Trump’s defense secretary admits he ‘didn’t see’ evidence about Soleimani planning attacks against US embassies
President Donald Trump warned that Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani was planning “imminent” attacks against Americans, but his own defense secretary seems to be unable to back this claim.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper revealed in a Sunday interview with ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS that he “didn’t see” specific evidence that supported the president’s claim that Soleimani was planning attacks on four US embassies, which Trump touted in a Friday interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
“The president said that he believed that there probably could have been attacks against additional embassies,” Esper said to host Margaret Brennan. “I shared that view. I know other members of the national security team shared that view.”
“‘Probably and could have been,’ that is — that sounds more like an assessment than a specific tangible threat with a decisive piece of intelligence,” Brennan replied.
“Well, the president didn’t say there was a tangible — he didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence,” Esper said.
Asked if there was any specific evidence, Esper then replied, “I didn’t see one with regard to four embassies. What I’m saying is I shared the president’s view that probably, my expectation is they were going to go after our embassies.”
Esper later told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the president never claimed to have “specific evidence” of the imminent attacks he has warned Americans about.Also on rt.com Evidence? What evidence? Pompeo shows no proof of ‘imminent’ Soleimani attacks
The administration’s shaky reasoning for Soleimani’s assassination has earned them plenty of heat, with some saying they can’t “keep their story straight.”
“The public justification for this action has been all over the place from the beginning. They cannot keep their story straight. They’re just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Admitting it was an ideological revenge killing would be much more honest,” journalist Mike Tracey tweeted in response to Esper’s ‘Face the Nation’ interview.
The public justification for this action has been all over the place from the beginning. They cannot keep their story straight. They’re just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Admitting it was an ideological revenge killing would be much more honest. https://t.co/teXdtJmwwR— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 12, 2020
Utah Senator Mike Lee similarly criticized the administration in a CNN interview where he said it’s “frustrating” to have the president warn of “imminent” attacks, but to get “no details” about said attacks or the evidence behind the claims.
“I believe that the briefers and the President believe that they had a basis for concluding that there was an imminent attack... It’s just frustrating to be told that and not get the details behind it.” - GOP @SenMikeLee about intel on the strike against Soleimani. #CNNSOTUpic.twitter.com/Tjn82vLSGa— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 12, 2020
Others saw it as the latest example of Trump lying.
The Defense Secretary get the PDB. If he didn’t see that intelligence, it doesn’t exist. https://t.co/86PiZyZzgo— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 12, 2020
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also recently failed to provide any concrete evidence about the potential danger of Soleimani when he spoke to the press. Pompeo insisted Trump was given “multiple pieces of information” in regard to “imminent” dangers against the US, but he failed to detail what that information was.
Despite struggling to explain the “imminence” of the situation, Pompeo insisted “we got it right” with the assassination. He also insisted that, “If you’re looking for imminence, you needn’t look no further than the days that lead up to the strike.”
A reporter just asked Pompeo if he can provide specific evidence of the imminent threat that led to Soleimani’s assassination.And he has absolutely nothing. These men want to lie us into war, again. pic.twitter.com/pekTrsSEqR— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) January 7, 2020
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