Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), an Independent who left the Republican Party last year, said Sunday that President Trump‘s claim that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was plotting attacks against four U.S. embassies “seems to be totally made up.”
“The administration didn’t present evidence to Congress regarding even one embassy,” Amash tweeted.
“And they have never presented evidence of imminence—a necessary condition to act without congressional approval—with respect to any of this,” he added, referencing Trump administration officials’ justification for launching an airstrike that killed Soleimani.
The administration didn’t present evidence to Congress regarding even one embassy. The four embassies claim seems to be totally made up. And they have never presented evidence of imminence—a necessary condition to act without congressional approval—with respect to any of this. https://t.co/Eg0vaCnqFd
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 12, 2020
Senior administration officials have said that Soleimani posed an imminent threat to American lives but have not offered details on that position. Trump told Fox News on Friday that he believed four embassies, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, was being targeted.
Amash’s statements came just hours after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he had not seen any “specific evidence” that supported Trump’s claim that Iran was planning attacks on four embassies. Rather, Esper argued that Trump’s position was that “there probably and could’ve been attacks against additional embassies.”
“I shared that view. I know other members of the national security team shared that view. That’s why I deployed thousands of American paratroopers to the Middle East to reinforce our embassy in Baghdad and other sites throughout the region,” Esper said, adding that Trump did not cite a “specific piece of evidence.”
Pressed on whether there was specific evidence, Esper said that he did not see any. He added that administration officials “do not expect any further attacks.”
Trump’s decision to order a drone strike that killed Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been met with heavy scrutiny from members of Congress. Many lawmakers have denounced the administration over the lack of information provided to them on the attack.
“I was at the classified briefing because I’m both an Armed Services and Foreign Relations member. That wasn’t told to us in the classified briefing, nor was there a suggestion that multiple embassies were threatened,” Kaine said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Lee, who previously labeled the briefing “insulting,” added on Sunday that the briefing was “not helpful” for lawmakers.