- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declined to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday to testify about the U.S. strike that killed a top Iranian general. The panel’s Democratic chairman said Mr. Pompeo’s decision not to testify leaves him “disappointed and frustrated.”

Mr. Pompeo was invited to testify before the committee in a public hearing. He was part of a group of Trump administration officials who briefed lawmakers behind closed doors last week on the Jan. 3 attack that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a briefing that many criticized as inadequate.

“Each passing day raises new questions about the strike that killed General Soleimani,” committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel, New York Democrat, said in a statement Monday.

Lawmakers have raised questions about the lack of information that was given to congressional leadership in the aftermath of a week of tension and military exchanges involving the U.S., Iran and Iraq, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued that the Soleimani killing was conducted without congressional approval.

Administration officials have insisted the move was made due to an “imminent threat” posed by the Quds Force leader, but Mr. Engel said he questions the move could have been part of a larger operation after reports that the U.S. launched a failed attack on one of Soleimani’s deputies the same day.

“With the wildly muddled explanations coming from the administration, the secretary should welcome the opportunity to make the case and answer questions before the American people,” Mr. Engel said. “The committee expects to hear from him soon.”

House lawmakers last week passed a symbolic resolution limiting Mr. Trump’s ability to engage in a war with Iran. The Senate is expected to consider a similar resolution this week.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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