A top Pentagon official indicated Tuesday that he did not know where President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE had heard details of the raid against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which the president shared at a news conference.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters at a press conference Monday that he assumed Trump had heard details of al-Baghdadi's demeanor during the raid, which Trump described over the weekend as "whimpering and crying" in "panic" as a result of U.S. forces closing in from U.S. commanders on the ground.
“I know the president had planned to talk down to the unit and unit members,” Milley said. “But I don’t know what the source of that was. I assume it was talking directly to unit and unit members.”
Milley added that he had not heard the same reports himself, becoming the second Pentagon official to cast doubt on the veracity of Trump's claims about the terrorist leader in just two days after Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Milley and China — what the Senate really needs to know Biden, Trump battle over who's to blame for Afghanistan MORE said he did not have the same "details" of the raid shared by Trump.
Gen. Mark A. Milley on Trump's claim that ISIS leader was "whimpering and crying" before his death: "I don't know what the source of that was." pic.twitter.com/DVDuG7DdLY— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 28, 2019
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment to The Hill on how Trump knew of al-Baghdadi's emotional state during the U.S. attack.
Al-Baghdadi's death marked a major setback for ISIS, which experts have warned could see a resurgence in areas now fought over by Turkish-backed and Kurdish-led forces in northeastern Syria, where thousands of ISIS fighters are held.
The president's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from this region earlier this month ahead of Turkey's military action was widely criticized on Capitol Hill, both for its effect on the campaign against ISIS as well as for the U.S.'s decision not to protect Kurdish forces that previously assisted the U.S. coalition against the insurgent group.