Pompeo to testify on Iran in February

Pompeo to testify on Iran in February
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS to label white supremacist group as terrorist organization for first time Trump administration eyes Afghan security forces funding for aid cut: report Trump says 40,000 Americans have been repatriated who were stranded abroad MORE is expected to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on U.S. policy in Iran before the end of the month, the chairman of the committee told The Hill.

Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID Lawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interference Democrats press Pompeo to help Americans stranded abroad amid coronavirus MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the committee charged with oversight of U.S. foreign policy, said he expects the secretary to appear before the committee by the end of February after missing a scheduled hearing on January 29.

“We expect him to come, expect him to come at the end of the month,” Engel said. “We’re working out the details.”

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It will mark the first time lawmakers can publicly question the secretary over the killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, an action that brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war. 

Over 100 U.S. service members in Iraq were injured in retaliatory strikes launched by Tehran in the days after Soleimani’s death, and 176 civilians were killed when the Islamic republic mistakenly downed a Ukrainian passenger jet leaving the Iranian capital.

The confrontation has thrown into question the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq and its mission in the coalition to counter and prevent a resurgence of ISIS.

Congressional lawmakers have received multiple private briefings on U.S. policy towards Iran and in Iraq following the Soleimani killing, but Republicans and Democrats have split along party lines over the justification of the strike.

Soleimani was the leader of the Quds Force and responsible for Iran's proxy fighting forces in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Gaza Strip.

The administration argues the Soleimani strike was launched to prevent an “imminent” attack on American interests. President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE has suggested the general was planning a large-scale attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

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Democrats charge the administration failed to make a case that an attack was imminent and that the strike was launched without a clear strategy.

Pompeo failed to show for a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Jan. 29, and Engel said at the time the secretary committed to appearing before the committee.

“I asked him to come to talk to us about Iran policy,” Engel told the Hill on Wednesday. “We had hearings on that with witnesses; we wanted him there then, he didn’t come.”

He added he expects the secretary to appear before the committee twice, once on Iran policy and then to explain the State Department's budget for 2021.

“So we expect him to come in February on Iraq, and expect him to come in March on the budget, Engel said.