After Days of Claiming Soleimani Posed “Imminent” Threat to US, Trump Finally Declares “It Doesn’t Really Matter”
“If this is the case, then nothing matters.”
By Julia Conley
After NBC News reported that President Donald Trump approved the assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani last June—undercutting administration claims that Soleimani was targeted for a drone strike because of an immediate threat—the president claimed his rationale for unilaterally killing a foreign leader was irrelevant if he deemed the assassination necessary.
Trump concluded several tweets about his impeachment, the 2020 presidential campaign, and other topics by reiterating his administration’s claim that Soleimani posed an “imminent” threat to the U.S., but added that “it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past.”
The Fake News Media and their Democrat Partners are working hard to determine whether or not the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was “imminent” or not, & was my team in agreement. The answer to both is a strong YES., but it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2020
“In one tweet, Trump is blowing apart his administration’s rationale for killing Soleimani,” tweeted Washington Post national intelligence reporter Shane Harris.
Administration officials have spent more than a week making various claims about the danger Soleimani posed, including that he was plotting to bomb U.S. embassies—a claim with Defense Secretary Mark Esper wouldn’t confirm on record Sunday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo openly mocked reports from Iraq’s prime minister that Soleimani was in Baghdad at the time of his killing to discuss easing tensions with Saudi Arabia.
But a White House briefing last week in which officials shared intelligence about so-called “imminent” threats posed by Soleimani was condemned as “insulting” and “utterly unconvincing” by members of Trump’s own party.
On social media, some observers wrote that Trump’s phrasing of his tweet on Monday could be applied to many of his decisions and his treatment of the truth.
“It doesn’t really matter,” tweeted MSNBC political analyst Richard Stengel. “He’s not saying that just about Soleimani, but about the truth. Those who lie for Trump are then undercut by him.”
“If this is the case, then nothing matters,” added anti-Trump activist Andrew Wortman. “He can assassinate anyone anywhere and bring us to the brink of war for no reason and face no accountability.”
Trump says “It doesn’t really matter” if Soleimani posed an imminent threat. If this is the case, then nothing matters. He can assassinate anyone anywhere and bring us to the brink of war for no reason and face no accountability. https://t.co/DoDAqMoOCv
— Andrew Wortman (@AmoneyResists) January 13, 2020
All that lying about the justification for killing Soleimani and then trump just tweets out the confirmation that they were all lying but it doesn’t matter because when you govern under the doctrine of nothing matters then nothing matters. pic.twitter.com/589AQiJ7hb
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) January 14, 2020
This should be world shaking news.
In Trumplandia, it barely merits a glance.
A Narrative Collapses as Trump Tweets: ‘It Doesn’t Really Matter’ https://t.co/xO3KtEe9cD
— Annie Gabston-Howell- (@AnnieGabstonH) January 14, 2020
The unraveling of the White House narrative about Soleimani’s assassination was reminiscent of Trump’s treatment of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. After spending weeks assuring the public that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with the killing, the president finally told reporters, “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t… In any case, our relationship is with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
A recent USA Today/Ipsos poll found that 52% of respondents view the killing of Soleimani as “reckless.”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
‘Completely Lawless President’: Trump Reportedly Tried to Kill Another Top Iranian Commander on Same Day as Soleimani
“Multiple strikes on top IRGC officials is starting a war. These were decapitation strikes.”
By Jake Johnson
The Trump administration reportedly tried and failed to assassinate a senior Iranian military official in Yemen on the same day it killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani with a drone strike in Baghdad last week, nearly sparking a full-blown regional war.
The Washington Post reported Friday that U.S. forces carried out a “top secret mission” targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-level commander of Iran’s Quds Force. According to the Post, the U.S. launched a strike against Shahlai in Yemen but it was unsuccessful for unknown reasons.
According to the Post:
The Trump administration views Shahlai as a particularly potent adversary.
The State Department offered a $15 million reward last month for information leading to Shahlai and the disruption of [the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’] financial mechanisms. The announcement said that Shahlai is based in Yemen and has a “long history of involvement in attacks targeting the U.S. and our allies, including in the 2011 plot against the Saudi ambassador” at an Italian restaurant in Washington.
Critics said the Post reporting undermines the Trump administration’s claim that it assassinated Soleimani due to an “imminent threat” to American interests—and indicates the general’s killing was part of what was meant to be a far more sweeping effort to damage the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“This suggests a mission with a longer planning horizon and a larger objective, and it really does call into question why there was an attempt to explain this publicly on the basis of an imminent threat,” Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at the Brookings Institution think tank, told the Post.
If this operation had succeeded, how was this administration going to claim that an IRGC commander in Yemen of all places – was an "imminent" threat to Americans?https://t.co/B6sAQsv7wM
— Alex Emmons (@AlexEmmons) January 10, 2020
Multiple strikes on top IRGC officials is starting a war. These were decapitation strikes. All the claims about an imminent threat are bullshit pretext. https://t.co/ynGPU2BWcO
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) January 10, 2020
The Post reported that the strikes on Soleimani and Shahlai were approved at around the same time but the latter was not disclosed because “it did not go according to plan.” One senior official told the Post that Shahlai “may be targeted in the future.”
“If we had killed him, we’d be bragging about it that same night,” another official told the Post, referring to the night the U.S. assassinated Soleimani.
News of an attempted second U.S. strike comes after legal experts and members of Congress condemned the assassination of Soleimani as a violation of both U.S. and international law. On Thursday night, the House of Representatives passed a War Powers Resolution aimed at barring Trump from taking military action against Iran without congressional approval.
“Congress has not authorized military action against Iran,” Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), tweeted in response to the Post story. “This is a completely lawless president.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s hawkish Iran policies, said “Congress needs answers” to serious questions raised by the new reporting.
“What was the full extent of the Trump administration’s plans to kill Iranian officials?” Khanna tweeted. “How does the attempted killing in Yemen have anything to do with an imminent threat?”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Was ‘Imminent Threat’ His Impeachment? Trump Reportedly Admitted Soleimani Killed to Appease GOP Senators
Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both seized upon the report as evidence that Trump nearly sparked a catastrophic war for political gain.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on Friday accused President Donald Trump of dragging the U.S. to the brink of war for political gain following a report that Trump privately admitted he ordered the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani to appease Republican senators who are crucial allies in his upcoming impeachment trial.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that following the drone strike on Soleimani last week, Trump told unspecified associates “he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.”
It was unclear which GOP senators specifically Trump was attempting to satisfy, but the story does cite hawkish Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as proponents of the Soleimani strike.
“Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions based on his own personal political needs.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Warren and Sanders, both contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, immediately seized upon the reporting as evidence that the president nearly sparked another devastating Middle East war to advance his own political agenda.
“Today’s reporting confirms what I said on Sunday—why did this strike happen on the eve of an impeachment trial?” Warren tweeted. “Trump is taking us to the edge of war for his own political benefit. It’s reckless and dangerous. We must speak out. No war with Iran.”
Today's reporting confirms what I said on Sunday—why did this strike happen on the eve of an impeachment trial? Trump is taking us to the edge of war for his own political benefit. It's reckless and dangerous. We must speak out. No war with Iran. https://t.co/4C1ioLVBm8 pic.twitter.com/3hHMmFUWWv
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 10, 2020
In a statement, Sanders warned that “once again, we have a president who is pushing us to the edge of war based on false claims.”
“Unbelievably, we find out that Trump himself told people he was under pressure to deal with Soleimani ‘from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate,’ according to the Wall Street Journal,” Sanders said. “Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions based on his own personal political needs.”
“As a United States senator,” Sanders added, “I will do everything I can to rein in this reckless president and prevent a war with Iran. I call on my colleagues to do the same.”
The Journal‘s report comes as the Trump administration continues to face scrutiny over its justification for assassinating Soleimani, who the White House claims was plotting “imminent” attacks against Americans.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted during a Fox News interview Thursday night that the administration doesn’t know when or where the supposed “imminent” attacks were going to take place.
In response to the Journal‘s reporting, Sanders foreign policy adviser Matt Duss tweeted, “The ‘imminent threat’ was impeachment.”Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.