16/10/2020

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Sunday that he did not se…

Secretary of Defense Mark EsperMark EsperSunday shows preview: Lawmakers mull Trump’s war power, next steps with IranPresident Trump’s strike of choiceOvernight Energy: House passes sweeping bill on ‘forever chemicals’ | Green groups question Pentagon about burning of toxic chemicals | Steyer plan would open US to climate refugeesMORE said on Sunday that he did not see intelligence that supported President Trumps comments that the Iranian commander killed in a U.S. drone strike was plotting attacks against four U.S. embassies. 
Esper said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he shared Trumps view that planning was underway, but did not cite intelligence information he saw to support the claims. 
What the president said was he believed there probably and could’ve been attacks against additional embassies, I shared that view, I know other members of the national security team shared that view, thats why I deployed thousands of American paratroopers to the Middle East to reinforce our embassy in Baghdad and other sites throughout the region, Esper said.
NEWS: @EsperDod tells @margbrennan he “didn’t see” specific evidence showing Iran planned to strike 4 U.S. embassies, despite @realDonaldTrump saying an attack at multiple embassies was imminent.” Watch more of Esper’s interview on @FacetheNation today. pic.twitter.com/1Nud8waok1
Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 12, 2020
He added that Trump did not cite a specific piece of evidence.
Are you saying there wasn’t one?, CBSs Margaret Brennan asked. 
I didn’t see one with regard to four embassies, Esper responded. What Im saying is I share the presidents view. 
Trump told Fox News in an interview that aired Friday that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was plotting against four U.S. embassies before he was targeted. 
Members of Congress have questioned whether the attack was imminent, as administration officials have said in defending their decision to carry out the strike in briefings before lawmakers. 
During an interview on CNNs State of the Union Sunday, Esper similarly defended Trumps comments and said he shared the president’s view that Iran was planning attacks against multiple embassies. 
He did not, however, go so far as to confirm intelligence supported the claim. 
Im not going to discuss intelligence matters on the show, Esper said.
The president did, host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperEx-White House press, military officials call on Grisham to restart regular briefings Schiff calls for open hearings on Trump’s Iran actionsWarren: ‘Reasonable to ask’ about timing of Soleimani strike ahead of impeachment trialMORE responded. 
Esper replied that that is the presidents prerogative. 
When asked if the president is embellishing, Esper said he doesn’t believe so.
At the end of the day, Soleimani was planning an attack against multiple sites, he said, including at least the embassy in Baghdad. 
Esper added that taking [Soleimani] off the battlefield..was the right thing to do.