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Pompeo will be dodging Congress again, this time over ‘imminent’ Iran threats

US President Donald Trump speaks alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) prior to signing a Proclamation on the Golan Heights in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, March 25, 2019, during a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. - US President Donald Trump on Monday signed a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, a border area seized from Syria in 1967. "This was a long time in the making," Trump said alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House. US recognition for Israeli control over the territory breaks with decades of international consensus. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
I ain’t sayin’ nothin about nothin.

The Washington Post reports that once again, ostensible Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks to be dodging an invitation to Congress to explain administration positions on absolutely anything. He’s been asked to testify to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the theoretical “imminent” danger posed by Iranian Maj. Gen. Soleimani, before being assassinated by the United States in an operation apparently pushed by Pompeo himself. It doesn’t look like he’ll be taking the opportunity.

“Right now it looks like he’s not coming,” Rep. Eliot Engel told the Post. “We haven’t heard from him.”

As the Post‘s Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman explain, this is becoming a significantly more important dodge, on Pompeo’s part, with the news that Soleimani was one of two attempted assassinations of Iranian officials on the same day. The second attack, targeting another Quds commander, took place in Yemen on the same day. That makes the Soleimani attack less a target of opportunity or an assassination of a particular terrorist-sympathetic official; it instead appears to have been one prong of a larger U.S. military attack on the Quds Force itself.

While that operation seems to have been larger in scope than Trump’s team was telling the public, however, the rationale for the attack, an alleged “imminent” danger to U.S. forces, has been getting softer by the day. A new Trump claim that four U.S. embassies were being targeted is, according to lawmakers, news to them; the claim wasn’t part of last week’s House and Senate briefings to lawmakers. It’s also news to Trump’s own Secretary of Defense, who was forced to admit on Face the Nation this morning that he “didn’t see” any such evidence.

We know less, in other words, then we did before administration briefed the House and Senate on the justifications for the Soleimani assassination. And that’s exactly the problem that the State Department, which has taken a dominant role on this despite military operations not generally being in their portfolio, might want to be clearing up.

Source: Daily Kos NewsColony: Politics

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