In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, President Donald Trump said he called for the strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani because U.S. intelligence believed Iran was preparing attacks on four embassies.
In the exclusive interview, reported by Fox News, Trump described the strike as an act of self-defense against an imminent attack.
Here’s a preview of the interview with Ingraham:
When asked for specifics, Trump said, “We will tell you that probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad.”
“I can reveal that I believe it would’ve been four embassies,” Trump added.
On Thursday press appearance where he discussed the killing, Trump alluded to threats posed by Soleimani against the Baghdad embassy.
“We took him out. We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump said Thursday.
His latest revelations come even as he has said on Thursday that details about the strike would likely remain classified and “should remain at a very high level.”
Trump did not reveal details about the other potential targets when he spoke with Ingraham.
Trump and other administration officials reportedly briefed members of congress about some of the reasoning that led up to the strike on Soleimani. That brief reportedly drew criticism from both Democratic opponents and even Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who called the briefing “terrible” and “an unmitigated disaster.”
Earlier on Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted to reporters that the threat Soleimani posed was in fact “imminent.”
When asked about the “imminent” nature of the threats, Pompeo said, “We had specific information on an imminent threat and that threat stream included attacks on U.S. embassies. Period. Full stop.”
When pressed further about how soon the threat may have been carried out, Pompeo said, “It was going to happen.”
Members of a pro-Iranian Shia militia in Iraq were also killed alongside Soleimani, when he was traveling from the Baghdad International Airport.
Supporters of those same militia groups were reportedly involved in attacks on the Baghdad embassy, that saw demonstrators smash down fortified doors and set fires around the embassy compound. The attacks on the embassy took place just two days before the airstrike that killed Soleimani.
Those militia groups were also the targets of prior U.S. airstrikes in retaliation to deadly rocket attacks. 30 rockets fired by the pro-Iranian Kata’ib Hizbollah militia reportedly killed a U.S. citizen and injured four U.S. service members and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
In the hours following the strike that killed Soleimani, Trump attributed thousands of U.S. troops wounded or killed to the Iranian general.
….of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself. While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
“He should have been taken out many years ago!,” Trump said.