Jan 7, 2020

House Foreign Affairs Committee calls Pompeo to testify on Trump admin's Iran policy

Mike Pompeo. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has invited Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify at a meeting on Jan. 14 regarding escalating tensions in Iran, per a release Tuesday.

Why it matters: The meeting will give the Democrat-led committee a chance to question the decision to strike Iraq and ultimately kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, but it is unclear whether Pompeo will attend.

  • Pompeo has been a key spokesperson for the administration in the days following the drone strike, defending the decision by pointing to Soleimani's intentions to attack U.S. diplomats and service members.

What Pompeo's saying:

  • "If you're looking for imminence," Pompeo said Tuesday, "look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani."
  • “Iran has refused to join the regional and international consensus for peace and is, in fact, actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its long global effort to support militant groups there,” he said at a State Department news conference on Tuesday, per Reuters.

Go deeper: The Trump administration's mixed messages on the Soleimani strike

Go deeper

The Trump administration's mixed messages on the Soleimani strike

Pomeo, Esper and Milley conduct a briefing from Mar-a-Lago. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

In the five days since the U.S. stunned the world by killing Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, top officials and the president himself have shared varying pictures of why that decision was made — and what they plan to do next.

Why it matters: Those mixed messages have generated doubt among Americans and allies over the "imminent threat" Soleimani posed, outrage in Tehran over Trump's threat of war crimes, and confusion in Baghdad about a possible U.S. withdrawal.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

Pompeo declines to appear for testimony on Soleimani airstrike

Mike Pompeo on Jan. 10. Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said Monday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declined to attend a committee hearing tomorrow on the Trump administration's decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Why it matters: The administration's mixed messaging on the justification for the airstrike on Soleimani has created doubt among some lawmakers about the "imminent threat" the administration claimed he posed to U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Go deeperArrowJan 13, 2020

Report: U.S. targeted second Iranian official on same day as Qasem Soleimani strike

Trump at a "Keep America Great" rally in Toledo, Ohio on Jan. 9. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. made an unsuccessful attempt to kill a senior Iranian official in Yemen on the same day that top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani was killed in an American airstrike, the New York Times and Washington Post report.

Why it matters: This second operation, targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, could indicate that killing Soleimani "was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans," the Post reports.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020