tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 3, 2020 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
trump. of course, our coverage of this breaking news continues on this important evening. thank you for joining us. our coverage is continuing now with "ac 360." we've been waiting for the next move after the killing of a notorious iranian general. a new air strike on iranian-backed forces just a day after the drone strike against qassim soleimani at baghdad airport. that's according to the militia in question and the iraqi state news organization. we don't know who is responsible for this new air strike. president trump today said he ordered the killing of soleimani to stop a war, not start one. those were his words. tonight new hostilities. remarkable statement from a former defense secretary leon panetta calling this is the closest we've been in 40 years to war with iran. so with america now sending about 3,000 troops into the region with americans being told to leave iraq with iran calling for, quote, forceful revenge for
soleimani's killing, all of what may follow from perhaps the most consequential decision the president made and new claim from the administration on the question of why now. national security advisers robert o'brien telling reporters that general soleimani was planning attacks on u.s. troops and diplomats in the region. something that the president touched on as well today. >> he was plotting attacks against americans, but now we've ensured that his atrocities have been stopped for good. they are stopped for good. he was planning a very major attack and we got him. >> qassim soleimani had plenty of blood on his hand some of it american, much of it. his quds force have caused turmoil for decades. others have thought about killing him as well but stopped because of what might follow. this president did so without consulting or notifying lawmakers who may normally have
been in the loop and now we're bound to see what happens next. we have correspondents tonight in tehran, baghdad, the pentagon and with the president as well as some of the best strategic thinkers we know. want to start with this new air strike and cnn international correspondent jamar. what about this? >> reporter: anderson, what we know is the statement that was put out by the popular mobilization force that is that umbrella group mostly made up of these iranian-backed shia militias and say one of their convoys was targeted in an air strike north of baghdad in the town of taji. they say it was a medical unit targeted and say a number of militia members were killed in this strike. some were wounded but say no leaders were killed. in this. to give you a sense of how tense
the situation is, how everyone is really on edge, just a short time after the reports came out of this reported air strike, there were rumors that a senior figure in the popular mobilization forces had been killed in this air strike. the pmf had to put out a statement saying that the senior leader was not killed. he himself had to put out a statement saying that he was not killed. so far there is no indication, no confirmation that this was a u.s. air strike, anderson. >> there's also no independent confirmation this actually occurred. this is basically the claim is being made by an iranian-backed militia force, correct? >> reporter: absolutely. this is just a statement coming from them. we have not seen any visuals. we have not heard this from any other source and the concern that a time like this is rumors and disinformation, anderson. >> yeah, jomana, appreciate i for more on what went into the president's decision to katie
lynn collins outside mar-a-lago. so, what are you learning about the time line of how this came together? >> well, we know in recent days that's when the president made the final decision he was going to authorize this strike, anderson. that came after national security officials and white house lawyers had been meeting to develop essentially a rationale a backing he could do without approval from congress. something he is taking heat from today from democrats over the decision not to go to some of those congressional leaders, instead going to some of his allies like senator lindsey graham and essentially once they had that backing and the president made that decision that's when they decided to move forward. the president had been maintaining a pretty similar schedule to what he's been doing while in florida but told he was constantly updated by those national security aides like the national security advisers robert o'brien while he was here and he even canceled a planned round of golf this morning so he could continue to monitor what the reaction was. >> so that's what the president
was doing, engaging reaction to the strike? >> reporter: yeah, he has. he's been on the phone. he's been in conversations essentially what it was described to me as sources surveying people on what they think of his decision. now, this hasn't all been positive and gotten pushback from people and told by sources in these conversations the president has been defensic of his decision at times but when it comes to what's next and what the president thinks iran could do in response, sources say he's been pretty unsure of what that could look like. >> and when is the president scheduled to return to the white house? >> reporter: on sunday so today we saw him for the first time publicly and several days when he went to miami. now back at mar-a-lago right here behind me and not scheduled to go back to washington until sunday and he's going back and he's going to have a lot on his plate, anderson. essentially, "a," waiting to see how iran responds. sources say it's essentially a case of when, not if and dealing with north korea and that recent
statement from the north korean dictator kim jong-un and, of course, this looming impeachment trial which you saw those congressional leaders addressing from the senate floor today. a lot going on for the president. he's dealing with a lot at once. >> kaitlan, appreciate it. as we mentioned and touched on at the top, the president did not notify the four top democrats in the so-called gang of eight before taking ago, the top democrats on the house and senate intelligence committees. speaker pelosi and schumer, about senator schumer he retweeted this suggesting discussing it with schumer would be like tipping offer the iranians. in fact, notifying top lawmakers in both parties has been the rule not the exception until this administration even for the most sensitive operations like the killing of osama bin laden. as you might imagine it's not sitting well with democrats. just before air time i talk with the democrat from maryland, senator holland. i know a member of your staff was briefed regarding the strike. i know there's no specifics about that that you can reveal. but did the briefing impact your
view of the strike? do you have the information you would like to have? >> well, anderson, it's good to be with you. yes, there was a briefing for staff members, and i had a representative there, and, no, nothing that came out of the briefing changed my view that this was an unnecessary escalation of the situation in iraq and iran. while i can't tell you what was said, i can tell you, i have no additional information to support the administration's claim that this was ang imminent attack on americans, and obviously the issue of intelligence is important, especially given the fact that bad intelligence, false intelligence is what got us into the earlier war with iraq. >> it is interesting because this -- president trump has obviously been very critical of u.s. intelligence, the u.s. intelligence community and yet he is now basing this on what he
says was intelligence about an attack being planned. do you believe the administration? >> well, my view is you've got to be shown the evidence. there will be a briefing for senators on monday. i hope the administration will come prepared to present the evidence about their claims at that time but i think the bigger question right now is how do we get to this spot? and the reality is that for the last three years, this administration is engaged in a reckless maximum pressure campaign on the iranians with no end game. i mean, we don't know what the administration's end game here and here we are today closer to war with iran than we've ever been. even though the president during the campaign said he wanted to keep us out of unnecessary wars in the middle east.
>> president trump said today they took action last night to stop a war. we did not take action to start a war. he also added that the world is safer without soleimani. do you believe it is safer now? >> i think the world is more dangerous. it's certainly more dangerous for americans in the region today than it was yesterday, and if that was not the case, you would not have had the state department issuing today a warning urging americans to leave iraq. they did that today. today the administration announced we're sending 3,000 more troops to the region. so clearly the administration recognizes that this action has actually dramatically increased the risks in the middle east, increased the risks of an attack from iran and it should be no surprise to anybody who has followed these issues that iran does mean what it says when it says this is essentially
tantamount to an act of war. >> do you have any concerns that impeachment or domestic politics may have factored into president trump's decision? >> well, we know from the tweets that have surfaced today from 2012 that this was an idea that president trump had, he, of course, at the time ascribed these motives to president obama. president obama, of course, did not attack iran. but it was president trump who obviously had this idea back in 2012, so, look, i think that we're in a very, very dangerous place. the president has taken us to this place without a strategy. without an end game. and it's going to be up to congress on a bipartisan basis and i worry given the polarization in congress today that you're going to have more of a republican colleagues acting as rubber stamps for the
administration, but congress really needs to stand up and make clear the president cannot take us to war in iran without a congressional authorization. >> senator van holl len, i appreciate your time, thank you. >> good to be with you. so there's obviously a lot of moving parts to this. we have a correspondent in tehran we're going to get to shortly. u.n.'s ambassador has just weighed in telling cnn that the killing of general soleimani was an act of war against his country. in iran's capital protesters burned flags chanting anti-american slogans, some carrying portrait of the dead general. fred plaeitgen joins us. they're vowing retaliation. i assume they haven't given any clue what that may look like. >> reporter: no, they certainly haven't at this point in time but certainly have made clear, anderson, that there is going to be retaliation and it's going to
be painful for the united states. and the supreme leader of iran came out earlier and praised qassim soleimani and called him a hero of the iranian nation and said he would die a martyr for the nation and said which was key, the iranian revolutionary guard, the quds force that soleimani was the head of won't miss a beat. there are other generals there and already named a successor to qassim soleimani and that organization is going to be just as dangerous as it was before and so, therefore, the iranians are saying, look, the united states really needs to watch out and so what exactly the iranians are going to do, there's two things, anderson, i've been to this country 15 or 16 times. two things the iranians have always told me, look, the united states needs to understand that next to every american military base in this region there's some sort of force close to iran or controlled by iran and so those, of course, now are very much under threat. the other thing that the iranians have been talking about
a lot over the past couple of years has been the development of their ballistic missile program so those are two things they've been saying, obviously they've not been showing their hand yet but there's -- what they have been say something that there is going to be a response and that response is going to be painful and it's going to be on iran's time, not america's time, anderson. >> soleimani, i mean, in terms of striking at the heart of the iranian regime, this is as close as really anybody could get. soleimani isn't just some general. he is a general who has been involved in every basically foreign adventure and foreign conflict and foreign interference that iran has been conducting. >> reporter: yeah. you're absolutely right. it's hard to overstate how important he was. not just in the military sphere but also really in the public sphere here in iran, increasingly over the past couple of years. he was someone who was definitely one of the most popular figures here in iran for a very long time, one of the
most respected, i would almost say more than popular here in iran, he was certainly someone who as you say was a part of pretty much every conflict over the past almost 20 years. he was obviously in the iran/iraq war. he was in the iraq war fighting against the united states there since 2003. he was in lebanon, then fighting against isis drumming up a lot of support in iraq against isis as well. so he is certainly someone who has been a part of a lot of these conflicts and there was almost a sort of myth around qassim soleimani. he was someone who was always very elusive as well who all of a sudden would turn up on the battlefield and drum up a militia and make it stronger. you're absolutely right, anderson, this is someone who was an extremely important figure and, by the way, also someone where there were rumors here in iran that maybe in the future he might actually go into politics, there were people who were already talking about in the future he could become the president of iran if it was something that he chose to do. so this is certainly not just the killing of a top general that took place but really one
of iran's top figures that took place there in that drone strike that the u.s. conducted and that's also one of the reasons why you're seeing such a big public reaction and such big public mourning as well, anderson. >> yeah, i mean, there's also a lot of people who fear -- have feared soleimani, not just respected him or admired him. they feared him, the revolutionary guard, obviously, has attacked -- gone after any opposition inside iran itself and soleimani's obviously a part of that but publicly obviously people are limited in what they would say to a foreign correspondent but publicly what's the public signs that the regime is allowing in terms of demonstrations in favor of soleimani or mourning him? >> reporter: yeah, i mean, demonstrations have definitely been taking place. there was a pretty big demonstration that took place in front of the swiss embassy. the swiss obviously are the ones essentially representing the
u.s.' interests here in iran and also communicating with the iranian government as well so you have seen some protests taking place. you see huge mourning take place, for instance, in the hometown of qassim soleimani and expect to see more of that as well but that point you made is absolutely correct. it is obviously also a figure of qassim soleimani who was very much feared especially over the past couple of months, not just outside iran but inside iran as well, anderson. >> fred pleitgen, appreciate it. we'll check in with fred in our second hour tonight. coming up next an update on the u.s. troops now heading into the region and what their mission will be. that and our national security team on what comes next and, frankly, how bad iran could make things in the region. what their options are in terms of a strike at the u.s. or allies. also around the world. later, breaking news on impeachment. late word that house democrats could be getting ready to hand over articles of impeachment to the senate. and if i didn't find a donor,
as we continue to listen for any late word on this new reported air strike north of baghdad, which we do not know -- we have not been able to independently confirm that, american ground forces are head into the region and elms of the 82nd airborne a change for the president who recently was focused mainly on what he said was pulling troops out of the region. alex marquardt has the latest on the new deployment and joins us with that. what do we know about how many troops and where will they be deployed. >> reporter: the third wave of u.s. troops to be sent to the region just this week. this latest tranche, if you will, 3,000 u.s. army soldiers from the 82nd airborne as you know come from the immediate response force brigade. they are going to kuwait, not to iraq and in response the pentagon says to the increased threat levels against u.s. targets in the region, this was
expected to be announced today in the wake of the attacks earlier this week against the u.s. embassy so we did have a sense that they were going to be going over there. this, of course, before the attack against qassim soleimani but the white house was, of course, thinking about that at the time. anderson, we have to think about the 5,000 u.s. troops who are already in iraq. of course, they've been there for a long period of time training forces and fighting against isis. there is now a chance they may be kicked out. there are a lot of iraqi politicians and officials who are really ticked off about this attack against qassim soleimani and want to see american -- those american forces kicked out. the iraqi prime minister saying that this was a flagrant violation of the u.s./iraq security agreement. >> and we heard from the chairman of the joint chiefs as well, and he spoke today about the strike. can you just fill in kind of exactly what he said? >> reporter: yeah, ever since
the strike, one of the bigger questions is why now? qassim soleimani has been known for so long. he has been in the crosshairs of the u.s. military before. there's been plenty of reason to take him out before because of what he has done against u.s. forces killing and maiming thousands of them so mark millie, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff spoke to reporters including barbara starr and said this response, the strike against soleimani was very much because there were imminent attacks that were being planned by soleimani. he was asked if there had -- is a risk against u.s. forces. he said damn right. we would be kulpaably negligent if no ago was taken. saying there was not much foresight he did say those consequences were taken into consideration, but the risk of inaction, millie said, exceeded the risk of that action.
>> alex, appreciate it. want to get perspective from our chief international correspondent clarissa ward and josh rogin and retired army lieutenant general mark hu hurtling. clarissa, the big question is what comes next and if this is going to ultimately lead to some sort of broader conflict in the region. you spend a lot of time there. i'm wondering how you think things may go or how fragile you think things are right now. >> i think this is absolutely an inflection point, anderson. i think there is a huge amount of anxiety in the region at the moment. even among people who are jubilant at seeing the death of qassim soleimani as to how exactly iran will respond. there is a broad consensus iran has to respond given the gravity of this killing, given what a towering figure soleimani was not just in iran but across many different countries and so the question becomes what does that look like? where does it take place?
look at all the different countries where iran's proxies extend their tentacles to whether it's yemen, whether it's syria, iraq, lebanon, afghanistan, you're talking about many different prospects, the persian gulf, shipping channels, the straits of hormuz. they have a plethora of different options at their disposal, different ways that they can launch an attack and i think the question that people are asking now is when that inevitably comes, whatever form or shape it takes, how is this white house planning to respond to it? what is the broader strategy here going forward? it's less that people are critical of killing someone like soleimani and more that there's deep-seated anxiety that this is reckless if there isn't a more coherent strategy that is guiding this policy as it moves forward through what will undoubtedly, anderson, be very choppy waters. >> josh, i know you've been talking to sources about what may have actually led to this
strike. what have you learned? >> well, basically what they said is that after the attack on the u.s. embassy, there were streams of intelligence that iran-backed forces were planning three types of attack, another on the embassy, missile strikes on american forces in iraqi base and kidnapping of american citizens which helps explain why the state department told all americans to leave. based on that intelligence according to my sources the strike was authorized and then taken at the first opportunity. now, the problem is as clarissa mentioned, what next, the administration doesn't have any answer. i went to a state department briefing today, background briefing and the officials basically said the ball is in iran's court and we are trying to de-escalate. actually one official said, this was an act of de-escalation. well, if this was an act of de-escalation i shudder to think what an act of escalation might look like and if the stated goal was to deter iranian aggression, well, when they're threatening to attack us publicly it's clear they're not yet deterred.
>> general, you certainly spent a lot of time in the region fighting in the region in iraq, general mcchrystal said this was the appropriate move by the u.s. to take out soleimani. also said there is a potential for, quote, stairstep escalation of attacks. i'm wondering, do you think this was the right move militarily and strategically. >> it was an opportunity, anderson, i don't want to comment on whether it was right or wrong because that's a binary choice. this guy was not a nonstate actor like a lot of terrorists we have struck. he was in fact part of the government institution of iran. so it's a different set of categories, it's a different type of strike and in da i think what happened in the past, do we strike this guy and end the kinds of mass murders and terrorism he has been conducting and truthfully i fought against some of the forces he trained. soldiers i led in iraq actually faced some of the equipment that
came in from iran and was catastrophic in terms of their ability to destroy equipment and penetrate flesh so this guy is certainly not someone that i'm -- that i admire as an enemy but he was a hell of a general. should we strike someone like this? should we kill them if given the opportunity? i really can't answer that question without knowing the risk mitigations of what is going to be the bigger picture. that's what caused past presidents to hesitate whether to strike him of what will occur if he is struck and i think we're now struggling with that a little bit and i'm not sure the administration has completely taken that on. what are going to be the second and third order effects but that's all part of the calculus whenever you conduct a strike against a high-value target like soleimani was. he was an evil guy. a mass murderer, war criminal and a terrorist. so there's a lot of people dancing in the street, kurds,
shia, sunni and americans, but i got to tell you there is going to be some repercussions for this. >> everyone, stick around. we'll take a quick brake. we have some more about the attacks also including why president trump's own words about re-election and an attack on iran are now back in the news. what he said about obama and attacking iran and the election and now what he did. we'll be right back. here, it all starts with a simple...
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words and may be true. we can't confirm it. ironic how publicly the president attacked the same intelligence on iran. last year he contradicted the sworn testimony of several of his top intelligence meme -- people and sayialso ironic, yea ago before he became president he repeatedly suggested president obama would gin up a war with iran to win a re-election. >> i believe he will attack iran sometime prior to the election because he thinks that's the only way he can get elected. >> back with us, clarissa ward, josh rogin and retired general mark hertling. those who suggested there is chatter about that, the wag the dog situation to try to distract from the president's political battles at home. >> covering the trump administration for three years i can say with confidence they're
not savvy enough to pull it off. there's not that up strategery going on. he does not want a war with iran and we have a set of policies that are clearly leading us up in escalation to that war. that's not design. that's just policy chaos we've seen over all this time. president trump is driven by two foreign policy instinct, right, to get outous of the middle east and also to be really tough on iran and those two things are completely in contradiction with each other and that's why you have what we see here today which is an incoherent policy leading us down a road we can't see the end of, that's the most dangerous thing of all. >> general hurt ling, in terms of planning something like there, there's obviously the decision to strike someone like soleimani. there's the planning for that but the planning for what happens afterward, there's so many potential moving part, there's so many potential proxy forces that iran has influence over, how do you even go about
planning for something like that, the ripple effects? >> yeah, one of the things, anderson, i've been watching today has been what appears to be a lack of a coordinated effort with allies, with partners, especially the partners of iraq as they're struggling through the formation of a democratic republic and notification of the kinds of people that would help us in these situations and the planning for military sources to move and deploy. it seems like there's been a lot of ad hoccism in in that things have come after the fact. that concerns me. but when you're talking about planning an operation, it's often war games where you take a red team approach and what i mean by that, you say, okay, if we do this, what might happen? and then you actually plan the branches and the sequels that might occur and you have a plan for each one of the events that may occur and you mitigate the risk associated with the kinds
of attacks you're planning. i don't see any of that happening. there has been incoherence in terms of even the messaging coming out from different members of the government. there seems to be a lack of planning just the deployment of military forces having the irf go in after the attacks took place and the fact that it seemed to be a response based on instantaneous intelligence derived over weeks or months as some of the military forces are saying. so all of these things play a part in -- i'll back up what josh said. there seems to be a lack of strategy in terms of exactly who it is we want to accomplish, not only with iran but also the neighbors that are part of the area. >> well, also, clarissa, what's fascinating what happens in iraq next. i mean, obviously the political situation, the military situation in iraq is unstable and extremely complex and soleimani is involved with all these shia militias in iraq
backing them, fighting with them against isis, but those shia militias are still there and there's a lot of iraqi politicians in parliament who are backed by iran, who are -- who tilt toward iran as opposed to the u.s. >> 100%, anderson, and you just heard general hertling talk about the importance of alliances, of strategizing with the u.s. allies on the ground, particularly in a country like iraq where the u.s. is so vulnerable to an iranian attack or iranian proxy attack, yet, what we're seeing actually is a breaking down of the relationship between the u.s. and the iraqis because the iraqis don't just view this attack on soleimani and by the way not just soleimani but another iraqi shia militia leader was also killed in that strike, they don't just see this as a sort of infringement upon their sovereignty, they see it as an attack on iraq because it puts iraqi leaders, anderson, in
an impossible position. the iranians can turn out the lights in iraq tomorrow if they want to. that is how much power they have. iraq cannot afford to have enemity with iran. iran has a huge amount of power in the form of influence and finances and the form of those shia militias which you mentioned as well and so now iraq finds itself on very unstable ground. unstable politically. unstable in terms of how it can continue to defend the u.s.' presence in its country and that makes things all the more vulnerable and dangerous for u.s. civilians and military personnel based overseas in iraq. >> yeah, clarissa ward, josh rogin and lieutenant general mark hertling, appreciate it. a member of the house intelligence committee, will hurd, joins me to discuss whether he agrees with at least one lawmakers who today called the killing a, quote, assassination. we'll be right back. create your own ultimate feast
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first there were more economic sanctions from the u.s. and they promised to not comply and oil t tankers were seized and each country shot down at least one drone. last friday a civilian contractor was killed and others were wounded in iraq an attack by an iranian-backed militia. sunday u.s. retaliation included the bombing of three control sites in iraq. on tuesday, supporters of the militia attacked the u.s. embassy in baghdad. yesterday as we've been discussing qassim soleimani, the top military intelligence figure in iran was killed in a u.s. drone strike. joining me is congressman will hurd, a former cia officer a member of the house intelligence committee now. thanks for being with us. overall, obviously soleimani was a killer, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not more, americans, american forces and probably hundreds of thousands of people in syria and iraq and elsewhere. was it strategically wise to do
this? >> yes, i think this was a good move. this is what happens to heads of terrorist organizations. you said what the iranian government has been doing and talked about what qassim soleimani has done in the past. when you have an opportunity like this, you take it and let's be frank, the iranian government is not the victim here. they are the culprits. they are the ones -- whether at war or not, we've been at war with iran for 50 year, and this is an example of if the iranian government wants to truly have a de-escalation then guess what, stop killing americans. stop killing our allies. stop trying to influence the elections in iraq, in lebanon, in afghanistan, in yemen. stop killing your own people who are trying to peacefully protest. stop lying about your nuclear weapons. these are all things that the iranian government can do and if they were to do that, then, yes,
let's start having a diplomatic conversation with them and i wish this was something that many of my colleagues and some our allies in europe would join us in protesting because we should focus on the iranian government's activities and behaviors because questioning and criticizing this decision can be viewed as support for the iranian government and that is a message that we do not want going to the iranian regime and the rest of their forces. >> democratic senator chris murphy earlier today labeled soleimani's killing an assassination because soleimani was not the head of a nonstate terrorist group, was, in fact, a top official of a foreign government doing terroristic actions killing american forces in iraq and elsewhere as i've said. does that matter -- should there be a distinction. >> if you're doing terroristic actions you're a terrorist. you can't hide behind a uniform in order to protect yourself and say you're not being a terrorist
this. is something that the iranian government has been doing for a long time and the fact that people want to act like the iranian government is the victim in this case is to me outrageous and, yes, this is going to potentially get worse before it gets better but what is the alternative? sit and do nothing? let our embassy get attacked once more? let our troops be attacked even further to allow the iranian government to continue to -- they killed 1,500 people who were unarmed peacefully protesting in their own country this. is not a government that is a rational government that can sit down at a negotiating table and so we took someone who is the head of the most well-financed, organized terrorist organization in the world and took him off the battlefield and i think today his replacement and the other generals around him are second-guessing some of the
decisions that they're going to make because despite what the iranian government said about these people want to be martyr, they don't want to be martyr, they want to live a long life and now they're thinking again about whether some of these actions that they're trying to take is wise for them. >> are you for regime change in -- should regime change be the policy of the united states for iran? >> i think the u.s. government and the rest of the international community should be supporting the iranian people and let the iranian people decide. we've seen these protests flare up time and time again. we know the economic situation that iran is facing right now is possibly getting worse and when they finally came to the negotiating table before the jcpoa, this is -- i do not think that the iranian government is going to change their behavior because they -- because someone wants to negotiate with them and ultimately i've always learned from my time in the cia, be nice
with nice guys and tough with tough guy, not the other way around and, again, we should be protecting american lives at every opportunity we can and if that means preemptive action we should but we should also be bringing our allies with us, especially in europe. the iraqi government right now is headed by a iranian proxy in essence, he was doing such a bad job that the iraqi people, excuse me, stood up and wanted to see change. that was ultimately a good thing. this is one reason why you see the iranian government increasing their activity in iraq, but we do need our european allies to join us and show that there is a united front against this terrible regime. >> congressman hurd, i appreciate your time and your perspective. thank you. >> always a pleasure. up next more breaking news, "the washington post" reports house democrats could soon be taking the next step on impeachment but the killing of qassim soleimani could certainly
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there's more breaking news tonight. "the washington post" reports house democrats could be about to take the next action on impeachment but the escalating tension with iran is a top concern for some of them. joining us is josh dosy on the byline of "the washington post" and a cnn analyst. what effect might this have on the democratic impeachment strategy? >> the now current idea is to possibly put these forward next week. there's a concern among some democrats that with all the concern over national security, all of the talk about, you know, potential entanglement with iran, with the strikes last night, with the potential for retaliation, that democrats want to move ahead and put these articles forward next week. you saw some republicans
already, anderson, come out and say democrats are doing this while the president is in the middle of a big national security crisis and there's a sense among a lots of the members of the democratic caucus that the status quo cannot hold, they need to transmit the articles and not stay in the holding pattern. the house and senate both come back early next week. we're expecting some decisions to be made quickly thereafter. >> you're also reporting that congressional republicans or some congressional republicans are enjoying what they think are bad optics for democrats in all this. >> they are. they've had several weeks where they've been able to really hammer nancy pelosi and some. other democratic leadership for holding the articles. they think that it was a definite win coming for the president in the senate. the democrats know that and they're able to say, you know, you're holding these up for no reason. the president's out trying to get legislation done get usmca
done, taking this step on iran and you should be moving these articles forward. there have been a whole host of republicans who have gone bound to mar-a-lago on the christmas break, lindsey graham, mitch mcconnell, who are convincing him you really don't need witnesses. the president tweeted publicly he wants adam schiff to testify and republicans are trying to warm him to having no witnesswitnesse witnesses mitch mcconnell said they're not going to call hunter biden or lindsey graham. and the senators are preparing for a quick trial with likely no witnesses. the democrat impeachment managers present their case, the republicans do the same and it's a proceeding that does not last particularly long. >> interesting. josh, appreciate it. thanks very much. up next, what president trump is saying about the u.s. drone attack that killed a senior iran commander.