassies before he was killed:
"I can reveal that I believe it would've been four embassies."
Sunday, January 12th
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS News' "Face the Nation" that he “didn’t see” specific evidence of Iranian threats to four embassies.
"Well, the president didn't say there was a tangible, he didn't cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said it he probably, he believed… I didn't see one with regard to four embassies."
The State Department was also apparently unaware of such threats to US embassies.
Monday, January 13th
Trump argued on Monday that it “doesn’t really matter” if Soleimani posed an imminent threat:
Attorney General William Barr echoed these sentiments during a news conference on Monday.
Barr was asked whether Trump may have exceeded his authority by not consulting Congress about what could be considered an act of war.
"The Department of Justice was consulted, and frankly, I don't think it was a close call," Barr replied. "The president clearly had the authority to act as he did" because "ongoing attacks were being planned and orchestrated by Soleimani" with the "avowed purpose of driving us out of the Middle East."
"I believe there was intelligence of imminent attack, but I do believe that this concept of imminence is something of a red herring," Barr added. "I think when you're dealing with a situation where you already have attacks underway, you know there is a campaign that involves repeated attacks on American targets, I don't think there's a requirement frankly for knowing the exact time and place of the next attack. And that certainly was the position of the Obama administration when it droned leaders of terrorist organizations."
What do you think?
Do you agree with Trump that it “doesn’t really matter” if Soleimani posed an imminent threat? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
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