GOP Sen. Mike Lee ridicules Trump administration's 'insulting' Soleimani briefing, backs Democrats' war powers resolution

Tim O'Donnell

Do not count Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) among the GOP lawmakers pleased with the Trump administration's classified briefing Wednesday on the U.S. strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week.

Lee was apparently furious after witnessing the closed-door discussions about the justification of the strike and Washington's next steps amid heightened tensions with Tehran. The senator called the briefing "insulting" and said it was the worst he's heard on a military issue since becoming a senator in 2011. Before he went into the briefing room, Lee said, he wasn't sure if he was going to back a Senate Democrat-backed war powers resolution led by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), but the meeting convinced him to throw his weight behind it. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will reportedly join Lee in backing the measure, as well.

The administration officials, Lee said, refused to push back on anything regarding Iran out of fear that dissension in the White House ranks would send the wrong signal to the public. That attempt to squash any form of public debate seemed to be thing that really set Lee over the edge.

The senator, though, said he didn't want to comment on any individuals he grew frustrated with during the meeting until he speaks directly with President Trump. But, ultimately, he said he went in with a "lot of questions," and exited without any answers.

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