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

Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceFauci says coronavirus response may look like 'overreaction' but could prevent worst-case scenario Mnuchin expecting 'big' economic rebound later in the year Fauci on airport screening lines: 'We'd like to not see crowds like that' MORE on Sunday grilled White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools 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 IngrahamTrump team fiercely debates how long coronavirus restrictions should stay in place Laura Ingraham on testing anti-malaria drug for coronavirus: 'I'll happily volunteer' Warren makes surprise appearance on 'Saturday Night Live' after dropping out of 2020 race 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 SchiffTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Schiff: Remote voting would not compromise national security Connecticut man accused of threatening to kill Schiff 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.