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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.

The big picture: President Trump said in an interview with Fox News last week that the U.S. preemptively killed Soleimani because he was planning "immediate" attacks on "probably" four U.S. embassies.

  • On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he "didn't see" specific evidence that Iran was targeting four embassies, but that he shared the president's belief that additional embassies besides the one in Baghdad could be attacked.

Details: Instead of sitting for testimony, Pompeo will be in California attending meetings with U.S., Japanese and South Korean technology companies and delivering remarks at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, according to the State Department.

  • A State Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

What they're saying:

"I am disappointed and frustrated that Secretary Pompeo will not appear before the committee tomorrow. Each passing day raises new questions about the strike that killed General Soleimani. Was there really an imminent threat?" Was it part of a larger operation? What was the legal justification? What is the path forward? With the wildly muddled explanations coming from the administration, the Secretary should welcome the opportunity to make the case and answer questions before the American people. The committee expects to hear from him soon.
— Chairman Engel

Go deeper:

Go deeper

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Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.