Skip to comments.Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran
Posted on 05/15/2019 7:39:35 PM PDT by be-baw
Frustrated Senate Republicans say the Trump administration has largely kept them in the dark about a possible military confrontation with Iran.
What GOP lawmakers already know, however, has them on edge. Trump has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group, a Patriot missile defense battery and an Air Force bomber task force to the Middle East, while the State Department has ordered a partial evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
A few legislators have received briefings, but many can only guess at the extent of the threat and where a ramp up in combat forces may lead.
I dont think its fair for us to walk around wondering, said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the Senates leading voices on global security issues.
Graham, the chairman of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, said hes concerned about the evacuation of personnel from the Baghdad embassy given the regular attacks that facility endured during the height of the Iraq War.
Were clearly moving people, he said. This is a big deal.
We had people there during the height of the war, he added of his experience at the Baghdad embassy. I was there a bunch of time getting rocketed. If we could stay in operation then, it must be some kind of real threat.
Republican senators say they dont know whether Trump is really contemplating the deployment of 120,000 troops to the Middle East to deter attacks by Iranian-backed militants, which The New York Times first reported on Tuesday.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is up for reelection next year in a state Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016, said he wants more information from the administration and is worried the conflict with Iran could escalate.
There should be more briefings. I think we should have that sooner rather later. Ive talked to the administration about that, he said, referring to conversations he had in the previous 24 hours.
Gardner, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that lawmakers dont have an administration assessment on news reports that Iranian proxies were given the green light to attack U.S. personnel in the Middle East.
Asked if he was worried about a rapid escalation of military hostilities, Gardner responded, Anytime youre dealing with a regime like Iran that has painted death to America on missiles that have killed American soldiers throughout the Middle East, its a grave concern.
One alarming scenario is that Saudi Arabia, which is waging a military campaign in Yemens civil war, could launch a retaliatory attack against Iran and draw U.S. troops into a regional conflict. Saudi officials stated Tuesday that Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are backed by Iran, have carried out multiple drone attacks on Saudi oil pumping stations.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said, Im always leery to get us more heavily involved anywhere. If were going to go to war somewhere, Congress ought to approve it.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he has warned the administration that it does not have congressional approval to go to war with Iran.
I think its important that the administration know that they do not have the permission of Congress to go with Iran. The Constitution is very clear. Congress must declare war. I told the administration that today in our hearing. We had the undersecretary for policy from State. We want to be very clear to them they dont have the prerogative to go to war without our authority, he said.
Republicans said they asked last week for an all-senators briefing, but it wasnt possible because of Secretary of State Mike Pompeos trip to Brussels and Sochi, Russia. Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sochi Wednesday, Pompeo said the United States wants Iran to behave like a normal country but warned that U.S. forces will respond if American interests come under attack.
Lawmakers have questions about the intelligence the Trump administration is using to justify the military deployment, which Britain, a close military ally, has called into doubt.
A senior British military official told reporters Tuesday that he did not see an increased risk of attack from Iran or connected militant groups. Major Gen. Chris Ghika, the deputy commander of a U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS, told The New York Times that there has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria.
GOP lawmakers say they are more inclined to trust American intelligence sources but feel frustrated that the administration hasnt shared their information with the vast majority of them.
We know that we need to have the most accurate intelligence available, that we can determine, that we can arrive at, before we make any decisions about the use of military force. We know that from history. We know that just as a practical matter, said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).
He called for senators to have a full briefing, arguing, I think theres a lot more to be known before decisions are made.
A congressional official said the Gang of Eight, a group that includes the top Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and House and the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence committees, will get a briefing on Iran Thursday.
A briefing of the entire Senate is expected next week, though some Republicans contend that could be too late given the speed at which events are moving in the Middle East.
My understanding is there will be [a briefing] by early next week, but I dont know where were going to be by early next week. I hope Im wrong, we could be full blown into this thing. Its a much more urgent situation than I think is being reflected. Im surprised there isnt more talk about it, said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Ive been here eight years, this is by far the single most imminent potential conflict of this significance, Rubio added. I pray that it changes. I dont want us to have a war in that region. I hope it doesnt happen that way, but we have to respond if attacked.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is calling on acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and the Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to testify before the Armed Services Committee in an open hearing before the end of the week.
Democrats say they have been kept adequately informed.
You cant make foreign policy and national security decisions while flying in the blind. And right now because of the administrations unwillingness to come and brief members of the Senate, particularly to the committees of national security of which Foreign Relations is one, thats what were doing flying in the blind, said Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said he received a briefing from administration officials on the Iran threat but acknowledged many of his colleagues have not been kept up to speed.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the American people need to be told why the administration is moving an aircraft carrier group, bombers and other assets into harms way and warned of a repeat of the military buildup that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Theres a saying that history doesnt repeat, but it rhymes. The talk about secret information concerning Irans aggressive while refusing to give us information certainly smacks of Iraq, he added.
Schumer also drew a comparison to Iraq on the Senate floor.
The lessons of history teach us that when things are done in secret, behind closed doors, mistakes can be made and momentum built for a course of action that the nation ultimately regrets, he said.
Saber rattling. From time immemorial this has been a tactic employed in the art of diplomacy, and is meant to convey the total seriousness of the situation.
Iran has just been a little TOO bold in some of their forays, and up to now, not much pushback.
Sorry Senator Graham. President Trump is performing his Constitutional duty as Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. That is an exclusive duty in which Congress has absolutely no part.
He doesn’t work for Congress.
This has all the markings of a flex and nothing more. It’s like when we bombed an empty parking lot in Syria because Animal Assad had “gassed his own people like you know who.” Meanwhile, neocons don’t need their Viagra for a couple of weeks.
The lessons of history teach us that when things are done in secret, behind closed doors, mistakes can be made and momentum built for a course of action that the nation ultimately regrets.” Schmucky Schumer
Really Schmucky. Seriously. Kind of like your failed coup against the president!
The Iran tar baby belongs to S.A. and the IDF.
When THEY win —with ZERO US troops— I’ll be really happy.
And really happy the US economy is perking along, right along with DJT’s re-election chances.
What the hell are Trump and Bolton doing?
I had no idea I was voting for W Bush or McCain in 2016.
I’m fine with tariffs on China.
I’m fine with Korean reunification.
I’m fine with telling House Democrats to “pound sand”.
I’m not fine with pissing away anymore blood & treasure in the Middle East.
All of the listed senators leak information and would gladly tell Iran we were (or not) serious about it.
“What the hell are Trump and Bolton doing?”
It could be they’re investing assets now so they don’t have to invest more assets later. At least that’s what I’d like to think.
Unfrustrated GOP Senators have been known to leak like a high-capacity shower. Better to keep them frustrated with nothing to leak.
Iran is a puppet of Russia. They fully have their back.
Bolton wants war. No doubt about it. Not his call, but if he could provoke an "incident" …
Republican senators are only slightly less hostile to the Trump administration than Democrats, and they whine that Trump doesn’t kowtow to them. Here’s a clue, support your president, and he will help you do so.
Trump will NEVER make a move on Iran, he will instead have Israel do the dirty work!!! I cant help but think that the Obammie clan is responsible for the mischief going on with Iran!!! NO WAY will Trump move on Iran NO WAY, Bolton never saw a war he didnt like BUT Trump will not be pulled in by him!!! Trump is not going to congress BECAUSE there is nothing to go to congress about!!!
As long as it doesn’t lead to nation building.
I will cross my fingers and hope it just “sabre rattling”.
Our nation’s finances can’t afford this.
Oh relax. Trump has made it very clear. Trump is not an interventionist. We will know if he wants to do something
Trump is putting pressure on Iran
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.