House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who lead secret impeachment hearings against President Trump, is now calling on Congress to hold public hearings on the U.S.’s decision to launch the deadly airstrike that killed top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.
“I think there should be open hearings on this subject,” Schiff told the Washington Post in an interview published Monday. “The president has put us on a path where we may be at war with Iran. That requires the Congress to fully engage.”
Asked for his thoughts on President Trump warning Iran that the U.S. will hit 52 sites, including cultural sites, if Tehran retaliates the California Democrat said: “None of that could come out of the Pentagon. Absolutely no way.”
On Saturday evening, President Trump said the 52 Iranian sites “will be hit very fast and very hard” if Tehran strikes back at U.S. citizens or assets.
“Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters,” the president tweeted. “He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years.”
He continued: “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
In a subsequent tweet, President Trump said his “Media Posts” will serve as an equivalent to notifying Congress on possible military actions.
“These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!” he wrote.
Schiff ‘s comments to the Post come after he suggested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo misrepresented intelligence indicating that killing Soleimani saved American lives.
“It was a reckless decision that increased the risk to America all around the world, not decreased it. When Secretary Pompeo says that this decision to take out Qasem Soleimani saved American lives, saved European lives, he is expressing a personal opinion, not an intelligence conclusion,” he told CNN State of the Union host Jake Tapper. “I think it will increase the risk to Americans around the world. I have not seen the intelligence that taking out Soleimani was going to either stop the plotting that is going on or decrease other risks to the United States.”