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 MaguireTop intel official leaving post Grenell announces creation of intelligence community 'cyber executive' Ratcliffe refuses to say whether Russian election interference favored Trump MORE on the "specific evidence" behind President Trump and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPresidents and 'presidents' The Hill's Morning Report - Trump mobilizes military against 'angry mob,' holds controversial photo op The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden addresses protests over George Floyd's death 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 MurphyMissouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Khanna says President Trump threatening violence against US citizens; Trump terminating relationship with WHO Senators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day MORE (D-Conn.) and was also signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGOP Massachusetts governor: Trump's compassion 'nowhere to be found' Markey calls Trump 'scum' over comments on George Floyd protests Bipartisan senators call for investigation of TikTok's child privacy policies MORE (D-Mass.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthBiden unveils disability rights plan: 'Your voices must be heard' Warren calls for investigation into OSHA inspections during pandemic Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-Ill), Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive things to watch in Tuesday's primaries Nina Turner responds to Cornel West's remarks about George Floyd COVID-19 pandemic will shrink economy by trillion in next decade: CBO MORE (I-Vt.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Democratic senators urge regulators to investigate Instacart over 'tip baiting' Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-Md.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayCOVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Lack of child care poses major hurdle as businesses reopen Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies MORE (D-Wash.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenGeorge Floyd's death ramps up the pressure on Biden for a black VP Judd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP MORE (D-Mass.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Conservative group launches campaign accusing Democrats of hypocrisy on Kavanuagh, Biden 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 lashes out at Fox News after poll shows him trailing Biden Trump complains Fox News is 'doing nothing to help' him get reelected White House, CDC rift spills into the open 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.