Following complaints from top Congressional Democrats, like Pelosi, Schumer, and Schiff that they were not consulted prior to Trump ordering the airstrike that killed Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani, Sen. Lindsey Graham has just revealed that Trump briefed him on the mission before carrying it out.
Talking to Fox & Friends, Graham unveiled the truth,
“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida.”
Graham had been seen Monday playing golf with Trump in Palm Beach. He added,
“I appreciate being brought into the orbit. I really appreciate President Trump letting the world know you cannot kill an American without impunity.”
Listen to Graham's revelation that President Trump briefed him - not Pelosi or Schumer - on the Soleimani Strike:
ABC News has more to say on Graham being informed of Trump's decision to kill Soleimani while Dems were not briefed:
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded an immediate briefing on the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday that he was informed about the operation beforehand earlier this week while visiting President Donald Trump in Florida.
"I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida," Graham, who was spotted Monday playing golf with the president in West Palm Beach, told "Fox and Friends" Friday morning.
"I appreciate being brought into the orbit. I really appreciate President Trump letting the world know you cannot kill an American without impunity," Graham said. "We'll stand up for our people. And that is an absolutely essential message."
Pelosi is a member of the so-called "Gang of Eight" top congressional leaders protocol and the law require be informed of classified intelligence and national security matters, but she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were not notified beforehand. An aide to Pelosi told ABC News Defense Secretary Mark Esper did call her afterward Thursday night.
"The night’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence," Pelosi said in a statement Thursday night. "America – and the world – cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return. The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. This action was taken without the consultation of the Congress."
Schumer complained about the lack of consultation on the Senate Floor on Friday.
"The need for advance consultation and transparency with Congress was put in the Constitution for a reason, because the lack of advanced consultation and transparency with Congress can lead to hasty and ill-considered decisions," he said. "When the security of the nation is at stake, decisions must not be made in a vacuum."
"This action may well have brought our nation closer to another endless war, exactly the kind of endless war the president promised he would not drag us into," Schumer added.
The Trump administration's choice not to inform top congressional leaders continues a pattern that breaks with practices by previous administrations. At the same time, Graham says he also was told about the U.S. mission targeting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last October 2019.
GOP Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who said he had spoken with Trump Friday morning, argued the president couldn't inform the "Gang of Eight" because of the secrecy of the situation.
"If we're going to have a major deployment in Iran -- which we're not going to have -- then it would be appropriate," Meadows said on MSNBC, when asked if Trump needed congressional approval.
The Week also added:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has revealed he knew of President Trump's intention to authorize a drone strike that would kill Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in advance after reports that key lawmakers weren't consulted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday complained that Trump had taken this major action against Iran "without the consultation of the Congress," and a Pelosi spokesperson told NBC News' Alex Moe on Friday that while she spoke to Defense Secretary Mark Esper afterward, she received no advance notification. CNN's Manu Raju also reports Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wasn't informed and there wasn't a formal briefing with the Gang of Eight.
Yet Graham on Friday said he was filled in earlier this week when he visited Trump in Florida.