During an interview with NBC on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence claimed that the information that supported the Trump administration’s assassination of Iran’s highest-ranking general is “too sensitive” to share with Congress,
Trump ordered a drone strike last week that resulted in the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Trump claimed that he ordered the killing because he had evidence of an “imminent” attack on Americans.
Shortly after Soleimani’s assassination, Nancy Pelosi requested the details of the drone strike from the White House. However, Pence says that the information backing up the Trump administration’s claim of “imminent” danger cannot be shared.
“Some of the most compelling evidence that Qassem Soleimani was preparing an imminent attack against American forces and American personnel also represents some of the most sensitive intelligence that we have,” Pence stated. “It could compromise those sources and methods.”
Pence was not just responding to just Pelosi’s request, but also the fiery statements made after a briefing by Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee. Lee told the media the briefing was “devoid of substance” as well as “insulting and demeaning.”
It was “probably the worst briefing, at least on a military issue, I’ve seen in my nine years” in the Senate, Lee stated.
It is commonplace for classified and often sensitive information to be shared with the members of Congress, Sen Tammy Duckworth noted.
“It could have been presented to fewer senators on the appropriate committees, or with more identifying source information eliminated,” Duckworth stated while appearing on CNN.
“They refused to do even that,” Duckworth noted. “They could not address” the issue of the imminence of an Iranian attack on a U.S. target, she said before adding, “They showed nothing to us that we couldn’t see in the media.”
Duckworth added that the attitude Congress got from the White House was “You’re just going to have to go along with what we say. That’s not how our system of checks and balances works.”
Trump’s administration was supposed to prove to Congress that the attack was legal. The White House’s refusal to provide intelligence leaves them only the word of Trump, which many do not see as trustworthy. According to several media sources that have been keeping tabs on Trump’s lies he has made more than 15,000 misleading claims or outright lies since taking office.
Pence went on to claim that the White House was made aware of the intelligence “in real-time” and that he knows Trump “made the right decision.”
Trump responded to Lee’s criticism by stating, “I get along great with Mike Lee. I’ve never seen him like that.”
Trump went on to claim that “numerous senators and numerous congressmen and women” told him that the briefing on the attack was “the greatest presentation they’ve ever had.” Trump was not willing to name the lawmakers who supposedly told him that.