U.S. Democrats demand info on Soleimani killing as impeachment looms

Democratic leaders are demanding more information on President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week as Congress convened for its first full week of the New Year on Monday.

Trump’s surprise decision to kill Soleimani – one of the most important figures in the Middle East – sent shockwaves throughout the world and has pushed foreign policy into the debate surrounding the president’s looming impeachment trial.

In a letter to Trump on Monday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Robert Menendez said Trump has “no legitimate justification” for classifying the administration’s reasoning for the killing.

“It is critical that national security matters of such import be shared with the American people in a timely manner,” the senators said in a letter to Trump on Monday.

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House, said late Sunday that the lower chamber would introduce legislation this week to limit the president’s ability to conduct military actions against Iran without congressional approval.

Pelosi called the attack a “provocative and disproportionate military airstrike” that “endangered our service members, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran”.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Trump blasted the Democrats for focusing on impeaching him in a trial in the Senate while “we have so many important matters pending”.

Republicans have used the strike on Soleimani to defend Trump as taking action against enemies while Democrats try to remove him from office.

Iraq’s parliament called for U.S. and other foreign troops to leave as the backlash against the U.S. killing on Friday of a top Iranian general grew, and Trump doubled down on threats to target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliates.

Trump also threatened sanctions against Iraq and said that if U.S. troops were required to leave, Iraq’s government would have to pay Washington for the cost of a “very extraordinarily expensive” airbase there.

Similarly, Trump is confident he could still renegotiate a new nuclear deal with Tehran, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Monday.

This was a day after Iran announced it would retreat further from the 2015 nuclear pact.

Asked if Trump believes he can still get Iran to renegotiate a new nuclear agreement, Conway said at the White House: “He said he’s open.

“If Iran wants to start behaving like a normal country … sure, absolutely.” (dpa/NAN)