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Fox's Wallace presses O'Brien on contradiction between Trump threat claims, briefing

Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceRomney: Total figure for Biden coronavirus stimulus is 'pretty shocking' Rubio: Trump impeachment trial is 'stupid' Romney noncommittal on impeachment vote but says trial is likely constitutional MORE on Sunday grilled White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien on President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE’s claim that the U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani to avert an imminent attack on four U.S. embassies, which lawmakers say was never mentioned in a briefing by representatives of the Trump administration.

“It does seem to be a contradiction. He’s telling Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamFox News to revamp daytime programming, replace 7 pm news hour with opinion show Sacking the Capitol proves free speech is in trouble FBI: No evidence antifa involved in Capitol riot MORE [about imminent attacks], but in a 75-minute classified briefing, your top national security people never mentioned this to members of Congress. Why not?” Wallace asked O’Brien on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I wasn’t at the briefing, and I don’t know how the Q&A went back and forth. Sometimes it depends on the questions that were asked or how they were phrased,” O’Brien said.

“It’s always difficult, even with the exquisite intelligence that we have, to know exactly what the targets are, but it’s certainly consistent with the intelligence to assume that they would have hit embassies in at least four countries,” he added.

Wallace also asked O’Brien if Iranian actions in recent months had raised any doubts about the effectiveness of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.

“I think the maximum pressure campaign is working. It’s demonstrable that it’s working. The Iranian economy has contracted by at least 10 percent. We haven’t seen that with a modern economy in many, many years,” O’Brien responded.

“Iran is being choked off. Iran is going to have no choice but to come to the table,” he added.

Wallace also questioned O’Brien on Trump’s claims that Congress’s Gang of Eight was not briefed before the killing of Soleimani because House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffLobbying from the center Glenn Greenwald warns against media censorship amid concerns over domestic terrorism Biden to keep Wray as FBI director MORE (D-Calif.) would have leaked it to the media, asking him if there had ever been a case of congressional Democrats leaking sensitive national security information to the press.

O’Brien declined to give any such examples, instead citing former President Obama’s lack of briefing ahead of the killings of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda-affiliated cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.