Carbajal Says Threat Posed by Iranian General Not Imminent

Describes Congressional Briefing as Belonging in ‘Hall of Fame for Worst Briefing Ever’

“It was wider than the Grand Canyon,” said Rep. Salud Carbajal, describing the gap in evidence provided to support the strike on Iranian Gen. Soleimani. | Credit: Paul Wellman

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Congressmember Salud Carbajal dismissed as “wholly inadequate” the rationale offered by President Donald Trump to justify the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani two weeks ago in Baghdad, stating no evidence has been presented that Soleimani posed an “imminent threat” to the United States, as required under the War Power Act. Carbajal, a Democrat and a supporter of Trump’s impeachment, was present at the congressional briefing on the attack. In addition, he stated, he read the written justification the administration provided. Neither, he said, came close to making the case for imminence.

“It was wider than the Grand Canyon,” Carbajal said, describing the gap in evidence provided. As far as the congressional briefing itself, he added, “If there was a Hall of Fame for the Worst Briefing Ever, this would have been there.”

He noted that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has since acknowledged there’s no specific evidence supporting Trump’s assertion that Soleimani was planning to launch attacks on four American embassies throughout the Middle East. 

“He’s all over the map,” Carbajal said of Trump. “He’s just making stuff up, going off on a tirade.”

Over the weekend, Esper said that while Trump provided no evidence of an imminent threat, he still believed such attacks were imminent. Esper said he himself shared that belief.

Carbajal voted in favor of a congressional resolution that would limit Trump’s ability to conduct military strikes in Iran without congressional approval, which passed by a vote of 224-194. An identical measure will soon be taken up by the Senate, where its fate is anything but certain. Carbajal voted in favor of a proposal to include similar language in the National Defense Authorization Act, a $700 billion spending bill. That language, however, did not survive in the final bill ​— ​approved by both the House and the Senate. Carbajal voted in favor of that final measure. 

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