Pelosi says Trump was not upfront with Congress on Iran

By Rishika Dugyala

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that the Trump administration was not “straight with Congress” about its killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani.

When Pelosi told the administration that the "Gang of Eight" — made up of congressional leadership and intelligence committee chiefs and ranking members — should have been informed before the strike, the response was: “We had to keep it close.”

“You had to ‘keep it close'?” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week.” “What you're saying is you don't trust the Congress of the United States with sources and methods and timing?”

“That's wrong. That is wrong.”

Lawmakers have taken offense to the lack of heads up and immediate details from the White House around Soleimani’s killing. After a Wednesday briefing about the strike, Republican Sen. Mike Lee ripped it apart, calling it “the worst briefing I’ve seen — at least on a military issue — in my nine years.”

“They had to leave after 75 minutes while they’re in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public,” the Utah senator said.

On Sunday, Lee said the briefing didn't provide much information that wasn't already public.

"When something like this happens, when events are unfolding quickly, events that will have a profound impact on national security and military strategy, Congress does need to know about it, in part so we can evaluate the scope of our authority to act or choose not to act," Lee said on CNN's "State of the Union." "We didn't get that. And that was disappointing.”

Numerous lawmakers have felt the need to reassert congressional authority, with the House voting Thursday to limit the president’s authority to go to war with Iran without congressional authorization. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has also offered a resolution along those lines.

Pelosi on Sunday reiterated Democratic concerns with President Donald Trump’s justification for killing Soleimani the way he did and when he did.

“Soleimani, who's a terrible person, let's not be confused and the motivations of Iran are bad,” she said. However, she said, the U.S. doesn’t need a war.

The strike has increased turmoil around U.S. foreign policy and military presence in the Middle East. On Saturday, Iran's Revolutionary Guard acknowledged that it accidentally shot down a Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet last week — killing all 176 on board — after launching missile attacks on two Iraqi military bases housing American troops.

Pelosi warned against further escalation. “Unless we've exhausted every other remedy —”

“Which we haven't?” “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos interjected.

“Well, we don't know that. We don't know that.”