White House Defends Soleimani Killing In New Memo, Leaves Some Skeptical

Headline Roundup February 16th, 2020

President Donald Trump's administration released a report last week outlining its legal justification for killing top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in January, saying the move came “in response to an escalating series of attacks in preceding months." The administration had previously claimed that an "imminent threat" had prompted the strike.

Outlets on the left and center highlighted the conflicting nature of the memo, noting that it contained no evidence of an imminent threat. Right-leaning coverage was more sparse, though some publications did carry Trump's response to the administration's explanations, in which he called them "totally consistent."

White House Defends Soleimani Killing In New Memo, Leaves Some Skeptical

From the Left
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WASHINGTON — The White House told Congress on Friday that President Trump authorized the strike last month that killed Iran’s most important general to respond to attacks that had already taken place and deter future ones, contradicting the president’s claim that he acted in response to an imminent threat.

In a legally mandated, two-page unclassified memo to lawmakers, the White House asserted that the strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was “in response to an escalating series of attacks in preceding months” by Iran and Iran-backed militias....

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From the Center
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The Democratic-led House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday released the Trump administration’s legal justification for its Jan. 2 drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Echoing arguments administration officials have made in public, the two-page memo cites a president’s constitutional authority to protect national interests from an attack, as well as the 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) that was passed to authorize the Iraq War.

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From the Right
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President Trump defended his administration after reports contradicted his claim that the decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was because of an imminent threat.

The Trump administration claimed that the decision to kill Soleimani was because of a direct, imminent attack against the United States. That was partially contradicted by a Monday report that showed that Trump had cleared the decision to kill Soleimani seven months before he ordered the drone strike, making the claim of an “imminent threat” questionable.

During a gaggle with reporters on Monday, Trump defended...

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