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Top Democrat slams Trump’s ‘false’ justification for assassination of Soleimani

February 15, 2020 - 19:20

Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed on Friday the Trump administration over assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, arguing a new report justifying the attack undermines the argument that the operation was in response to an imminent threat.

“The administration’s explanation in this report makes no mention of any imminent threat and shows that the justification the President offered to the American people was false, plain and simple,” Engel said in a statement, Politico reported.

“To make matters worse, to avoid having to justify its actions to Congress, the administration falsely claims Congress had already authorized the strike under the 2002 Iraq war resolution,” the New York Democrat added. “This legal theory is absurd.”

Congressional Democrats, and even some Republicans, have complained top administration officials haven’t adequately outlined the imminent threat that justified the provocative move of assassinating Soleimani or shown an adequate legal justification.

“This spurious, after-the-fact explanation won’t do,” Engel added of the report.

The Senate on Thursday passed a resolution calling for an end to hostilities against Iran without congressional authorization. In addition to passing a war powers resolution, the House has recently voted to cut off funding for offensive military operations against Iran and to repeal the 2002 Iraq war AUMF.

In an interview with Geo News published on January 25, Engel criticized Trump for beating drums of war against Iran. 

“The United States, frankly, has been involved in too many wars in the last twenty years. And, I think it’s time to back off and not have a perpetual war,” he said.

He also called assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani “an ill-advised action”.

Many members of Congress, including some Republicans, have been pushing the administration for more information about assassination of Soleimani, Reuters reported.

Trump did not inform Congress about the drone strike until after it took place and then, according to many lawmakers, his administration held back too much information about the reason for the strike and its legal justification.

General Soleimani was assassinated in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on January 3.

In a retaliatory move, Iran fired dozens of ballistic missiles at a major U.S. military base in Iraq on January 8.


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