Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on Friday accused President Donald Trump of dragging the U.S. to the brink of war for political gain following a report that Trump privately admitted he ordered the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani to appease Republican senators who are crucial allies in his upcoming impeachment trial.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that following the drone strike on Soleimani last week, Trump told unspecified associates “he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.”
It was unclear which GOP senators specifically Trump was attempting to satisfy, but the story does cite hawkish Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as proponents of the Soleimani strike.
“Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions based on his own personal political needs.”Sen. Bernie Sanders
Warren and Sanders, both contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, immediately seized upon the reporting as evidence that the president nearly sparked another devastating Middle East war to advance his own political agenda.
“Today’s reporting confirms what I said on Sunday—why did this strike happen on the eve of an impeachment trial?” Warren tweeted. “Trump is taking us to the edge of war for his own political benefit. It’s reckless and dangerous. We must speak out. No war with Iran.”
In a statement, Sanders warned that “once again, we have a president who is pushing us to the edge of war based on false claims.”
“Unbelievably, we find out that Trump himself told people he was under pressure to deal with Soleimani ‘from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate,’ according to the Wall Street Journal,” Sanders said. “Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions based on his own personal political needs.”
“As a United States senator,” Sanders added, “I will do everything I can to rein in this reckless president and prevent a war with Iran. I call on my colleagues to do the same.”
The Journal‘s report comes as the Trump administration continues to face scrutiny over its justification for assassinating Soleimani, who the White House claims was plotting “imminent” attacks against Americans.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted during a Fox News interview Thursday night that the administration doesn’t know when or where the supposed “imminent” attacks were going to take place.
In response to the Journal‘s reporting, Sanders foreign policy adviser Matt Duss tweeted, “The ‘imminent threat’ was impeachment.”