Jan 6, 2020

Trump's Air Force One bombast on Iran

Trump talks to the press in the cabin of Air Force One in 2018. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump came in hot during a half-hour conversation with the White House press pool on Air Force One — most of it off the record — as he returned from Mar-a-Lago to Washington on Sunday.

What happened: He repeated his threat against Iranian cultural sites: "They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way."

  • On retaliation from Iran: "If it happens, it happens. If they do anything, there will be major retaliation."
  • On Iraq's move toward expelling U.S. forces: "We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that's there. It cost billions of dollars to build — long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it."
  • On Iraq, an ally: "If they do ask us to leave," we won't do it on "a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It'll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame."

The other side: Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter that the House will this week "introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit" Trump's "military actions regarding Iran":

  • "This action endangered our servicemembers, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran."

How it's playing ...

  • N.Y. Times lead story: "BAGHDAD — The consequences of the American killing of a top Iranian general rippled across the Middle East and beyond on Sunday, with Iran all but abandoning a landmark nuclear agreement and Iraqi lawmakers voting to expel American forces from their country."
  • WashPost lead: "Iran to suspend commitments to '15 nuclear deal"

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump warns he may hit Iraq with sanctions, doubles down on Iran threat

President Trump speaks during a Jan. 3 campaign event in Miami, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One Sunday the U.S. wouldn't leave the joint U.S. air base with Iraq "unless they pay us back," and he doubled down on his threat to target 52 Iranian sites.

If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame."
Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020

Adam Schiff says House should hold open hearings on Iran

Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told the Washington Post Monday that the House should hold open hearings on President Trump's decision to target Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and its ensuing aftermath.

Why it matters: Schiff's suggestion comes after Trump reiterated a threat to Iranian cultural sites as possible retaliation during an Air Force One gaggle with reporters and threatened deep sanctions on Iraq if it moves to limit the U.S. military presence there.

Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020

Trump responds to missile strikes: "Iran appears to be standing down"

President Trump said in a White House address Wednesday that Americans should be "extremely grateful and happy" because Iranian strikes hours earlier resulted in no casualties, and Iran now "appears to be standing down."

Why it matters: Iran's strikes came in retaliation for the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, a stunning event that led to immediate fears of war. Trump defended that decision and announced new sanctions on Iran, but did not signal new military escalation.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020