Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Wednesday said the Trump administration provided “no justification whatsoever” during an intelligence briefing on the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
“I just came from the intelligence briefing that the administration came and brought to Congress. Really they provided vague comments, no justification whatsoever for this illegal and unconstitutional act of war that President Trump took,” Gabbard told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”
The Hawaii representative and Democratic presidential candidate’s remarks come after the Trump administration briefed House and Senate lawmakers on Wednesday about the strike that killed Soleimani. President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and top military officials have offered various explanations for targeting Soleimani. Among the explanations was citing an “imminent” threat from Soleimani to carry out a “significant campaign of violence” against the US in the coming days, weeks or months, said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley.
Asked if she believed the imminent threat claim, Gabbard added: “No, they failed to provide any compelling information to prove their point of imminence, and really it brings us to the central question here, which is: Is our country’s national security better off because of Donald Trump’s actions and decision? And the answer to that is, no.”
There is disagreement among lawmakers on the severity of the threat from Soleimani following Wednesday’s Iran briefing and growing skepticism over whether the strike was justified.
Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio echoed Gabbard’s sentiments on Wednesday, saying, “The presentation did not in any way show it was imminent.”
However, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a Republican and Trump ally, said CIA Director Gina Haspel provided a briefing that was “exhaustive in terms of the number of attacks and planned attacks that had been contemplated and why the need for action was necessary.”
CNN’s Zachary Cohen, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb contirbuted to this report.