Biden: I don't give Trump 'benefit of the doubt' on Soleimani claim

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE said Tuesday that he does not give President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE the “benefit of the doubt” on his claim that the strike against Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was necessary because of an “imminent” threat. 

“Well, it could be true, but I don’t give the benefit of the doubt because he’s lied so much about virtually everything,” Biden told Lester Holt on "NBC Nightly News." 

The former vice president also said the Trump administration’s strike that resulted in Soleimani’s death “takes us a heck of a lot closer to war.” 

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The president authorized the strike, which killed Soleimani at the Baghdad airport in Iraq, last week. 

Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe problem with Trump's Middle East peace plan India rolls out the red carpet for Trump Limbaugh: Democrats who set up George W. Bush to go to war with Iraq now organizing 'silent coup' against Trump MORE, have backed up the president’s decision, saying an attack on Americans was stopped by the strike. But officials have not revealed what intelligence hinted at the "imminent" attack.

Iran has reacted by promising retaliation against the U.S. for the general’s death. Trump responded by saying the U.S. is prepared to hit 52 Iranian sites, symbolizing the 52 hostages taken in the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979.

Soleimani’s death has worsened an already strained relationship with Iran after Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and the U.S. imposed sanctions on the country.

Holt's full interview with Biden is set to air on "NBC Nightly News" on Tuesday evening.

Updated at 6:07 p.m.