The latest on the US-Iran crisis

46 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:38 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Trump apparently furious over war powers vote, sources say

President Trump is said to be furious over the House vote on the Iran War Powers resolution, according to multiple people who have spoken with him. 

About the vote: The House voted earlier tonight to approve a resolution aimed at restraining the President's ability to use military action against Iran without congressional approval.

The vote was 224-194. Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Francis Rooney of Florida crossed party lines to vote in favor while Democratic Reps. Max Rose of New York, Ben McAdams of Utah, Anthony Brindisi of New York, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Stephanie Murphy of Florida voted against the resolution.

8:20 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Trump claims Soleimani planned attacks on "multiple embassies"

President Trump claimed tonight that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was planning attacks on multiple US embassies. 

"Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad," Trump said. "But we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly, and we stopped him cold." 

The President said earlier that Soleimani was "looking to blow up our embassy." A senior defense official said later Thursday the US had intelligence that there was a plot to attack the embassy involving explosives, one of multiple plots that Soleimani was working on prior to the US targeting him in a drone strike.

8:10 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Fact-checking Trump's claims on the Iran deal

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Criticizing the Iran deal negotiated under the Obama administration, President Trump made two false claims at his rally in Ohio tonight.

Here's what he said:

"The Obama administration enabled and emboldened the Iranian regime," Trump said. "They gave Iran $150 billion including $1.7 billion in hard cold cash.

Facts First: The “$150 billion” Trump referenced was not US government money but actually Iranian money frozen in foreign financial institutions because of sanctions – and experts say the total was significantly lower than $150 billion.

The Obama administration did send Iran $1.7 billion to settle a decades-old dispute over a purchase of US military goods Iran made before its government was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

"Iran nuclear deal financed Iranian aggression while allowing a quick path to nuclear breakout," Trump said. He added, "And by the way it expires so soon."

Facts First: Some central provisions of the nuclear agreement with Iran, which was signed in 2015, were written to expire in the next 10 to 15 years. But the deal as a whole – including a blanket prohibition on Iran developing nuclear weapons – was written to continue in perpetuity.

You can read more on Trump's false claims about Iran here.

8:10 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Pompeo does not mention plot to blow up embassy when describing planned attacks

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made no mention of a plan to “blow up” the US Embassy in Baghdad in an interview today, instead referring to the intelligence community assessment that it was “a big attack.” 

“It was going to be against the United States of America, likely in the region. We can’t say much more than that, but the American people should know there was an attack. It was in the planning stages, but we had seen Qasem Soleimani be able to deliver on this kind of plan before,” he said on “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

Asked about the imminence of the attacks, Pompeo said they saw “days and weeks where the next set of plots was being planned, so this was right on top of us, and this opportunity was fleeting.” 

Earlier today: President Trump said that the Iranians were planning to “blow up our embassy." Trump's statement was backed up by a senior defense official today who said the US had intelligence about multiple plots and threats involving Soleimani, including one that involved a plan to attack the embassy using explosives.

Neither official provided more details about the plot and earlier today, administration officials had explained Trump's comments about the plot to blow up the US embassy by saying he was referring to the public demonstrations by Khatib Hezbollah.

7:46 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Trump calls response to the US embassy attack "the anti-Benghazi"

President Trump touted the response to the US Embassy attack as the “anti-Benghazi" at a rally in Ohio tonight.

“This was the anti-Benghazi. We got there very quickly,” Trump said to the audience. “We did it exactly the opposite of Benghazi.”

Trump added: "Had they broken the final plate of glass, there would have been hundreds of deaths.”

The President began his comments referring to Iran’s Qasem Soleimani as a “sadistic mass murderer” who brought “death destruction and mayhem” to the world.

“He’s no longer a terror — he’s dead," Trump said.

“If you threaten our citizens, you do so at your own great peril,” Trump said earlier in the rally.

7:16 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

White House on Iran War Powers resolution: "These congressional actions are completely misguided"

The White House just issued a statement on the House passing a War Powers resolution tonight, calling the action "completely misguided."

The resolution is aimed at restraining the President's ability to use military action against Iran without congressional approval.

“The President has the right and duty to protect this nation and our citizens from terrorism. That’s what he continues to do, and the world is safer for it," deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said.

Gidley continued: “This House resolution tries to undermine the ability of the U.S. Armed Forces to prevent terrorist activity by Iran and its proxies, and attempts to hinder the President’s authority to protect America and our interests in the region from the continued threats. These Congressional actions are completely misguided. In fact, this ridiculous resolution is just another political move because, under well-established Supreme Court precedent, it’s non-binding and lacks the force of law."

“President Trump’s decision to strike Qasem Soleimani, the world’s leading terrorist, was the right course of action and authorized under his constitutional powers as commander in chief and chief executive as well as the 2002 authorization for use of military force," Gidley added.

6:24 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

House approves Iran War Powers resolution to limit military action against Iran

House TV
House TV

The House of Representatives have approved the Iran War Powers resolution.

The vote was 224 to 194.

The resolution is aimed at restraining the President’s ability to use military action against Iran without congressional approval. 

Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz, Thomas Massie and Francis Rooney crossed party lines to vote in favor while Democratic Reps. Max Rose, Ben McAdams, Anthony Brindisi, Joe Cunningham, Elaine Luria, Josh Gottheimer, Kendra Horn and Stephanie Murphy voted against the resolution.

Now that the resolution has passed the House, it will go to the Senate next.

What you need to know about the resolution: The structure of the House resolution is unique, however, calling into question whether it is actually legally binding. It was introduced as a concurrent resolution, a type of resolution often used for "sense of Congress" bills. They don't go to the President for a signature, and they aren't legally binding.

But House Democrats are arguing that concurrent resolutions under the War Powers Act are a special case, and they are legally binding. Republicans, however, say the resolution is not binding. 

Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, a former CIA analyst and freshman Democrat, is the sponsor of the resolution, which calls on the President "to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran" unless Congress declares war or enacts "specific statutory authorization" for the use of armed forces.

5:58 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

US had intel that Soleimani plotted to attack its embassy with explosives, defense official says

People hold posters showing the portrait of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Major General Qasem Soleimani and chant slogans during a protest outside the US Consulate on Jan. 5 in Istanbul, Turkey.
People hold posters showing the portrait of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Major General Qasem Soleimani and chant slogans during a protest outside the US Consulate on Jan. 5 in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A senior defense official this afternoon sought to explain what President Trump meant when he said there was intelligence that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was looking to blow up a US embassy.

Speaking to reporters, the senior defense official said the US had intelligence that there was a plot to attack the embassy involving explosives, one of multiple plots that Soleimani was working on prior to the US targeting him in a drone strike.

The plot was separate and more sophisticated than the attempts to storm the embassy by Molotov-cocktail wielding Khatib Hezbollah members and its supporters. 

The official would not provide any additional details on the plot citing the sensitivity of the intelligence.

Earlier today: Administration officials explained Trump’s comments about the plot to “blow up” the US embassy, saying he was referring to the public demonstrations by Khatib Hezbollah.

The officials have not explained why there is a discrepancy.

5:51 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Iraqi investigators are pursuing a "spy network" that may have leaked information to US on Soleimani

Iraqi authorities this week have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the US strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and a top Iraqi paramilitary figure in a US strike last week, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.  

The two sources spoke with CNN on the condition of anonymity due to security concerns.

Investigators are pursuing what they suspect is a "spy network" believed to have leaked information and details of Soleimani's movements to the US. 

The Iraqi investigators believe that the suspected leaked information was key to the US operation that killed Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which is an umbrella group of Iranian backed Shia paramilitary groups.  

The investigation headed by Faleh al-Fayadh, Iraq's national security adviser and head of the PMU, has focused on questioning security personnel at Baghdad International Airport, where the strike took place last Friday. 

“Several security personnel, mainly those who were monitoring CCTV security cameras on the day Soleimani was killed, were questioned by the investigation committee yesterday [Wednesday],” one of the two sources said. 

No known arrests have been made so far, but the investigation is ongoing, the sources said.