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

Greg Nash
Senate Democrats are requesting a closed-door briefing on the intelligence behind President Trump’s claim that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was planning imminent attacks on U.S. embassies. 

Nine Democrats sent a letter on Tuesday to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on the “specific evidence” behind President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’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 Murphy (D-Conn.) and was also signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (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 Ingraham 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.

Tags Bernie Sanders Chris Murphy Chris Van Hollen Donald Trump Ed Markey Elizabeth Warren Joseph Maguire Laura Ingraham Mazie Hirono Mike Pompeo Patty Murray Tammy Duckworth

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