Pompeo reasserts that Soleimani posed imminent threat, but won't define 'imminent'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that the strike on Qasem Soleimani was in reaction to an "imminent" threat; but pressed by CNN's Kaitlan Collins to define "imminent," Pompeo didn't offer a specific timeframe.

Posted: Jan 10, 2020 4:20 PM
Updated: Jan 10, 2020 4:20 PM

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday reasserted that the strike on Qasem Soleimani was as a result of an imminent threat. But pressed by reporters to define "imminent," Pompeo didn't offer a time frame.

"This was gonna happen and American lives were at risk and we would've been culpably negligent ... had we not recommended (to) the President that he take this action," Pompeo said. "He made the right call and America is safer as a result of that."

Asked in the White House briefing room to specify whether there was an imminent threat that had to do with American embassies, Pompeo said: "We had specific information on an imminent threat and those included attack on US embassies. Period, full stop."

Asked if he was mistaken when he said he didn't have a precise time for those potential attacks, Pompeo responded: "Nope. Completely true."

"Those are completely consistent thoughts. I don't know exactly which minute. We don't know exactly which day it would have been executed, but it was very clear. Qasem Soleimani himself was plotting a large-scale attack on American interests and those attacks were imminent."

President Donald Trump claimed in an interview Friday that slain Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was targeting four embassies before he was killed.

"I can reveal that I believe it would've been four embassies," Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

On Wednesday, lawmakers took part in a classified briefing on the operation to take out Soleimani. Democrats and some Republicans left the room frustrated at a lack of evidence to support the administration's argument that the top Iranian general posed an imminent threat to the US.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee called it the "worst briefing I've had on a military issue in my nine years" in the Senate. And multiple lawmakers said they saw no specific intelligence that pointed to an imminent threat from Soleimani that justified the strike.

The following day, Trump disclosed that Soleimani planned to blow up US embassies but offered no evidence. In addition, a senior defense official told reporters that the US had intelligence about multiple plots and threats involving Soleimani, including one that involved a plan to attack the embassy using explosives. But the senior defense official would not provide any additional details on the plot against the embassy citing the sensitivity of the intelligence.

CNN has been unable to confirm the claims made by the President and the official.

During the White House press briefing, Pompeo was asked why he and the President have referenced threats to US embassies in the Middle East but some lawmakers have claimed they were not briefed on those threats behind closed doors during their classified briefing.

"We did (brief them on embassy threats). Yes. We told them about the imminent threat. All of the intelligence that we briefed -- that you've heard today I assure you in an unclassified setting, we provide in the classified setting, as well," Pompeo said.

Pressed again, he said, "I'm not going to talk about the details of what we shared in a classified setting, but make no mistake about it: those leaders, those members of Congress who want to go access this same intelligence can see that very same intelligence that will reflect what I'm describing and what the President said last night."

The House passed a War Powers resolution along nearly partisan lines Thursday in response to the Trump administration's Soleimani strike and it's justification for taking the action.

"Members of Congress have serious, urgent concerns about the administration's decision to engage in hostilities against Iran and about its lack of strategy moving forward," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she announced the House vote.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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