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

Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceYarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' NIH director expects booster shots to be expanded, despite recommendation MORE on Sunday grilled White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien on President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump 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 Ingraham90 percent of full-time Fox Corp. employees say they're fully vaccinated: executive Texas lt. governor faces backlash after claiming unvaccinated African Americans responsible for COVID-19 surge Fox News requires employees to provide vaccination status 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 SchiffJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Schiff: Criminal contempt charges possible for noncooperation in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks 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.