Pompeo Skips House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Iran Policy
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to attend a hearing on Tuesday to examine the Administration’s policy on Iran, including its recent decision to assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
Pompeo had been invited to attend the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “From Sanctions to Soleimani Strike to Escalation: Evaluating the Administration’s Iran Policy,” but declined, stating he would be in California and unable to attend.
Some members expressed frustration that he was a no-show.
“Mr. Pompeo’s absence today is the loudest testimony. It speaks volumes,” declared Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif. “It shows that the Secretary of State cannot defend the decision-making process that led us to this point.”
“I don’t think there’s a member of this Committee who doesn’t want to hear from Mr. Pompeo, and the American people certainly deserve to hear answers with our troops and diplomats being asked to stand in harm’s way,” agreed the committee’s chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.
Instead, the committee heard testimony from a panel of former State Department and National Security personnel, including Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations (former State Department Director of Policy Planning); Avril Haines, senior research scholar at Columbia University (former National Security Advisor and former Deputy Director of CIA); and Stephen Hadley, a former National Security advisor.
These panelists spoke of the threat posed by Iran, the legality of the Administration’s action in targeting Solemani, and the consequences of the American response, particularly as Solemani was an official of the Iranian government.
In the absence of Pompeo, the panel discussed suggestions to re-establish deterrence and reduce tensions with Iran, including presenting Iran with a new deal for an amended Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in collaboration with allies and signatories.
“[Soleimani] was actively plotting to take big action that would put dozens, if not hundreds, of U.S. lives at risk,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, quoting an earlier statement from Pompeo.
Yet without his further testimony, it is unknown exactly whether these plots were substantiated and whether there was a legal basis for the strike.
“There is no doubt that Soleimani had the blood of Americans on his hands and was a force of instability in the region, but just because he was an evil person does not make killing him legal… or wise,” Haas said.
Despite differing opinions on the legality of the strike, representatives reiterated the need to exert jurisdiction under Article 1 of the Constitution, which grants Congress exclusive power to declare war.
“Over and over again we see from the Trump Administration a clear disregard for Congressional oversight responsibilities as an equal branch of government,” stated Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-NY.
Pompeo’s failure to attend the hearing was seen by some as an example of this attitude.
“Each passing day raises new questions about the strike that killed General Soleimani … the Secretary should welcome the opportunity to make the case and answer questions before the American people,” Engel said.
After the hearing, Engel stated that he would be sending a letter to Pompeo, asking for answers on the legal basis for the strike. Engel went on to say that should responses from Pompeo not be forthcoming, the committee will “consider other actions in the future, including subpoenas.”
In The News
WASHINGTON -- Had President Biden sought Gen. David Petraeus’s advice on the Allied troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, he has made... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Had President Biden sought Gen. David Petraeus’s advice on the Allied troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, he has made no secret of that fact he would have advised against it, even though the general admits the goals from engaging in 2001 have largely been met. ... Read More
The U.S. combat mission in Iraq will conclude by the end of the year, President Joe Biden announced Monday. However... Read More
The U.S. combat mission in Iraq will conclude by the end of the year, President Joe Biden announced Monday. However the president would not say whether he planned to reduce the number of troops in Iraq, which now number about 2,500. The announcement came during an... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Cuban Americans made a plea for the United States to help the people of their home country Monday... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Cuban Americans made a plea for the United States to help the people of their home country Monday during a protest in Washington, D.C. From a rally at the White House and during a march to the nearby Cuban Embassy, more than a thousand... Read More
BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday rejected an accusation by Washington and its Western allies that Beijing is to blame... Read More
BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday rejected an accusation by Washington and its Western allies that Beijing is to blame for a hack of the Microsoft Exchange email system and complained Chinese entities are victims of damaging U.S. cyberattacks. A foreign ministry spokesman demanded Washington drop... Read More
The United States, NATO and several allies collectively called out China on Monday for a series of malicious cyber- and... Read More
The United States, NATO and several allies collectively called out China on Monday for a series of malicious cyber- and ransomware attacks, including a March attack that exploited a flaw in Microsoft's Exchange Server. Monday’s announcement, which followed a conference call with White House reporters Sunday... Read More
A report from the U.S. voiced concern over ongoing human rights abuses, which the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken,... Read More
A report from the U.S. voiced concern over ongoing human rights abuses, which the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, at a press conference on Monday characterized as an attempt to apply international pressure to stop atrocities. In the 2021 Wiesel report, the country’s annual atrocity... Read More