Defense

McConnell, McCarthy not notified ahead of Baghdadi raid

The top two Republicans on Capitol Hill say they were not notified by the administration ahead of the weekend raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) separately told reporters on Monday that they were not given a heads up — a day after Democrats criticized President Trump for failing to notify them. 
 
{mosads}”I wasn’t, but I was in the similar position when President Obama ordered the attack on Osama bin Laden. I was not called in advance then, nor do I expect to be called in advance now,” McConnell told reporters. 
 
McCarthy separately told CNN that he was not notified in advance but was notified after the fact. A spokesperson for McCarthy confirmed his comments. 
 
McConnell added that the administration reached out to him before the operation went public, but after the raid occurred, but they failed to connect. McConnell was spotted talking with Trump during Sunday night’s World Series baseball game. 
 
“The administration attempted to let me know. I didn’t connect with them before the president’s press conference, but they attempted to let me know before he went public. So the two situations were handled exactly the same from my point of view,” McConnell added. 
 
The disclosure that top members of congressional GOP leadership weren’t notified comes after top Democrats noted on Sunday that Trump failed to give them advanced notice despite being members of the Gang of Eight — the group of lawmakers with the highest access to classified information. 
 

“The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified of in advance, and on the Administration’s overall strategy in the region. Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Sunday. 

 
Trump also didn’t notify House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), another member of the Gang of Eight. 
 

Trump has defended the decision, calling Schiff the “biggest leaker in Washington.”

 

“Well, I guess the only thing is they were talking about why didn’t I give the information to Adam Schiff and his committee,” Trump told reporters on Monday. “And the answer is: Because I think Adam Schiff is the biggest leaker in Washington.”

The president had announced Sunday that some Washington leaders were not kept in the loop for fear of “Washington leaks,” saying “leaks could have caused the death of all of them,” referring to the special operations forces carrying out the operation.

The president did report telling Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) after the raid was successful.

-Rebecca Kheel contributed 

Tags Adam Schiff Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Richard Burr Syria

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