WASHINGTON – In multiple interviews with MSNBC and CNN, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, discussed the latest in the escalating crisis with Iran and the increased threat to our national and homeland security resulting from President Trump’s approval of an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The Senator’s media appearances follow a letter he and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent to President Trump calling on him to declassify the White House notification to Congress of the initiation of hostilities against Iran, pursuant to the War Powers Act of 1973.
On whether America and the world is safer without Soleimani:
“Soleimani was a terrorist who was ultimately responsible for the death of hundreds of American troops, so we are not going to mourn his loss. However, I have seen nothing that suggests that the dynamics changed from the calculated decision that President Bush and President Obama made against going after Soleimani—even though they had the opportunity to do so—simply because the consequences that flowed from that action would have been greater than the value of eliminating him. What I fear about the President’s actions is that America is stumbling into a tragedy of President Trump’s making.”
On declassifying the Trump administration’s War Powers notification:
“I think the American people need to know the essence of the classified War Powers notification so that they can make their independent judgement. The last thing we need is another ‘weapons of mass destruction’ moment in American history.”
On using force without Congressional authorization:
“We cannot have a march to an unauthorized war. From the escalation of the missile attacks inside Iraq and Syria, to the targeting of Qassem Soleimani, to the sending of thousands of troops—all of this without Congressional authorization—is a march to war that has to be stopped. And the Congress has to be engaged in deciding whether or not it is in the national security interest of the United States to authorize any military force.”
On the Trump Administration’s delay in producing intel that there was an imminent attack against the United States:
“We need to see the intel…If there is not the evidence, and the intelligence to support that evidence, that there was an immediate threat to American security and that Soleimani was a critical element of that threat, then I do think we have the beginnings of an illegal conflict here.”
“We must Demand clear intelligence and put the Administration’s feet to the fire because historical context is not the basis for targeting Soleimani.. Secondly, Congress should pass a War Powers Resolution that still protects our people in the region while at the same time limit dramatically what the President can do without an authorization from Congress.”
**Note: The above excerpts were edited for clarity and length.