Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is skeptical of President Donald Trump’s decision to kill top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Baghdad last week, saying it’s only reasonable to ask, “why now?”
“The question we have to focus on is why now, why not a month ago, why not a month from now?” the presidential candidate told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday.
“The answer from the administration seems to be they can’t keep their stories straight on this,” she said, pointing to the White House’s varied explanations for the assassination.
“We heard that it was for an imminent attack, then we heard, no no, it was to prevent any kind of future attack, then we heard from the vice president himself that it was related to 9/11,” she said.
Warren added that Trump has a record of making decisions as president that favor his own political agenda, citing the pressure he put on Ukraine’s president last summer to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden as an example. Trump’s communications with the Ukrainian president led to his impeachment in the House in late December. With his Senate impeachment trial looming, Warren said it’s reasonable to question whether Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani now was meant as a distraction.
His death, she argued, doesn’t make the U.S. any safer but instead “moves us closer to war.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asked the same timing question by Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday, defended the White House’s decision, saying Soleimani was “actively engaged in plotting against American interest.”
“I think any reasonable person who saw the intelligence that the senior American leaders had in their possession would have come to the same conclusion that President Trump and our leadership team did about the fact that there would have been more risk to America, more risk through inaction than there was through the action that we took,” he said.
Pressing back, Wallace pointed out that some U.S. intelligence agents have said there was no threat of an imminent attack and though Soleimani “was doing bad things ... it was another day in the Middle East.”
“Don’t the American people have the right to have some understanding of what it was, why it was urgent to take out Soleimani now?” Wallace said.
“We’ll do everything we can to share this with the American people but I think the American people understand too that there’s certain things that you just can’t put out in public,” Pompeo replied.