President Trump vowed on Wednesday to hit Iran with new sanctions but appeared to pull back from taking any new military action. Tension between the two countries soared after the U.S. assassinated Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport last week. Iran retaliated by firing 22 ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces, but no one was injured in the attack. Iran had warned the Iraqi government about the strike in advance. On Wednesday afternoon, two small rockets also later landed near Baghdad’s Green Zone. They did not cause any casualties or damage to coalition facilities, and no group has claimed responsibility.
The House is slated to vote today on a war powers resolution aiming to limit President Trump’s ability to take future military action against Iran without congressional authorization. A number of Republicans say they will support the resolution, after lawmakers attended a closed-door briefing on Iran on Wednesday with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Mark Milley. This is Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, speaking after the briefing.
Sen. Mike Lee: “What I found so distressing about that briefing was that one of the messages we received from the briefers was: Do not debate, do not discuss the issue of the appropriateness of further military intervention against Iran, and that if you do, you’ll be emboldening Iran — the implication being that we would somehow be making America less safe by having a debate or a discussion about the appropriateness of further military involvement against the government of Iran. Now, I find this insulting and demeaning. … I don’t care whether they’re with the CIA, with the Department of Defense or otherwise. To come in and tell us that we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran, it’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s wrong.”
We’ll have more on the tensions between the U.S. and Iran after headlines.