Dem Rep demands answers on Niger attack

Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonLobbying world Harris calls it 'outrageous' Trump downplayed coronavirus House passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys MORE (D-Fla.) on Friday demanded answers on a deadly ambush in Niger that resulted in the deaths of one of her constituents, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, and three other soldiers.

Johnson reportedly became separated from the rest of his adviser team during the Oct. 4 attack. He was initially declared missing and was found dead days later. 

"I want to know why he was separated from the rest of his soldiers," Wilson said on CNN's "New Day. "Why did it take 48 hours for them to find him? Was he still alive? Was he kidnapped? What's going on?

Wilson had mentored Johnson in a program she founded in 1993 called 5,000 Role Models of Excellence. She was riding in a limousine with Johnson's widow when President Trump called to offer his condolences.


"I thought you were supposed to put your comrade across your soldier and get on the helicopter with the dead and the wounded. Why did they leave him? I am distraught and so is the family. There are so many questions that must be answered." 

The Pentagon and the White House have faced mounting questions about the attack in recent days, and an investigation has been launched to determine how and why the ambush took place. 

At the same time, Trump has faced criticism for his calls to the families of the fallen soldiers. Wilson has claimed that the president was disrespectful during the conversation with Johnson's widow, though he has denied that allegation.

Some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDemocrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Trump digs in on conspiracy theory over bin Laden raid MORE (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, have accused the White House of not being forthcoming about the circumstances surrounding the attack.

Wilson said Friday that she has been promised a classified briefing on the matter.

"I can hardly wait for that classified briefing, because I am concerned about my constituent today," she said. "And I am concerned that he is not able to have an open-casket funeral, and that is very painful for his family."

The White House hit back on Thursday, with chief of staff John Kelly made an emotional appearance at a press briefing to defend the president's handling of the situation and criticize Wilson for publicizing the call.

Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, also recalled his experience receiving the news that his son had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

"If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you can imagine,” he said.

Wilson, asked Friday if she misinterpreted the president's intentions of the phone call, said "there's nothing to misinterpret. He said what he said."