Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim

Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim
© Greg Nash
 
Nine Democrats sent a letter on Tuesday to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireThe Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Schiff schedules public hearing with US intel chief  Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim MORE on the "specific evidence" behind President Trump and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoNPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' NPR sends letter to State Dept. demanding answers for reporter's removal from trip Trump allies throw jabs at Bolton over book's claims MORE's statement about the alleged embassy threat.
 
"There was no mention of any of this classified evidence during the All Senators Briefing last Wednesday. ... Furthermore, on Sunday Secretary Esper said President Trump 'didn't cite a specific piece of evidence' regarding an imminent attack on four embassies and that Secretary Esper 'didn’t see' that evidence," the senators wrote. 
 
The nine senators are requesting a classified briefing by the end of the week. 
 
"It is vital for the American public to know if intelligence is being manipulated or inaccurately represented by their government to justify an assassination of a foreign official," the senators added.
 
The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision Democratic senator on proposal to read Bolton manuscript in classified setting: 'Total bulls---t' Republicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap MORE (D-Conn.) and was also signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTrump allies throw jabs at Bolton over book's claims White House Correspondents' Association blasts State for 'punitive action' against NPR Senate Democrat demands State Department reinstate NPR reporter on Pompeo trip MORE (D-Mass.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthIllinois senators meet with Amtrak CEO over ,000 price tag for wheelchair users Democrats ask Amtrak to review policies after wheelchair users quoted K ticket price Amtrak ends policy that led to K charge for activists using wheelchairs MORE (D-Ill), Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter MORE (I-Vt.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocrats offer mixed reactions to Trump's Mideast peace plan Trump offers two-state peace plan for Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid skepticism The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump lawyers to offer closing arguments on day 7 MORE (D-Md.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Trump becomes first sitting president to attend March for Life | Officials confirm second US case of coronavirus | Trump officials threaten California funding over abortion law Top health officials brief senators on coronavirus as infections spread Administration to give Senate briefing on coronavirus MORE (D-Wash.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — HHS has no plans to declare emergency over coronavirus | GOP senator calls for travel ban to stop outbreak | Warren releases plan to contain infectious diseases Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats worry Trump team will cherry-pick withheld documents during defense Democrats urge Supreme Court to save consumer agency from chopping block Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (D-Hawaii).
 
Several Democratic senators said last week that the administration did not discuss an alleged threat that Iran was planning to "blow up" a U.S. embassy during a closed door briefing with Esper and other top administration officials.
 
Trump has repeatedly said that Soleimani was plotting attacks against U.S. embassies.   
 
Trump told a crowd of supporters during a rally in Ohio on Thursday that “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks and he was looking very seriously at our embassies and not just the embassy in Baghdad."  
 
He also told Fox News's Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamTrump asks 'what the hell has happened' to Fox News after interview with Democratic senator GOP cries boredom in attack on impeachment case Giuliani says he was 'misled' by Parnas MORE last week that Soleimani was planning attacks against four embassies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who took part in the Senate's closed door briefing, backed up the president during a press conference on Friday, telling reporters that Soleimani was planning “large-scale” attacks on embassies, though he acknowledged that U.S. officials did not know the exact time or place of a potential attack.

He also said that they discussed with lawmakers an imminent threat to U.S. embassies, though he declined to go into detail on Friday about the conversation.