Nancy Pelosi said President Donald Trump conducted a strike against one of Iran’s top military leaders without seeking authorization from Congress, and is now demanding that the White House brief lawmakers on the attack.
On Thursday, the White House confirmed that Trump signed off on an attack at the Baghdad airport that killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force. Soleimani is considered the second in command in Iran and was a beloved military leader, and Iran has now warned that the attack will bring a harsh response.
As NBC News reported, the attack was carried out without the authorization of Congress — or even a heads up to Democratic leaders. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday that he was not briefed on the attack, and Pelosi echoed that sentiment released hours after the attack. Pelosi said Trump failed to seek congressional “authorization for use of military force” and is now calling on Trump to give details.
“Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return,” Pelosi said in a statement late Thursday.
“The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region.”
Many Democrats have spoken out against the attack, while conceding that Soleimani was a dangerous figure and responsible for conflict across the region and campaigns that targeted American troops. Former Vice President Joe Biden said that while Soleimani deserved to be brought to justice, Trump’s attack was not thought out and a “hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region.”
Others have spoken out against the move including Democratic presidential candidates like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
As NBC News noted, Soleimani and Quds Force were believed to be responsible for a series of attacks that left American forces and other coalition forces dead in Iraq, including the December 27 attack that killed a U.S. contractor and left several service members wounded, the Department of Defense said.
It appears the White House is preparing to brief lawmakers on the attack and the potential next steps in the region. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that a briefing was being planned for key Senate staffers followed by a classified briefing for senators, CNN reported.