The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/8/20, 21:15 Eastern Time

Congress not impressed with Trump administration explanation of Iran attack

Rachel Maddow summarizes the reaction of some members of Congress who were less impressed by the Trump administration’s briefings about the imminent threat that required the assassination of Iranian general Kassem Soleimani without consulting with Congress about

A week has passed since the Iranian General Kassem Soleimani was killed as a result of an airstrike in the United States and caused a crisis in the region, and there was no shortage of questions about why Donald Trump started the mission. Yesterday, administration officials went to Capitol Hill to hold a secret briefing for lawmakers explaining the reasons for the military offensive.

I think it is safe to say that this did not go well. Democrats in Congress were amazed at how useless the presentation was, and, surprisingly, some disappointments were bipartisan.

Lawmakers came up with completely different interpretations of the two secret briefings that senior Trump administration officials held on Wednesday about an air strike last week, which killed Iranian general Kassem Soleimani, and two Republican senators sharply criticized officials.

“It was probably the worst briefing I have seen, at least on a military issue, in the nine years I served in the United States Senate,” said Senator Mike Lee from Utah.

The Utah Republican, whom no one had ever accused of being moderate, added that the administration’s submission was “insulting and humiliating.” Lee continued to speak to reporters after a briefing that Trump officials suggested to lawmakers that the debate about the president’s policies is dangerous in itself and should be avoided to prevent Iran’s “encouragement”.

This, of course, is an unjustified attitude in a free society and in the political system with checks and balances. But the fact that Trump’s team sells such a line, failing to convincingly substantiate Soleimani’s mission, underlines the emptiness of the White House’s position.

As Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Said after yesterday’s afternoon session: “We did not receive information at this briefing that there was a specific, imminent threat that we stopped by conducting this operation …” I think this is likely because (this information) does not exist. “

Around the same time, Vice President Mike Pence’s office postponed the speech he was due to deliver next week, explaining the president’s elusive policy toward Iran.

So let’s summarize. A week after Trump gave the green light to a dangerous and highly provocative mission in the Middle East, he and his team have no convincing explanation why the president aimed at the Iranian general and killed him.

They also do not have a strategy for US policy towards Iran and / or conspicuous goals.

They also do not have a consultative policy-making process.

They also have no vision of the future path.

They also do not have a competent and experienced team in place.

They also have no idea how to stop Iran from promoting its nuclear program, which is ready to move forward without the restrictions imposed by the Obama administration.

Here’s what Amateur Hour looks like with life on the line.