Trump Claims Iranian Gen. Soleimani Plotted Attacks Against 4 U.S. Embassies
President Donald Trump claimed on Thursday that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike last week, was plotting to blow up U.S. embassies. He later asserted that he was targeting several embassies abroad.
“We caught a total monster,” Trump told reporters. “We took them out. And that should have happened a long time ago. We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy.”
He added, “We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious. Somebody died … people were badly wounded just a week before.”
Trump was likely referring to a recent rocket attack by Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia group based in Iraq. The attack killed an American contractor and wounded several other Americans serving in the military.
In an interview Friday on Fox News, Trump said he had evidence Soleimani was planning attacks on four embassies.
“I can reveal that I believe it would’ve been four embassies,” he said.
Several lawmakers have criticized the administration’s decision to target Soleimani, and claimed that the briefing they were given failed to demonstrate evidence of any “imminent” threat.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) said “President Trump recklessly assassinated Qassem Soleimani” and that “there was no raw evidence presented [in the briefing] that there was an imminent threat.”
Dem. Rep. Pramila Jayapal says “Pres. Trump recklessly assassinated Qassem Soleimani,” adding “there was no raw evidence presented that there was an imminent threat” in classified congressional briefing. https://t.co/TaLfIwGQYH pic.twitter.com/szN7l0TfhO
— ABC News (@ABC) January 8, 2020
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who attended the briefing, said Wednesday that “most members of Congress do not have access to the intelligence that I think was the most compelling.”