Schumer wants more information about killing of Iranian military leader

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
By Rishika Dugyala

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday said the reasons for the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani “don’t seem very clear.”

On ABC’s “This Week,” Schumer said President Donald Trump’s decision-making process, which didn’t include consulting Congress, was highly unusual. Other leaders he's served with have at least "called ahead of time," Schumer said.

The White House did notify Congress on Saturday of its military activities that killed Soleimani, as required under the 1973 War Powers Act. But lawmakers were frustrated by the lack of detail and the administration’s secrecy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday that it "raises more questions than it answers."

“President Obama had an opportunity to take out Soleimani. They didn't. We don’t know the reasons that it had to be done now — they don’t seem very clear,” Schumer said.

“The document they sent us last night is very unsatisfying as to that,” he added. “Even though I can’t talk about it because the whole thing is classified.”

On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the early Friday attack that killed the leader of Iran’s elite paramilitary forces at Baghdad airport made the world “a safer place” and reduced risk. Pompeo said on ABC: “We have all the authority we need to do what we have done to date.”

Schumer disagreed, pointing to a need for Congress to serve as a check on Trump, who is “doing so many wrong things” that could impulsively get the U.S. into another major war. The Democrat labeled Trump’s foreign policy overall — in Syria, North Korea, Russia — as “erratic and unsuccessful.”

"I really worry that the actions the president took will get us into what he calls another 'endless war' in the Middle East," Schumer said. "He promised we wouldn't have that. And I think we're closer to that now because of his actions."