Washington D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee delivered the following opening statement and questions at today’s full committee hearing  on U.S. policy in Iran and Iraq with Secretary Pompeo.

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-Remarks as Delivered-

“Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here and thank you for your service today to talk about Iran and Iraq, as we agreed to. More importantly, thank you and the President for taking decisive action to protect Americans overseas.

“If President Trump had not made the bold decision to strike Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s mastermind of terror, we might be having a different hearing on why he didn’t stop the deaths of more Americans. Striking Soleimani was the right decision. He organized an escalating series of attacks against our forces in Iraq, which killed an American.  He also directed the attack on Embassy Baghdad. Further, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley said the Administration would have been “culpably negligent” had they not acted to take out Soleimani, who had the blood of hundreds of Americans on his hands.

“I fully agree with you and the General that this strike was necessary and well within the President’s authorities under Article II. The President acted with tremendous restraint over the past year, continually making the choice to de-escalate even as Iran launched attacks on international commerce, Saudi oil assets, and a U.S. drone. But some people can’t grasp that this strike was justified, legal, and our troops are indeed safer because of it.  

“The Senate passed a preemptive War Powers Resolution that the House will vote on in the coming weeks to direct the U.S to cease hostilities against Iran. I believe this is a false premise. Mr. Secretary, let me ask you this:  Are we engaged in hostilities against Iran? Second, as you know better than anyone, we need to show unity, not division, in the Congress and as Americans, overseas, especially in the Middle East. What can Congress do to support your efforts to curb Iran’s destabilizing activities? I look forward to your answers in your testimony. I yield back.”

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-Q&A Highlights-

LR McCaul: Mr. Secretary, the Senate passed a preemptive war powers resolution that the House will vote on in the coming weeks that directs the United States to cease hostilities against Iran. Again, I believe this is based on a false premise. So, my question is very simple. Are we engaged in active hostilities against and in Iran?”

Secretary Pompeo: “We are not, our posture is to push back against the behavior, of the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran and is designed to deter and defend America’s interest.”

LR McCaul: “Do you believe that in terms of a threat in the future, depending on what type of time scale, that Soleimani was planning to kill more Americans, possibly in Iraq?”

Secretary Pompeo: “One hundred percent.”

LR McCaul: “And that would be based on?”

Secretary Pompeo: “In a very short time frame, he was in the region actively plotting to kill Americans in the region.”

LR McCaul: “So, we are in a way, if the President had done nothing and more Americans had been killed or we had a 1979 hostage situation, the president would be blamed for that wouldn’t he? If he did nothing?”

Secretary Pompeo: “It was my judgement that this reduced risk to America to take the strike. I think the team all presented that to the president. He made the final decision that that was right, that we would reduce risk both in the short term and the medium term and in the long term to American interests.”

LR McCaul: “And so the American people, but most importantly our diplomats and soldiers in the region are certainly safer because of that decision when you removed him?”

Secretary Pompeo: “Undoubtedly.”