After a blowup by Republican Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul Wednesday the White House sent Vice President Mike Pence out on a media blitz Thursday morning to deflect bipartisan criticism over the rationale for President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
Pence in multiple media appearances insisted that Trump made the “right decision,” given what he claimed was the overwhelming amount of evidence that Soleimani must be taken out to avert an “imminent” attack on U.S. forces. But he also defended the administration’s refusal to produce even one iota of that evidence and share it with the American people – or even with top Members of Congress.
Insisting America must blindly trust that Trump made the right decision, Pence said even top Members of Congress, even in a classified briefing during which they would be sworn to secrecy, could not be trusted with the details, lest it compromise “what we call sources and methods.” The Vice President used that stock phrase in interviews with multiple news outlets.
Speaking with NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie on “Today” Pence replied to her questioning why the administration was refusing to deliver to Congress its justification for killing Soleimani.
“Well some of that has to do with what’s called ‘sources and methods,’ Savannah,” Pence said, condescendingly.
Conveniently, Pence insisted that “some of the most compelling evidence that Qassem Soleimani was preparing an imminent attack against American forces and American personnel also represents some of the most sensitive intelligence that we have. It could compromise those sources and methods,” Pence said, justifying why the Trump administration is refusing to comply with its obligation to at least brief the Gang of Eight.
Noteworthy is that President Donald Trump, in the Oval Office in 2017, did exactly that, and not with any Member of Congress but with top Russian officials. Trump revealed code word classified information to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, compromising members of Israeli Intelligence.
Pence went on to say, “I can assure your viewers that those of us that saw all the evidence in real time, know that President Trump made the right decision to take Qassem Soleimani off the battlefield.”
GUTHRIE: Mike Lee said Soleimani briefing was worst he ever heard. Why can’t you share more info in a classified setting?
PENCE: Some of it has to do w/ sources & methods … I can assure your viewers that those of us who saw evidence in real time know POTUS made right decision pic.twitter.com/BPRBpJRY6O
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 9, 2020
The Vice President made the same argument on Fox News.
“Let me assure your viewers I was there every step of the way,” Pence told “Fox & Friends.”
“To protect sources and methods we’re simply not able to share with every member of the House and Senate the intelligence that supported the President’s decision to take out Qassem Soleimani,” Pence said, echoing his comments on “Today.”
“I can assure your viewers that there was a threat of an imminent attack.”
“The most compelling evidence to support intelligence to support the fact that there was an imminent attack being developed by Qassem Soleimani is frankly too sensitive to share broadly – it would compromise what we call ‘sources and methods,'” Pence again insisted.
Mike Pence urges public to blindly trust Trump: “To protect sources & methods we’re simply not able to share with every member of Congress the intelligence that supported the president’s decision … [but] I can assure your viewers that there was a threat of an imminent attack.” pic.twitter.com/r5DnB5U7Uh
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 9, 2020
For decades Presidents have shared with the Gang of Eight, frequently before major operations, and definitely after, why they have taken drastic action.
The Gang of Eight, who are sworn to secrecy, consists of the top two Democrats and Republicans on both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Under most circumstances the President is legally required to inform them of “significant anticipated intelligence activity,” although he can “limit access” to that intel.
CNN National Security and Legal Analyst and Lawfare Executive Editor Susan Hennessey weighs in:
There is no intelligence that is too sensitive to share with the Gang of Eight. None. https://t.co/iMh7LycgoS
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) January 9, 2020
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‘Oddest’: Legal Experts Mock Trump’s ‘Nutty’ and ‘Doomed to Fail’ Emergency Supreme Court Motion
It weighs in at 240 pages but legal experts are still mocking Donald Trump’s emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an 11th Circuit Court ruling and allow the special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents retrieved from him Mar-a-Lago home.
“Oddest SCOTUS petition. Very technical and not terribly logical,” observed Andrew Weissmann, an NYU School of Law law professor and former DOJ official who served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as special counsel to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The motion was addressed to Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees the 11th Circuit courts. His wife, Ginni Thomas, is an avowed supporter of Trump and his “Big Lie” claims he won the 2020 election.
“SCOTUS should send him packing,” tweets former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. “No surprise here, this was why he paid former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise $3 million to sign on, no one else on his team could handle this.”
“Just watch SCOTUS turn Trump down 9-0. (Or 8-1 if Thomas dissents . . . ),” writes retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe. “Will The Donald start calling ‘his’ three justices traitors? Will he say they have a ‘death wish’ as he did with McConnell?”
Weissmann took another hit at Trump’s Lawsuit, declaring it “nutty.”
“Trump argument to SCOTUS: 11th circuit had power to stay Cannon decision BUT it [could] not take the classified docs away from SM Dearie review. Nutty and if he won Dearie wd just say he won’t review the docs bc they are not Trump’s.”
University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck says that while the lawsuit is “not *entirely* laughable,” but he thinks “it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds.”
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says, “I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court decides not to hear it.”
Biden Will Include DeSantis in His Visit to Support Florida Hurricane Victims
President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday to support families devastated by Hurricane Ian, and will include the state’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, in his trip, the White House announced Tuesday.
Last week, asked if he would meet with DeSantis, a top detractor of the president, Biden told a reporter who asked, “I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.”
President Biden on whether he plans to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) when he goes to Florida:
“I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.” pic.twitter.com/nJvW9kKH7T
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2022
“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses,” Biden also said last week.
President Biden says he’s had good conversations with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) about Hurricane Ian aid:
“He complimented me, he thanked me for the immediate response we had, he told me how much he appreciated it … This is not about … our disagreements politically.” pic.twitter.com/SymBlqG75X
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2022
DeSantis asked President Biden for financial assistance for his state, battered by what experts say is one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. DeSantis voted against relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy when he served in Congress.
President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel via Air Force One to Fort Myers, one of the hardest-hit areas of Florida by Hurricane Ian.
But Fort Myers is also part of Lee County, where officials delayed evacuation orders.
“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” The New York Times reported. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”
“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” the Times added. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”
The St. Louis Post Dispatch blasted the Florida GOP governor, calling his “flip-flop on hurricane relief” a “study in right-wing hypocrisy.”
“DeSantis’ willingness to shelve his usual attacks on the Biden administration to politely request emergency federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian is an inspiring example of constructive bipartisanship — as is Biden’s announcement that the government will bear a big part of the expense,” the Dispatch Editorial Board stated. “It’s interesting, though, that DeSantis took exactly the opposite stance a decade ago when he joined other hard-right members of Congress who argued against generous federal recovery aid when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast.”
Over the weekend DeSantis was blasted by volunteer relief aid workers who were delayed for hours in distributing “food, water, medicine, diapers, and anything else people needed” so Gov. DeSantis could get a photo-op.
‘It’s a Lot More Nuanced, Peter, You Know This’: Karine Jean-Pierre Forced to Explain to Doocy the Price of Gas
Fox News propagandist Peter Doocy on Tuesday challenged White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the price of gas, suggesting President Joe Biden is responsible for its increase but not its decrease. Jean-Pierre explained what global issues affect the price of gas, while explaining the “historic” steps President Biden has taken.
“You’ve said the President was responsible for gas prices coming down. Is the president responsible for gas prices going up?” Doocy asked.
Jean-Pierre was not about to let that pass to give Fox News a talking point.
“So, it’s a lot more nuanced than that, right, Peter, you know this,” Jean-Pierre pushed back.
“There have been global challenges that we have all have dealt with – when I say all, meaning other countries, as well, have dealt with since the pandemic. There’s been pandemic and there’s been Putin’s war. And Putin’s war has increased gas prices at the pump.”
“We have seen that over the past several months and what the President was able to do, he took some historic steps. When you think about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and making sure that he, we were able to do everything that we can to bring that cost down for American families, give them a little bit more of a breathing room and we saw that we saw that every day this summer, over saving American families, over $1 per gallon. And so that is what the President is going to continue to stay focused on the American consumers. How do we continue to keep to keep prices down? That’s why we we did the inflation Reduction Act that’s why we talk about the Chips Act. All of these things are going to help Americans here in this country.”
Doocy rattled off some of the highest gas prices in the nation, asking, “who can afford that?”
“We understand that,” Jean-Pierre replied, expressing empathy, “that’s why the President worked so hard the past several months, to make sure that he did everything we can to bring gas prices down. We have seen fastest – I know you’re pulling out a couple of areas across the country and I get that, and we understand that there’s more work to do. We have never said we were done here. We have always been very clear that there is more work to do. But we have seen the reality is we have seen the fastest decline in gasoline prices in over a decade. That’s because of what this President has done. And again, prices going down by more than dollar per gallon and these are real savings are talking about $100 per month in savings for average family with two cars.”
Watch this short clip below or at this link.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy: “You’ve said the president was responsible for gas prices coming down. Is the president responsible for gas prices going up?”
White House Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre: “It’s a lot more nuanced than that, right? Peter, you know this.” pic.twitter.com/veQDXk4WRE
— The Recount (@therecount) October 4, 2022
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