President Trump is now trying to claim that “it doesn’t really matter” whether Iranian General Qassem Soleimani posed an imminent threat before the United States assassinated him in a drone strike at the Baghdad International Airport on January 3. Trump’s words — from a tweet yesterday — come after President Trump spent days claiming Soleimani was planning to attack four U.S. embassies.
But Trump’s claims began to unravel after his own defense secretary, Mark Esper, said he had not seen specific evidence of any planned embassy attacks. This is President Trump answering questions from reporters about his changing claims.
President Donald Trump: “First of all, I think it’s been totally consistent. But here’s what’s been consistent: We killed Soleimani, the number one terrorist in the world by every account, bad person, killed a lot of Americans, killed a lot of people.”
That was Trump speaking Monday. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is dismissing the Iraqi Parliament’s vote demanding the United States withdraw its troops from Iraq, which came after the U.S. assassination of Soleimani in Baghdad. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the State Department warned Iraq that the United States could shut down Iraq’s access to its own bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, if Iraq forces U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq.
And Iran says it has arrested several people as part of the investigation into how Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner taking off from Tehran, en route to Kiev, killing all 176 people on board. The plane crash came as Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing Iraqi and U.S. troops as retaliation for Soleimani’s assassination.