Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, proclaimed on Wednesday that “there was no raw evidence” of an “imminent threat” to warrant the elimination of Iran’s top terror chief, declaring that President Trump “recklessly assassinated” Qasem Soleimani.
Jayapal, upon emerging from a congressional classified briefing on the strike eliminating Iran’s top general, proclaimed that there was “no evidence of an imminent threat or attack” to justify the action against the terrorist mastermind, who directed terrorist proxies abroad. She claimed:
President Trump recklessly assassinated Qasem Soleimani. He had no evidence of an imminent threat or attack, and we say that coming from a classified briefing where again, there was no raw evidence presented that there was an imminent threat:
Dem. Rep. Pramila Jayapal says "Pres. Trump recklessly assassinated Qassem Soleimani," adding "there was no raw evidence presented that there was an imminent threat" in classified congressional briefing. https://t.co/TaLfIwGQYH pic.twitter.com/szN7l0TfhO
— ABC News (@ABC) January 8, 2020
Her remarks stand in stark contrast to the statement released by the Pentagon, confirming the death of the terrorist leader.
The Pentagon said in a statement:
General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.
The Pentagon also confirmed that Soleimani approved of last week’s violent attack against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
As Breitbart News reported:
The Pentagon said Soleimani had orchestrated attacks on U.S.-led coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months, including one on December 27 which killed an American contractor and wounded U.S. service members and Iraqi personnel.
The Pentagon also said Soleimani approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place earlier this week.
The group that carried out the December 27 attack, Kata’ib Hizballah, is the same group that pioneered the use of explosively formed penetrators that killed and maimed hundreds of U.S. service members during the Iraq War, according to Smyth.
Other Democrat lawmakers touted a similar narrative, questioning the existence of an imminent threat:
I went to this afternoon's classified briefing regarding justification for last week's drone strike in Iraq that killed Qassim Suleimani.
It is still not clear to me what the imminent danger was that we avoided with this act. pic.twitter.com/xpu5bTBRLt
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) January 8, 2020
Elizabeth Warren tells reporters: “I do not think the US is any safer” with Soleimani dead, saying the US is “‘much closer to war” than when he was alive.
Emerging from briefing, Warren said there was “no” imminent threat to US from Soleimani
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 8, 2020
"A far cry from imminent threat…." @timkaine expresses doubts about the Trump administration rationale for strike that killed Iranian general…Kaine spoke after briefing on Hill by Pompeo, Esper and others
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) January 8, 2020
"I walk away unsatisfied," says @SenatorMenendez after classified Senate briefing on killing of Soleimani. "We have more questions than we have answers at the end of the day,” he told reporters. pic.twitter.com/xId3uM0V4z
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) January 8, 2020
House Democrats overwhelmingly pushed back at the idea that the admin presented specific, new convincing information about an imminent Suleimani threat.
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-MA: “it was grossly unspecific”
Rep. Nydia Valezquez, D-NY: “it was a waste of time.”
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) January 8, 2020
Several GOP lawmakers, such as Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), disagreed with Jayapal’s position, noting that the classified briefing showed that Trump “did what was necessary to protect American lives”:
Just left a classified briefing on the mission to eliminate Soleimani & our response to Iran’s missile attack.
It's plain as day that @realDonaldTrump did what was necessary to protect American lives.
— Jody Hice (@JodyHice) January 8, 2020
Just finished a briefing on Iran with Sec. Pompeo, Sec. Esper, Joint Chiefs & CIA. It's clear our intelligence personnel & military have done a great job providing information & the ability to respond to Iran's threats. I'm thankful for their work and the president's leadership.
— Rep. Ron Estes (@RepRonEstes) January 8, 2020
After classified Senate briefing on drone strike that killed Soleimani, Republican Sen. @RoyBlunt tells reporters : “We had a sense in today’s briefing that they were confident that his activities were likely to come to a significant head within days of when he was killed.”
— Susan Ferrechio (@susanferrechio) January 8, 2020
“As the head of the Quds Force, Soleimani was personally responsible for some of the absolutely worst atrocities,” Trump stated on Wednesday, citing his involvement in training terrorist armies and launching terrorist strikes against civilian targets.
He fueled bloody civil wars all across the region. He viciously wounded and murdered thousands of U.S. troops, including the planting of roadside bombs that maim and dismember their victims.
Soleimani directed the recent attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq that badly wounded four service members and killed one American, and he orchestrated the violent assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. In recent days, he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him.
“Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood,” Trump continued. “He should have been terminated long ago.”
“By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people,” he added.