White House sends Congress formal notification of Soleimani strike

The White House has formally notified Congress of the U.S. strike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, according to a Saturday statement from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit MORE's (D-Calif.) office.

The 1973 War Powers Act requires the president to notify Congress of the "circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces" within 48 hours. 

The Speaker reacted to the notification saying that the entirety of the of the information conveyed was classified and that she believes it "raises more questions than it answers."

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"This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran," she said. 

"The highly unusual decision to classify this document in its entirety compounds our many concerns, and suggests that the Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security," the top House Democrat continued. 

A senior Democratic aide told The Hill on Saturday that it was not clear whether the White House would send Congress anything unclassified. 

The notification was first reported by The Washington Post on Saturday. 

The Pentagon announced this week that Soleimani had been killed in a U.S. strike bear Baghdad International Airport.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPutin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Pompeo accused of stumping for Trump ahead of election MORE has said that the action was in response to an "imminent threat to American lives" and President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' Trump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE has said it was done to “to stop a war.”

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“What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved,” Trump said on Friday. “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”

Pelosi, meanwhile, has criticized the strike as something that could provoke "further dangerous escalation of violence" and has said that Congress was not consulted in advance. 

She said in the statement on Saturday that the "provocative, escalatory and disproportionate military engagement continues to put service members, diplomats and citizens of America and our allies in danger."

Pelosi also reiterated a past call for a briefing of Congress. 

"The Administration must work with the Congress to advance a bonafide de-escalatory strategy that prevents further violence,” she said. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power MORE (R-Ky.) has said he was working on setting up a classified briefing for all senators

Updated at 8:36 p.m.