Several senators went on the Sunday talk show circuit and said the first time they heard about a supposed Iranian plot to attack four U.S. embassies was during President Donald Trump’s interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Friday night. The classified briefing that was given to senators last week had already been the subject of much controversy as even a few Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing how little information they received regarding the rationale for killing Gen. Qassem Soleimani. But to add insult to injury, many senators were dumbfounded when they heard Trump share some information with Ingraham that they had never heard before.
Sen. Christopher Coons straight out said it and complained about the differences between what senators were told and what Trump said on Fox News. “Frankly, in the classified briefing that lasted 75 minutes and had virtually the entire Senate there, we got less detailed information than President Trump shared with Laura Ingraham,” Coons said on Fox News Sunday. “So we were told repeatedly that there was reliable intelligence of an imminent threat. That’s it. There was no more detail than that.”
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia also said he was unaware of the embassy threats. “I was at the classified briefing because I’m both an Armed Services and Foreign Relations member, that wasn’t told to us in the classified briefing, nor was there a suggestion that multiple embassies were threatened,” Kaine said on CBS’ Face the Nation. Kaine said that at the briefing “the evidence was far short of an imminent threat.”
It wasn’t just Democrats who spoke up. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also said he had not been told anything about any imminent threats to U.S. embassies. “I didn’t hear anything about that,” he said on CNN. “Several of my colleagues have said the same. So, that was news to me, and it is certainly not something that I recall being raised in the classified briefing.” Lee had previously called the briefing that lawmakers received “insulting and demeaning” and when he was asked whether he had a problem learning about the alleged threats against U.S. embassies on television he tried to shift the blame away from Trump. “Yes, but the problem there is not with the president the problem is with those who were briefing us,” Lee said on CBS’ Face the Nation.
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