Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:
“I had hoped that Secretary Pompeo’s appearance before the Foreign Affairs Committee would provide the American people with answers about the Trump Administration’s Iran policy, especially the strike on Soleimani and the path forward. Unfortunately, Mr. Pompeo avoided answering most direct questions and was unable to account for the administration’s shifting explanations since the strike at the start of the year. Days later, the Trump Administration is still hiding the truth from the American people about its reckless escalation of tensions with Iran.
“We haven’t heard a straight answer on why the Soleimani strike was necessary and legal. The administration’s initial explanation of an imminent threat has fallen apart, and the President has now blown through a legally established deadline to provide the public with legal and factual explanations for attacking Iran and other efforts to reinterpret his authority to use military force.
“Additionally, the Defense Secretary has ignored my numerous requests for information on the use of military force, including the Soleimani strike. I expect the administration to comply with the law and with congressional oversight requests. If I don’t receive the information I’ve requested by the end of the week, I’ll use all the power of the Foreign Affairs Committee to compel the administration to provide these answers to Congress and the American people.”
Section 1264 of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, as amended, requires the President to submit a report by March 1 of each year on the legal and policy frameworks for the United States’ use of military force and related national security operations, including the legal, factual, and policy justifications for any changes made to such frameworks from the preceding year.
The report must include a public, unclassified portion that lists each change made to the legal and policy frameworks during the preceding year and the legal, factual, and policy justifications for such changes.
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