Democratic lawmaker says Trump 'doesn't have full command' on Iran

Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoCompromise defense bill offers rebuke of Trump's Germany drawdown Gallego tapped to run Hispanic Caucus's campaign arm Congress: Support the ARC Act to prevent amputations MORE (D-Ariz.) said Thursday in an interview with Hill.TV that Congress needs to pass a war powers resolution because President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE “clearly doesn’t have full command of the issues” when it comes to Iran policy.

“It’s a very scary time that we’re dealing with right now, because the president clearly doesn’t have full command of the issues, and that’s how we ended up in this situation, which I still think could spiral out of control,” said Gallego, a Marine Corps veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Trump moved to de-escalate tensions with Iran on Wednesday after Tehran launched attacks on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. The missile strikes did not result in any American casualties, Trump said during remarks from the White House.

But Gallego argued that the Trump administration's actions may help Iran accomplish its objective of weakening U.S. influence in Iraq.

“We are in not a great situation if you actually think about the geopolitical goals of Iran -- one of them is certainty for us to get us pushed out of Iraq,” he added.

Gallego said that last week's killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani galvanized Iraqis against the presence of U.S. forces in the country shortly after widespread protests.

“In Soleimani’s death, we may have accomplished Iran’s strategic goals. And I think that, in the end, is one of the biggest tragedies,” he added.

Gallego also addressed Wednesday's briefing by Trump administration officials that prompted the ire of Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Senate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return MORE (R-Ky.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge MORE (R-Utah). Lee called the briefing “insulting,” saying it did not settle lingering questions about the intelligence that led to the U.S. strike ordered by Trump that killed Soleimani.

“There is nothing that I’d heard before, or nothing that I’d read today, that told me there was an imminent threat for us to take such a risk by taking out Soleimani and at the same time, violating the Constitution and starting a war without the consent of Congress,” Gallego said.

--Zack Budryk