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 Pelosi’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.”
“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 Pompeo has said that the action was in response to an “imminent threat to American lives” and President Trump has said it was done to “to stop a war.”
“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 McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he was working on setting up a classified briefing for all senators.
Updated at 8:36 p.m.