Pence defends withholding Soleimani intel amid Lee, Paul criticism

Vice President Pence defended the Trump administration’s withholding of intelligence it says justified the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani after Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeMcConnell shores up GOP support for coronavirus package McConnell tries to unify GOP Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump MORE (R-Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill MORE (R-Ky.) called a White House briefing on the matter “insulting.”

In an appearance on NBC's “Today,” the vice president was asked why the administration could not share the intelligence with senators.

Pence defended the administration withholding the evidence as necessary to protect sources and methods, saying “some of the most compelling evidence that Qassem Soleimani was preparing an imminent attack against American forces and American personnel also represents some of the most sensitive intelligence that we have.”

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Pence was then pressed on whether the potential threat to sources and methods still applied to classified briefings, which Pence did not answer, saying “those of us who have seen all the evidence, that saw the evidence in real time, know that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE made the right decision,” adding “America is safer, the world is safer.”

Paul and Lee on Wednesday claimed after a briefing from Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperUS issues Iran sanctions to enforce UN action ignored by international community Top admiral: 'No condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' Overnight Defense: Trump hosts Israel, UAE, Bahrain for historic signing l Air Force reveals it secretly built and flew new fighter jet l Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' MORE, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: House Democrats unveil stopgap spending measure to GOP opposition | Bill includes .6B for new subs | Trump issues Iran sanctions after world shrugs at US action at UN Navalny calls on Russia to return clothes he was wearing when he fell ill US issues Iran sanctions to enforce UN action ignored by international community MORE, CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Top intelligence officials to brief Gang of Eight on Thursday MORE and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley that the officials warned against supporting a resolution curtailing Trump’s war powers, saying it would “embolden Iran.”

"I find this insulting and demeaning ... to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States," Lee said. Both Paul and Lee said they would support the resolution after the briefing.