The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee threatened on Tuesday to subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he does not provide information about Iran policy and President Donald Trump's ordering the strike that killed an Iranian military commander. This time, Esper said that the United States can indeed strike Iran, "if it is consistent with the Commander in Chief's authorities under Article 2", referring to the article of the Constitution that allows the president to order military action in the event of an attack on American forces, on the condition that it later be approved by Congress.
"The Democrats and the Fake News are trying to make terrorist Soleimani into a wonderful guy, only because I did what should have been done for 20 years", Trump tweeted.
"US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for his part, said during a speech at Stanford's Hoover Institute on Monday that Soleimani's killing was part of a "[Washington'] bigger strategy" to deter Iran and other US rivals, including Russian Federation and China.
"The answer to both is a strong YES., but it doesn't really matter because of his awful past!"
He made it clear that even if the imminent threat he posed did not warrant his killing, Soleimani's history justified the move. While US officials stopped short of saying definitively that there was no specific plot disrupted by Soleimani's death, they have acknowledged in recent days that the long-considered operation had a more fundamental objective: breaking up what they viewed to be a perilous cycle of violence that could have brought the United States and Iran even closer to hostilities.
Barr told reporters that Soleimani was a "legitimate military target" and the strike was a "legitimate act of self-defence".
"We appear to have restored a measure of deterrence in the Middle East".
Democrats and some Republicans in Congress have questioned the justification of the attacks and said they have not been given adequate, detailed briefings.
The Democratic-controlled House on Thursday passed a nonbinding resolution aimed at limiting the president's ability to attack Iran in the future without congressional approval.
A companion measure has been introduced in the Senate.
The Democratic-led committee said last week it had called Pompeo to testify, as members of Congress pushed Trump's administration for more information about the killing this month of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
But on Sunday, Defence Secretary Mark Esper said he did not see specific evidence that Iran was planning an attack.
Those fears, the officials said, led them to view the broader matrix of threats from Iran and its proxies with greater severity, an assessment compounded by the swiftness with which the Iranian proxy in Iraq, Kata'ib Hezbollah, helped organize the siege of the US Embassy after the December 29 US strike against the group believed responsible for killing a US contractor on December 27. "The president didn't cite a specific piece of evidence".
When pressed on whether intelligence officers offered concrete evidence on that point, he said: "I didn't see one with regard to four embassies".