McCain: Trump has not provided enough information on Niger attack

Senate Armed Service Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainObama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that the Trump administration has not provided enough information on the attack in Niger that killed four U.S. Green Berets.

Asked by The Hill whether the administration has been forthcoming on information on Niger, McCain said “no.”

“I had a better working relationship, as far as information back and forth, with Ash Carter than I do with an old friend of 20 years,” McCain added.

Carter was the last Defense secretary for the Obama administration, which McCain often slammed for defense policies he disagreed with.

Asked for clarification on if the friend is Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump eyes second Putin summit The Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Court rules against Trump administration on transgender military ban MORE, McCain said "yes" and added that includes national security adviser H.R. McMaster, as well.

"I think they had this idea that once Trump won that we are a unicameral government," McCain said.

On Oct. 4, four U.S. Green Berets were killed and two more were injured when their group of about a dozen U.S. soldiers and 40 Nigerien troops were ambushed during a joint patrol. The Pentagon has blamed self-radicalized, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-affiliated militants for the attack.

President Trump did not personally comment on the attack until Monday, when he said he would call the families of the fallen soldiers “at some point in the time” and falsely claimed that President Obama and other past president did not call Gold Star families.

ADVERTISEMENT

McCain has been critical of the administration’s communication with Congress for months. He has pledged to block all Defense Department nominees until the administration provides more information on strategies in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

On Tuesday, McCain said the Pentagon is expected to provide information he’s asked for later in the afternoon.

“We’ve been waiting for weeks and weeks,” he said. “We will not sit by without having a complete understanding of what’s going on.”

Asked whether he expects Tuesday’s information that will include more on Niger, McCain said, “We’ll find out.”

McCain’s criticism echoes that of his committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one Schumer: Trump should cancel meeting with Putin MORE (D-R.I.), who earlier Tuesday told CNN he does not think the administration has been forthcoming enough about the attack in Niger.

"I think the administration has to be more clear about our role in Niger and our role in other areas in Africa and other parts of the globe,” Reed said. “They have to connect it to a strategy. They should do that. I think that the inattention to this issue is not acceptable.”