Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Friday that he is working to set up a closed-door briefing for senators on a strike that killed Iran’s top general.
“We’re working to arrange a classified briefing for all senators early next week,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.
McConnell said that staff is starting to get briefed by the administration on Friday, and that he has already spoken to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. He did not specify if his conversation took place before or after the air strike, and did not respond to a question from reporters after his speech.
The GOP leader threw his support behind the strike, saying that “Iran’s master terrorist is dead.”
“I’m encouraged by the steps the U.S. military is taking to defend American personnel and interests from a growing Iranian threat,” McConnell said.
Trump’s decision to kill Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who led the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and was viewed as the mastermind of Iran’s military and intelligence operations, has sparked a fierce debate on Capitol Hill about the administration’s authority to carry out the strike.
McConnell urged lawmakers to wait until they have been briefed before taking a position, while noting the airstrike “may prove controversial or divisive.”
“I anticipate and welcome a debate about America’s interest in foreign policy in the Middle East. I recommend that all senators wait to review the facts and hear from the administration before passing much public judgement on this operation and its potential consequences,” McConnell said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the strike took place without an authorization for use of military force against Iran and “without the consultation of the Congress.”
The Pentagon confirmed late Thursday that the president had ordered a strike against Soleimani. It described the decision as a “decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad.”