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tv   House Foreign Affairs Hearing on Iran Policy  CSPAN  January 17, 2020 4:40pm-8:01pm EST

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you will do impartial justice according to the constitution and the laws so help you god? >> i do. >> god bless you. >> thank you very much. >> at this time, i will administer the oath to all senators in the chamber in conformance with article 1, section 3, clause 6 of the constitution. and the senate's impeachment rules. will all senators now stand or remain standing and raise their right hand? do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of donald john trump, president of the united states, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws, so help you god? >> for the third time in history, a president is on trial in the u.s. senate. watch live tuesday when the trial resumes at 1:00 eastern on
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c-span2. former state department and national security officials testified on the trump administration's iran policy before the house foreign affairs committee. secretary of state mike pompeo declined an invitation to testify on the president's decision to kill iranian general qassem soleimani. committee chair representative eliot engel threatened to subpoena secretary pompeo in order to obtain information on the u.s. drone strike. >> subject to limitation in the rules. before i begin, i want to make the big announcement that today's mr. mccall's birthday. so happy birthday. >> i'm 35 years once again. >> me, too. pursuant to notice we're here today to examine trump administration policy towards iran. i welcome our panel of distinguished witnesses. welcome to members of the public
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and the press, as well. we had hoped to hear from secretary pompeo today, as well. after we invited him, he announced that he would instead be in california. that's unfortunate whether you agree with this administration's approach to iran or not. i don't think there is a member of this committee who doesn't want to hear from mr. pompeo and the american people certainly deserve to hear answers with our -- our troops and diplomats being asked to stand in harm's way. but this committee will conduct oversight on this issue one way or another. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. under the trump administration, we've seen tensions with iran ratchet up bit by bit to a point earlier this month when it seemed we were on the brink of war. iran bears much of the blame for this escalation. the regime is the world's most prolific state sponsor of terrorism and believes that provocative and destabilizing behavior strengthens its hand.
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it's what we expect from iran. what's helped stave off calamity for decades is the united states doesn't behave that way. we don't play on iran's turf. being a world leader means you don't emulate your adversaries. you use your power judiciously by trying to change behavior while seeking to diffuse conflict and present bloodshed. that's why the killing of qassem soleimani was such a shock. not because soleimani was a good guy. just the opposite. he had the blood of many americans on his hands. he was a hardened terrorist. democrats and republicans alike know the world is better off without him. but killing him was a massive escalation. those who view him as a martyr have already used his death as a pretext for violence and retribution. americans have been warned to leave iraq and have been threatened with kidnapping. iranian missiles have struck bases where americans are stationed. thousands more men and women in
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uniform have been deployed to the region. the iraqi parliament has asked our troops to leave the country even though we rely on that partnership in the fight against isis. fortunately, for the moment, both the administration and the iranians have taken a step back. but we have to ask why was it worth turning the simmer up to a boil? that's where things start to get confusing. at first, the administration said there was an imminent threat. why is that important? because in the case of an imminent threat, the president has authority under article two of the constitution to protect americans. no one doubts that. but then we heard the strike went forward because soleimani did so many bad things in the past and was plotting for the future. then when that didn't work, they went back to an imminent threat. but we didn't know where or when it would take place. in fact, we don't even know if it was imminent, which makes you wonder if the word imminent
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still has any meaning. next, an embassy was going to be attacked. then four embassies were going to be attacked. then maybe it wasn't four embassies. then it's widely reported that there was another failed strike on a different iranian quds force official in yemen. so what was the justification for the strike which killed general soleimani? surely, neither of the existing war authorizations, the post 9/11 thaurgsz 9/ 9/11 authorization or the 2002 iraq war authorization could possibly be torted into explanation for attacking in yemen. heavy reliance on the 2002 law, which authorized the war against saddam hussein, is especially dubious. was there any legal basis whatsoever for this strike that took us to the brink of open hostilities with iran? we're not asking these questions because we mourn the death of soleimani or sympathize with terrorists. and let me say right now that i
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won't tolerate any member of this committee making that sort of accusation against other members of this body, even in a general sense. we are all patriotic americans, democrats, and republicans alike. we're asking these questions because the american people don't want to go to war with iran. we're asking these questions because congress has not authorized war with iran. as we reaffirmed on the house floor last week, we're asking these questions because war powers are vested in the congress and if we allow any administration to carry out strikes like these, to risk plunging us into war without scrutiny, then we might as well cross out article 1, section 8. i wanted secretary pompeo here today because i think the administration is not being straight with the country or the congress. and whether you thought the soleimani strike was a good idea or not, if you believe that congress is a co-equal branch of government and that we need to take back the constitutional
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powers we've given away to successive administrations, then i hope you'll join me in saying we need answers, on the record, in an open setting so the american people can know the truth. we will not be deterred from our oversight efforts. since secretary pompeo isn't here, i'm sending him a letter today, as well as to secretary esper, demanding that they produce information on the legal basis for the strike that took out soleimani and on a range of other topics. i will make those letters part of the record of this hearing. i hope our witnesses can shed some light on these topics, as well. i will recognize each of you to make an opening statement. and let me just say that if secretary pompeo is not going to cooperate with the committee, then we will consider, very strongly, taking other actions in the future, including subpoenas. so i will recognize each of you to make an opening statement. pending which i yield to my
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friend, the ranking member, mr. mccall of texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this important hearing. i will not repeat the arguments i made on the house floor last week during the war powers debate. other than to say that the world is safer without qassem soleimani. iran's terror commander on the battlefield. and i think that is something, mr. chairman, i think you and i both agree on on this. former obama dh secretary, friend of mine and dod general counsel jay johnson said that soleimani was a, quote, lawful military objective and that no further congressional authorization was necessary. i agree with the former obama administration cabinet member. i talked to him extensively about this strike. he used to authorize these strikes under the obama administration. they conducted thousands of them. i wish democrats would join in praising the president, as republicans did, when osama bin
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laden was killed. in many ways, soleimani was -- was just as important, if not more important of a target. i know that my colleagues on the other side are also relieved that this threat has been eliminated. but they may not be able to say so as much publicly. i wish they were more willing to recognize that the administration made the right decision in taking out soleimani. debating issues of war and peace is perhaps our most important responsibility on this committee and as members of congress. and i'm glad that we are finally exerting our jurisdiction under article one, as i am sure we are not done dealing with this issue. soleimani, make no mistake, was a mastermind of terror in the middle east for over two decades. he was designated as a terrorist by president obama. he was responsible for the deaths of over 600 americans and wounded thousands of more. last year, iran attacked six
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commercial ships and downed a u.s. drone. beginning in october, soleimani orchestrated 11 attacks on u.s. forces in iraq, killing an american and wounding four u.s. service members. soleimani ordered an attack on our embassy in baghdad. members. soleimani ordered an attack on our embassy in baghdad, and the damage was extensive as shown in these pictures. we are lucky that no embassy personnel were hurt or taken hostage. two days after the attack on our embassy, the administration struck soleimani because, to quote secretary pompeo, he was actively plotting to take big action that would put dozens if not hundreds of u.s. lives at risk. this was an imminent threat. chairman of joint chiefs said the administration would have been culpably negligent if they had not acted. what if the president had not acted and more americans were killed in an attack directed by
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soleimani. what would the president's critics have said then? i believe having been in the white house the president has shown great restraint regarding iran. many other presidents may have struck after the drone was downed. many other presidents may have struck after the american was killed. many other presidents would strike after the embassy was attacked. how many americans and how many embassies need to be attacked before we respond? he's been clear and has told me personally just last week that he does not want war with iran. he wants to deescalate, not escalate. and he's been very clear with the strategy on iran as he told the nation on wednesday, he wants a deal that allows iran to thrive and prosper, provided that iran finally ends its destabilizing activities in the middle east. iran needs to stop its nuclear program, stop developing ballistic missiles, stop supporting terrorists and proxies, stop taking hostages, stop oppressing its own people and act as a responsible, normal
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nation as a normal nation would on the world stage. for the second time in recent months, the iranian people were bravely protesting the conduct of this thee cattic, dispottic regime. protesters are furious because the regime shot down a commercial airliner just last week killing 176 innocent people, many of whom were iranian. and even worse, the regime did not even admit to having done it for three days. they intentionally lied to their own people and to the world. we are already seeing aggregations, including video footage, depicting the regime's violence against its protesters. these are human rights violations. an iranian olympic medallist announced she's deflected iran because of lies and hypocrisy.
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yesterday a state tv actor resigned saying it was hard for me to believe the killing of my countrymen. i apologize for lying to you on tv for 13 years. in november, the iranian regime brutally suppressed popular protests sparked by an increasing gasoline prices, shutting down the internet, and then killing 1,500 of their own citizens. let me be clear, we stand with the people of iran, demanding accountability from their leaders. and i want to thank the president for loudly and clearly defending the rights of the iranian people and urging the regime not to use violence against them. i would like to close by focusing on iraq. the united states supports a strong, sovereign, and prosperous iraq. those responsible for violence against protesters and journalists must be held accountable including for the killing of two journalists this
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weekend. we stand with iraqi people and support their right to freely assemble. we will always support freedom wherever it is. we will always support human rights wherever it is a struggle. and with that, mr. chairman, i want to thank the witnesses. i look forward to their testimony, and i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. i'll now introduce our witnesses. dr. richard haas is the president of the counsel on foreign relations. he previously served as the middle east adviser to george h.w. bush as the state director policy of planning under secretary of state colin powell and in various positions during the state departments during the carter and reagan administrations. he was also u.s. coordinator for policy toward the future of afghanistan and the u.s. envoy to both the cypress and northern island peace talks.
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avril haynes is a senior fellow at johns hopkins university and non-resident senior fellow at the brookings institute and principle at west exec advisers. during the the last administration, mrs. haines served as assistant to the president and national security adviser. she also served as the deputy director of the central intelligence agency and legal adviser to the national security council in addition to others. stephen hadley is a principle of rice hadley gates llc, an international strategic consulting firm. he's the board chair of the united states institute of peace and executive vice chair of the board of directors of the atlantic council. he served four years as the
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assistant to the president for national security affairs from 2005 to 2009. from 2001 to 2005, mr. hadley was the assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser served under condoleezza rice. mr. hadley had previously served on the national security council staff and in the defense department including assistant secretary of defense, printed national security policy from 1989 to 1993. so, i thank our witnesses for joining us. without objection, your complete prepared testimony will be made part of the record. i'll now recognize you each for five minutes to summarize your opening statement, and we'll begin with dr. haas. >> thank you and good morning. let me say that recent events
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that we're discussing here today did not take place in a vacuum. they can only be understood against the backdrop of nearly 3 quarters of a century of history, in particular recent history. here i would highlight the american decision in 2018 to exit the 2015 nuclear agreement, the jcpoa, and the decision to introduce significant sanctions against iran. these sanctions constituted a form of economic warfare. iran was not in a position to respond in kind and instead instituted a series of military actions meant to make the united states and others pay a price for these sanctions. and therefore, to conclude, they needed to be removed. it is also important, i believe, to point out here that the united states did not provide a diplomatic alternative to iran when it imposed these sanctions. this was the context in which the targeted killing of qassem
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soleimani took place. this event needs to be assessed from two vantage points. one is legality. it would have been justified to attack soleimani if he was involved in mounting a military action that was imminent. if there is evidence that can responsibly made public supporting that these criteria were met of imminence, it should be. if, however, it turns out the criteria were not met, that what took place was an action of choice rather than necessity, i fear it will lead to an open-ended conflict between the united states and iran fought in many places with many tools and few red lines that will be observed. the president tweeted yesterday that the question of imminence doesn't really matter. i would respectfully disagree. it is treated in international law as a legitimate form of
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self-defense. preventive attacks, though, are something very different. they are mounted against a gathering threat rather than an imminent and a world of regular preventive actions would be one in which conflict was prevalent. it's even more important to assess wisdom of the targeted killing. there's no doubt as the chairman said that mr. soleimani had blood on his hands and was a force for instability in the region. and i don't know of any critic of the strike who mourns his loss. but just because soleimani was evil and just because killing him may have been legally justifiable does not make it wise. and here i have several doubts. first, there are other, and i believe, better ways to re-establish deterrence with iran. secondly, the killing interrupted what i believe were useful political dynamics in both iran and iraq. thirdly, u.s.-iraqi ties were deep
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deeply strained. fourthly, we've been forced to send more forces to the region rather than make them available elsewhere. fifthly, given our worldwide challenges i do not believe it is in our strategic interest to have a new war in the middle east. and six, iran has announced plans to take odds with the jcpao which will shrink the window it needs to build a nuclear weapon if it decides to. if it does so, it will provide the united states and israel with difficult and costly choices. i'm fully confident that many of you will disagree with part or all of my assessment. but however we got here, we are where we are. so, let me just say a few things about where we are, what we can expect, and let me make a few policy recommendations. first, the pause in military exchanges between the united states and iran is just that, a pause. iran is not standing down.
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it will continue to take military actions against the united states, i believe, as well as our allies. secondly, president trump was clear the united states -- that iran will never be able to have a nuclear weapon. this stance is welcome, but it is insufficient. iran must also be denied attaining what i would describe as a near nuclear capability. if it were to achieve such a capability, there's the danger at some point it would sprint to put together a small nuclear force and present the world with a fait accompli and the fact it may do this would be enough to persua persuade several of its neighbors to do the same. such a scenario would be a nightmare. the jcpoa was intended to lessen the odds such a scenario would
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come about. we can address the strengths and weaknesses of the jcpoa in detail. let me say one thing i know will come up about it. i understand the jcpao did not constrain iran's regional activities. some see that as a flaw. i would say arms control cannot be expected to accomplish everything, and if we insist it do so, we run the risk it will accomplish nothing. some things like pushing back against what iran is doing in the region, that's something we and our friends have to do for ourselves. that was the central lesson of the cold war. grand bargains seem to be perfect at the expense of the possible. let me just make a few recommendations -- and i know my short is growing short. one, the united states should work closely with its allies and other signatories of the jcpao to put together the outlines of a new agreement. call it jcpao 2.0 and present
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iran with a new deal. it would establish longer terms programs in exchange for sanctions relief. congress should approve any such agreement to remove the concern that this pact could be easily undone by any president, and such initiatives should emerge from consultation with allies. our policy toward iran has become overly unilateral and is less effective for it. this proposal should be specific, reasonable, and articulated in public. and i want to emphasize the latter. the reason it should be talked about publicly is we should pressure the government in tehran to explain to the iranian people why it rejects a fair proposal that would reduce sanctions and raise the standard of living for all iranians just so it can pursue its foreign policy and national security goals. and recent protests against the government against the backdrop of sanctions create a good context for such sincere public initiative.
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we must also understand that in the wake our exiting the jcpao and introducing new sanctions, we brought about a dangerous situation in which iran is slowly but steadily breaking out of the constraints of the accord. it will reduce the time it would need to construct nuclear weapons if it decides to do so. it is essential, i would argue, that iran understand the limits to what we are prepared to tolerate. this should be communicated to them and a message should be coordinated with our allies, our arab neighbors, and with israel. we should act immediately to repair our relationship with iraq. we do not want to open iraq to greater iranian influence, nor do we want to see a reconstitution of terrorism inside its borders. the threat of sanctions against iraq ought to be removed. so too should the threat to remain absent iraqi permission, a true presence that comes to be seen as an occupation will be forced to spend its time
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protecting itself and will be unable to partner with iraqi forces against terrorists. last but not least, let me make one other point about the need to accept political reality. regime change in iran is unlikely. the islamic republic is resilient. but even if this assessment one day proves wrong, there's no way of knowing that it will prove wrong or when it might. as a result, regime change cannot be the basis of u.s. strategy. it is beyond our capacity to engineer. and recent events around the region ought to have taught us that even when regime change happens, it's not necessarily a pant south korea ea in terms of afterwards. what we do need is a strategy and policies that consistent with that strategy. we should change iran's behavior to exchange an outcome
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acceptable to both countries and through our actions in the region to lead iran that it will fail if it continues to try to destabilize the middle east. thank you mr. chairman for this opportunity to appear here today. >> thank you very much. ms. haines. thank you. >> can you move the mic closer? >> absolutely. is that better? >> yes. >> thank you. so, i'm honored to be here today to discuss u.s. policy regarding iran and whether it is likely to discuss terms in the region. during my time in government our goals were to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and diminish and counter iran's threatening and destabilizing behavior from the arsenal to its dangerous use of regional proxies to human rights abuses at home all while avoiding a
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war. these are the right views and they are not dissimilar to those articulated by the current administration. i am concerned, however that the approach being taken right now including in particular the targeted killing of qassem soleimani in iraq is not one that well serves these goals. a fundamental pillar of u.s.-iran policy was the jcpao which was at the center of our efforts precisely because we realized that a nuclear armed iran would make the broader challenges harder to address. while not perfect, the jcpao cut off iran's pathways to acquiring a bomb and significantly constrained iran's nuclear program. the jcpao was never intepid pd to stand alone but was seen as part of a wider regional strategy that sought to destabilize the influence in the e john, strengthen the voices that were pushing back against the iranian government's threatening policies, and engage iran diplomatically while also putting pressure on the iranian
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regime to change iran's unacceptable behavior at home and abroad. walking away from the jcpoa and imposing new sanctions drove a wedge between the united states and our long term allies in europe. and while the pressure of those sapgss has been formidable, the result has been iran conducted actions in the gulf and restarted significant aspects of the suspended nuclear program. american partners are concerned with what they perceive to be unpredictable and escalatory behavior on part of both countries and have focused their efforts on trying to deescalate the situation. and meanwhile, the withdrawal from the jcpao strengthened hardline voices within tehran and we're without hope for a deal that would further restrict iran's program let alone other activities such as their
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ballistic missile program. this was predictable. economic pressure can as it did effect the domestic political calculus associated with making a deal. no iranian analyst will tell you that economic sanctions are likely to have a meaningful impact on the regime's capacity to destabilize the region. this is because the availability for resources for foreign proxies, a relatively small budget line item has never been a serious constraint. the jcpao was acting as a relative restraint by the iranian regime against the united states. instead, iran responded to this campaign with a series of stepped intended to put pressure on the united states including targeting american facilities and assets directly and through proxies. but instead of carefully managing the escalation by responding with measured necessary proportionate actions intended to effectively push back on such aggressive behavior
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by iran, to deescalate, the president stepped back and decided to respond in engaging in a targeting killing of iran's most powerful commander without the consent of our partners, the iraqis, nor seemingly any consultation. as many noted, soleimani was an enemy of the united states who backed various operations against the united states and is responsible for the killing of americans. but the question is not whether soleimani deserved his fate. the question is whether this was a wise action that served u.s. national interest and made us safer. the administration argued that the action was taken in self-defense to disrupt imminent attacks and was necessary to save lives. the comments of the secretary of defense appear to contradict that assertion and the action appears to have been taken to send a message to iranians and to disrupt further unspecified attacks. yet if that was the case, not only will our allies and partners view it as a violation
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of international law, but it is virtually impossible to understand why it was impractical for the president and his senior leadership to consult with congress, allies, and iraq before targeting soleimani in a military action that would be perceived by iran as an effective declaration of war by the united states. directly following the strike, we sent thousands of additional troops to the region to defend our people and assets in light of ongoing response to soleimani thereby putting more americans in harm's way. we have brought the fight against isil to a stand still with nato suspending its training mission on the ground in iraq and possible injection of our troops from the company. we've weakened those who supported the united states and lost standing in the region. iran announced it will move further away from the deal by restarting additionalmen elemen of its nuclear program and the
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united states is more isolated than ever. we need to invest in efforts with our allies and identify a plausible path forward toward negotiations while supporting a hope of a way forward to a scenario in which the administration finds itself facing the choice the jcpao was ine intended to avoid. that is the choice of either letting iran obtain a nuclear weapon or bombing iran and launching what could become a full scale war that the united states finds itself dragged into having forgotten the lessons of our path. thank you for all your work on these issues. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much. mr. hadley. can you pull your microphone closer, please.
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thank you. >> i've lost my testimony skills. i apologize. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. to provide context for today's hearing, i would like, if i may, to describe briefly what appears to me to have been the underlying dynamic that led to the recent confrontation between the united states and iran in iraq. in the fall of last year, iraqi citizens across the country demonstrated in massive numbers. they protested what they saw as the corruption, sectarianism, and ineffectiveness of their government. they protested the influence that iran exercised iraq both directly and through iranian-backed militias. at least two iranian consulates in iraq were attacked and burned. demonstrations even in the shia south called for iran to leave iraq chanting out, out iran. beginning last october, ke tab
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hezbollah began attacks on iraqi military bases hosting u.s. forces. i believe they would not have actsed without the approval of iranian forces in general and qassem soleimani in particular. i believe this was an effort to change the conversation within iraq and shift attention from the issue of iranian influence to the issue of the u.s. force presence and ultimately to get u.s. forces thrown out of iraq. the campaign escalated until a u.s. contractor was killed, at least four u.s. service personnel were wounded, and the u.s. embassy in baghdad was attacked and partially burned. some commentators will say that striking qassem soleimani, in doing so the united states fell into ka tab hezbollah's trap. but what was the alternative? the united states could not stand by while the military personnel were attacked and killed. u.s. administration clearly believed that striking soleimani
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was so unexpected and so significant both militarily and politically that it would cause iran to abandon its campaign against u.s. troops and diplomats in iraq. we should all hope that it has that effect. the problem was that the strike occurred in iraq. the fear of becoming the central battleground in a military confrontation between the united states and iran is being used to justify calls for the expulsion of u.s. forces from iraq. but a u.s. withdrawal would only reward hezbollah's campaign of violence, strengthen the government, undermine sovereignty, and jeopardize the fight against isis, a terrible outcome for both the united states and iraq. to keep u.s. forces in iraq, iraqi tho iraqi authorities will have to manage the fall out from the strike on soleimani. u.s. administration and the congress can help by making public statements reaffirming
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that america respects the sovereignty and independence of iraq, that u.s. forces are in iraq to train iraqi security forces and to help them protect the iraqi people from a resurgent isis, that the united states will coordinate with the iraqi government on the u.s. troop presence, that so long as u.s. troops and diplomats in iraq are not threatened, america's confrontation with iran will not be played out on iraqi territory, and that the united states supports the iraqi people for a government meeting their needs and expectations and free of corruption and outside influence. after iran's recent missile attacks in retaliation for the strike on soleimani, both iran and the united states appear to have stood down militarily. despite some tough, uncompromising statements, both sides have said they want to avoid war and have left the door open for negotiations.
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neither iran nor the united states appears positioned or inclined to mount a diplomatic initiative. so, that role must be played by third parties. the european countries that participated in the jcpao nuclear deal, america's regional allies, and even russian president vladimir putin are all potential candidates. iran's policy is going nowhere. reignite the massive public demonstrations that iran put down last fall only with brutal force. iran's leaders in the past have been pragmatic when their hold on power was threatened. however, grudgingly, they may decide that negotiations are the least bad option. for its part, the u.s. administration still says that its goal is to begin negotiations to address iran's nuclear ballistic missile and regional activities. now may be the time to give diplomacy the chance. thank you. >> thank you very much,
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mr. hadley. this committee has received a lot of conflicting information about the killing of general soleimani, but we have not received any evidence showing that this strike or any other strike was necessary to prevent an imminent attack. never mind an attack on four u.s. embassies as the president is now claiming. to make matters worse, secretary of defense esper says he doesn't have any evidence of threats against our embassies either. so, ms. haines as someone with significant experience, does it make sense to you that a military air strike would be planned and carried out if the secretary of defense was unclear about why it was needed? does it make sense to you that if the strike was indeed necessary to save four embassies from attack the administration officials would have left this out of their official justifications? and shouldn't we have heard
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about a variety of demonstrable steps at those embassies to prepare for an attack? what do you make of these claims by the president, ms. haines? >> thank you, chairman. i do think the number of conflicting comments being made by senior administration officials about whether or not there was, in fact, any threat and the degree of the threat that was being faced are really concerning. and i think all of you obviously have access to classified information that i don't have access to and i can't tell you whether or not there's some story there that provides a basis for the action that was taken. but what's in the public realm does not add up to imminence as i have understood it and as i've applied it both as a lawyer and a policy maker within government. and i think it is particularly important when you take an action like this to be as
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transparent and frankly to have as consistent of a message coming out of the government about why it is that we felt it was absolutely necessary to take this action. and that's true not just from a legal matter but really from a policy perspective which is to say that our allies and partners are watching us and trying to understand why it is that we took this action, why we thought it was absolutely necessary. and so as has been noted i think repeatedly by all of us, so has iraq, wondering why that is. and we would not have had the legal basis for taking an action against soleimani in iraq without their consent, without it being an imminent threat. and they want to know what that imminent threat is. and nothing that's been said really backs that up. thank you, sir. >> thank you. as i mentioned before, i won't mourn the loss of qassem soleimani. he was a bad guy. he the blood of our military and thousands of syrian civilians on his hands.
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he fuelled the yemen civil war and fuelled hezbollah. what concerned me about the escalation against iran was how it seemed to overlook unintended but predictable consequences. dr. haass, you outlined several consequences in your testimony from iran's withdrawal under constraints with the nuclear deal to a possible premature u.s. departure from iraq. so, let me ask you this: what should the trump administration do to deescalate regional tensions? and what could the administration do to help ease the tensions with iran and move toward diplomacy? >> well, thank you, sir. i actually think there's something of an opportunity now for the diplomacy. steve hadley ended his statement saying this was the time. i think the sanctions have had much more of an effect than
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people predicted. i've done several books on sanctions and i underestimate it quite honestly, what unilateral sanctions in this regard could accomplish. i think also the ukrainian air strategy has built on already discontent within iran the sense that the government there is putting too much into guns and not enough into butter. up to now, we haven't really given the iranians a diplomatic option. secretary pompeo's may 2018 speech to me was -- had all the features of an ambitious grand bargain. it took it as a non-starter. to me it was tantamount to regime change or capitulation. i think what we should do, it could have been done if we stayed in the jcpao, would be to get extension of sunset
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provisions. but that's over now. i think we should go public with a modified agreement. and we can decide whether the constraints on nuclear activity, centrifuges and enriched uranium are open ended for three decades, four decades, what have you. we can decide whether to bring missiles into it which i would do. and i think we ought to talk about the degree of explicit sanctions relief iran -- that would accrue to iran if they were to sign up to that kind of agreement. and i think we would find the allies would support us. indeed today's newspapers have stories about the allies being concerned about iran's break out from the jcpoa. so, i think we would have significant multilateral backing there. and i think even the russians and chinese would be attracted to something that would be diplomatic and change the momentum. so, i think the time is right to put forward an initiative.
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and again, i think, you know, there's an interesting episode in iranian history which is the late '80s and the then supreme leader accepted an outcome to the iran-iraq war that he said he would never accept. he said this is like poison to me. but the supreme leader accepted it because he thought it was essential at the time to save the 1979 revolution. and it's just possible that we are approaching a moment in iranian history where these sanctions are having sufficient impact where there might be a greater willingness in the part of the iranian authorities to compromise, particularly with the pressure from below in the street. i could be wrong. i don't know. but i would test it. and i think we ought to put forward a diplomatic initiative, and i think that will be clarified. we'll learn a lot about this iranian government and the current context about whether there's the possibility of a deal. if not, then we can deal with the consequences about how we deal with their nuclear,
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missile, and regional programs. but let's put out there a diplomatic initiative that might be accepted. if not, it will at least be clarifying. >> thank you very much. mr. mccall. >> thank you, mr. chairman. really since the maximum pressure campaign was launched, we've seen a more and more provocative iran. you know, since last october, mr. hadley talked about mounting strikes, one against a u.s. drone. i remember being in the white house debating what the response should be. many in the room believed there should be a response, that that's all the iranians would understand. yet are the president didn't do that. he stepped back. he showed great restraint and decided not to respond. and he got some criticism for doing that. then as months went on, strikes
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continued to mount, culminating in attack on our embassy. and at some point in the killing of american soldiers, at some point i believe a response is necessary when our embassy is attacked. the final tipping point i believe for the president to have to make this decision -- and i agree, mr. chairman, it could be a little clearer and i think we could declassify a little more of this to put it out in the open, you know, with the american people, not jeopardizing assets on the ground. but, soleimani's traveling to damascus and lebanon and ending up in baghdad meeting with his number two guy. remember the red line is an american being killed says the president. so, soleimani's seeing this. he's meeting in baghdad. then he's going to fly to tehran and meet with the ayatollah, in my judgment to get the green light to start the operation.
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some say days. some say weeks. regardless of the timing, the president did nothing and this whole scenario had played out where hundreds of americans and diplomats are killed in our embassy and bases and possibly another 1979 where diplomats are taken hostage, then what? so, mr. hadley, can you answer the question of the significance of the strike on soleimani and whether that provides any deterrence to iranians? >> i think that's the administration's hope. i think the run up is very much as you described it. i don't know what imminent means in many contexts but it seems we were in an escalating meeting and it sounds imminent enough to me to justify a strike. i think the purpose of the strike was, as you described, to try to deter the iranians from
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continuing up this escalatory ladder that was going to put more men and women, american men and women and iraqis at risk. that's what they tried to do. i think the statements that secretary pompeo then made thereafter, that if there was escalation by the iranians, even targets in iran were not off the table was again an effort to try to re-establish deterrence, prevent this from escalating to war, and open the door for a negotiating track which the administration has said for some time they're open to. that's i think one of the things that joins all three witnesses here is that's what we hope is the next step here. we think there is an opportunity and we ought to try to take add van ta vantage of it. >> thank you, that was my next question. i think all three of you agree with the pivot, if you will. we saw the response from iran was a face-saving measure in my judgment, no casualties, thank
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god. and then everybody took a step back. and it deescalated. that's the good news. i do see this as a window of opportunity now to exercise diplomacy. and he talked about nato as well. maybe for the three of you very shortly with my time, what would this diplomacy look like moving forward? >> i think primarily it is actually putting forward what it is that the administration would be interested in reaching a deal on. i think that's a critical aspect of the next step of diplomacy. right now i think what has been described is really a non-starter. i don't think -- i suspect none of us would disagree on that point with the iranians. and i think one of the challenges that's going to -- that the administration will face at this point is actually getting the iranians to the point of being willing to engage
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in discussions in light of what they've put on the table as such a non-starter. so, i think there's got to be a process that you need to start to pull them in essentially in order to do this. thank you. can i also respond to your earlier point? i don't think that anybody thinks that we shouldn't have responded at all to iran. i think the real concern is the way that this response was done. in other words, the wait -- in some respects the stepping back encouraged them to do more instead of having a response that was done early on. then when there was a response, it was so escalatory that i think it created a situation that makes it more challenging to go down this road now than it was before. >> the chairman and i do agree the world is safer without this man. he was a mastermind of terror. he killed a lot of americans and soldiers like mr. mast in front of me who doesn't have his legs anymore. for that i don't have a lot of
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sympathy for the man. with that, i yield back. >> thank you, mr. sherman. >> mr. pompeo's absence today is the loudest testimony. it speaks volumes. it shows the secretary of state cannot defend the decision-making process that led us to this point, cannot defend a process in which apparently the president did not hear from experts on what effect this would have on politics in iraq. apparently, the president did not focus as dr. haass pointed out the importance of the iranian street and the willingness of the iranian people to endure these sanctions rather than to demand that their government change or that they change their government. apparently the president heard from no creating --
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he cannot defend a process in which congress is not told in classified briefing that four embassies were targeted, but he's free to tell a rally in toledo. the only defense there might have been that he might have been lying in toledo. so, the secretary's failure to come here speaks quite loudly about a presidential decision-making process that was shallow, simplistic, and disdainful. the effect of this attack was to undermine our support in iraq, and it was to strengthen the regime in iran and allow it to continue its policies not withstanding our sanctions. int unpredicted event occurred. we helped the regime by creating one martyr. the regime just created 176
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martyrs. ukraine air 752 was shot down, and now the regime has arrested a few people, we don't know whom, or at least i don't know whom. they will try to focus on some enlisted man who pushed a button with only ten seconds to make a decision. what they will try not to focus on is the ministerial level decision not to ground or even alter civilian air traffic knowing that they had put their air defense system on hair trigger alert. and what they know they won't focus on is the decision by the top regime officials to lie to the iranian people when they knew the truth. i'll ask any witness, but particularly mr. hadley -- and i know we were talking about this
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earlier. a more authoritarian regime might have lied to its people longer. but i think it's clear to the world that the plan they had was to lie. and then there was just too much evidence in the hands of ukrainians and others. who -- could the decision to lie to the iranian people and keep lying and keep lying as more and more evidence got to the top leadership, could that have been made by anyone other than at the highest levels of the iranian government? >> i don't -- i don't think we know how this sorted out. clearly, the irgc which is a very powerful force in the iranian administration, in the iranian government, was going to take the fall for this because it was their forces that essentially shot down the airplane. and unfortunately, it's a very natural human reaction to sort
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of lie and deny when you've been caught in a bad action. and i think that was their reaction. i think it's going to be very interesting to watch -- >> but would not the supreme leader have known within 24 hours of the downing of the plane that, in fact, iranian forces had brought it down? >> i don't know. i can't answer that question. >> and does anyone here know who the iranians have arrested so far, at what level or rank? i believe my time has expired. >> thank you, mr. sherman. mr. smith. >> thank you mr. chairman according to abc news, mark milley said the attack on the iraqi base that killed the u.s. contractor and wounded several u.s. and iraqi forces was designed and intended to kill. soleimani approved it. i know that 100%, he said.
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he also said as my colleague and ranking member said a moment ago that not to have acted would have been culpably negligent. soleimani was a lawful military objective. and of course, mr. hadley today you said the u.s. could not just stand by while the military and diplomatic personnel were attacked and killed. mr. chairman, soleimani, let's not forget this, is directly responsible for killing over 600 americans and disabling thousands more. he's directly responsible for massive death and injury of civilians in the region. he was a mass murderer. in the last two months alone he orchestrated 11 attacks on u.s. troops in iraq killing an american contractor as we know. mr. chairman and mr. haass, one of your colleagues said that according to the council or foreign relations, no president, we're talking about president
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obama, used drone strikes more than president obama who ordered 542 drone strikes killing an estimated 3,797 people including 324 civilians. they weren't as high a target. they weren't of mass murderer of the caliber and of the degrading influence that soleimani has had both in the region and in his own country. 1,500 people that were killed protesting, demanding democracy, demanding a change. they showed them no mercy. he showed them no mercy. let me just ask a question if i could in regards to the money that was gleaned by iran as a result of the iranian, american, and european nuclear arms deal. i asked secretary lou back in july of 2015 how much are we really talking about? the bbc recently said it was 100
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billion with a b. "new york times" suggested it was 100 b. he suggested close to 58 or 59 billion. i don't know what it is. we don't have a clear sense of that. but that's a lot of money if that's how much it was. so, my question is how much money did iran actually get? how much of that was deployed to fund terrorism, including the procurement of weapons to pay the irgc troops, the quds force which has massively expanded their operations? did soleimani and other terrorists personally benefit when all of that money was sent in crates, on pallets, 1.7 billion smaller bills, who got that money? where did it go? i've asked that question. many of my colleagues have asked that question. did it fund terrorism? when he answered the question -- again, this is secretary lou.
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he said, and i quote, we can't say there won't be any more money going to malign purposes. secretary kerry has said similar things. how much? i mean, to give such massive amounts of money to mass murderers, terrorists, that's unconscionable in my view. how much? can anybody speak to that with any kind of clarity? >> okay. so, this idea that billions of dollars, you know, came out of the deal were then used to launch ballistic missiles or to, you know, fund irgc, et cetera, is patently untrue. >> so, none of that money has been used for that. >> let me finish my answer and i'll give you the thing. in return for permanent and verify able halt to iran's nuclear program, the united states along with our p 5 plus 1 partners provided relief of nuclear related sanctions to iran. but even senior trump
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administration officials conceded that the vast majority of iran's unfrozen funds, so funds that were theirs that we had frozen that then they were able to access, went to domestic requirements, right, including debt servicing. and what's more, even at the height of international sanctions, tehran amply funded the irgc and its proxies. so, it's certainly not the case that iran needed unfrozen funds in order to sustain their activities fafrmt fr activities. far from it. they have a small budget and making it sustainable, they built hezbollah. >> let me ask you this, how much of the money was diverted to the procurement of weapons from russia, for example, surface to air missiles do we know? >> i don't know. >> does anybody on the panel know? >> the point is they could conduct without that money. >> more money means you can do more of it. >> if you get money, it can be used for whatever purpose you
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want. i think it is important to say that a lot of the funds you're talking about, all of them, were iranian. i would like to focus on the first thing you said. i actually think you've opened up what is something that hasn't been talked about in the narrow debate about imminence. if imminence wasn't met or as the president tweeted, if imminence doesn't matter, then the only rationale for what the united states did was either prevention which is an open ended thing. we don't want certain things to happen whenever they might. or it's retaliation for what soleimani had done in the past. if we are talking about justifying american military, use of military force for either prevention or for retaliation, that is something -- that is basically called war. that is why we fight wars. we want to prevent things or we want to retaliate. again, imminence is preifrpgs.
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it's when you hit a missile just when it's about to be launched. you get an airplane when it's about to take off. but to do retaliation prechventn is a big step. i'm not saying it's wrong. it's just a big step. it's the kind of thing we would do against iran if all of our arms controls fell, iran was developing a new clear arms program and we said we have to stop it. it's the kind of thing that israel did against both iraq and syria. those were preventive strikes. all i'm saying i think for congress and for this committee, as i understand the aums and all that, we do not at the moment authority to carry out preventive -- >> i know my time is over, but jane johnson said that soleimani was a lawful military objective. you don't agree? >> i do not agree because -- >> he was in baghdad. >> he was an agent -- he's an
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agent of a state, of a country. if he were simply working for a terrorist organization, then we have all the authorities we want. but as an official of the iranian government who's using terrorist-like tactics -- >> he was designated as a terrorist under the obama administration. >> but i have questions about the validity of that. we have to be careful. he is an agent of -- i'm not saying he was right or wrong. all i'm saying is it's a big step and we should think about -- we may want to do it, we may not want to do it. but the idea of using military force for preventive or retaliatory reasons against officials of the iranian government is a big step for the united states. and i think it's something that this committee and the congress more broadly want to contemplate the pros and cons of doing it. >> thank you, dr. haass. let me say before i call on mr. meeks that it really is false to compare the legality of strikes against al quaeda including against osama bin
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laden with the killing of iranian officials because congress specifically authorized strikes against al quaeda after 9/11. we've never authorized strikes against iran. and to say otherwise is just not factually correct. let me call on mr. meeks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, dr. haass because that's exactly where i was going to start by thought because clearly the administration initially thought that they did not have the authority to do the strike other than utilizing the fact that there was an imminent threat. if they thought they had other avenues of which to justify, they would not have said as they did over the first couple of days that they did it because there was an imminent threat. and the president then saying there were four embassies or he thought four embassies were going to be threatened. so, for me, when you talk about
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assassination of general soleimani, it was not to stop an imminent iranian attack against the united states. nothing that i have seen in classified settings or otherwise has shown me one shred of support for the president's initial claim that there were such a threat. given conflicting explanations coming out of the administration about the killing of soleimani, it is particularly striking to me, first of all, that secretary pompeo is not here today to speak directly to this committee. over and over again we see from the trump administration a clear disregard for congressional oversight responsibilities as an equal branch of government. and with this escalation of hostilities in the middle east, we see other consistent patterns. there's no strategy. there's conflicting stories. and there's even down right lies. i have disagreed with actions of previous administrations when it
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came to acts of military aggression that set us on the course for war. but i have to say this. at least they showed up for those actions to produce a case. this administration does not even have the guts to make the case for what it did, whether it was pre-emptive, preventive, defensive, or simply retaliation. congress must have the facts surrounding this assassination. our men and women in uniform deserve the facts. the american people deserve the facts. congress demands those facts in the face of impulsive actions by the president of the united states. president trump may have infatuation for as we've seen during his course of office for dictators and authoritarian governments, but we have neither of those in the united states of america. and congress and the american people must get answers. the list of actions that are legally and strategically questionable continue to pile up
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in this administration. and yet they still refuse to provide clear and honest answers. pulling out of the jcpoa, no strategy. abandoning the kurds, no strategy. specific benefit of assassinating soleimani, no strategy. suggesting that the u.s. will destroy culture sites in iran, no strategy. denying iran's foreign minister a visit to the un, no strategy. suggesting that we will punish iraq if it follows through on expelling our military, no strategy. we need answers. were the u.s. embassies in jeopardy of attack or not? what do the american people need to know about talks with iran facilitated by switzerland? what happened in yemen? and what happens now that we have, by this strike, diverted the attention away from the fight against isis? reports indicate acknowledge of our allies that focuses -- that the focus has shifted at least
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for now. so, dr. haass -- and then i hear the president is now saying that nato should be more involved whether or not there was questions or whether or not he informed any of our nato allies before this strike what he was going to do or why he was going to do it, et cetera, we don't know. but going to our allies after the fact seems to me to be questionable also. so, i would like to know from your estimation, sir, what specific role could and should nato play with respect to the middle east and the persian gulf given the united states withdrawal from the jcpoa, and what parameters are necessary before the appliance considers operations in the regions working collectively together as one? >> well, thank you, sir. as a first accept, it's not nato but would involve nato to consult with the jcpoa what i
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call 2.0 some future initiative and to also consult about how we would respond in terms of sanctions to gradual iranian break out of the 2015 agreement. that ought to be a u.s.-european undertaking. i also think we ought to be consulting with saudi arabia, israel, and others about how we deal with the possibility that iran will directly or indirectly undertake other military actions around the region. i do not want to see a repeat, for example, the sort of thing we saw when the saudi oil installations were attacked and we don't respond. i think that attacked and we didn't respond. i think that erodes deterrence. in terms of nato more formally this is an out of area mission. the question is whether it's protecting oil traffic, one can imagine some joint efforts to protect certain countries in the region. again, it would be a big out of area undertaking for nato. but there's no reason we ought to do this unilaterally. i think we have a much better chance of getting nato to do something like this,
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if it were done in the larger context of being coupled with the diplomatic initiative. >> thank you. out of time. >> thank you, mr. meeks. mr. chairman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. many in the mainstream media and my colleagues on the other side have been critical of the president's actions in taking out soleimani, said it's irresponsible, war-like and he wants to start another war. i would argue, as a ranking member said a little while ago, i think this president's responses to iranian aggression has been very restrained, whether it was shooting down our drone or attacks on international shipping or their overall general aggression in the region. this president has not taken significant military action. even in this case. it
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was very targeted. it was decisive. it was justified. i would argue long overdue when one considers how much blood, american blood and others that this monster had on his hands. it's good he's dead. and it's good there wasn't significant collateral damage. i think this president showed great responsibility and i think we should be proud of the action he took. with that said, there are ongoing protests now and accelerated protests really because of the airliner being shot down by the iranians. and the previous administration, of course, got some criticism when during the green movement, when the people were protesting and they were put down most viciously and aggressively by
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the iranian government at the time and there should have been a more significant american response. of course, the argument against it is then the government uses that against the people that are protesting and said you're in cahoots with the americans or whatever. protesting is ongoing now and i think all of us, certainly most of us, would like to support that, but i would be interested since we have a distinguished panel of experts here as to what is the best way for us and our allies, the free world to support these protesters? because as the president has said, his beef is with this government which represses the iranian people. not the iranian people. we're on their side but the people. mr. hadley and we'll just go down the line. >> it's a very good question. it's
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tricky, because one of the things authoritarian regimes do when there are demonstrations against them is to blame it on outside powers. >> right. >> so anything we will say will be used as evidence that, aha, the americans are behind these demonstrations and to try to discredit them. that being said, i think the administration is right, and prior administrations have tried to make it clear that we are on the side of the iranian people for a government that is more accountable, a government that is paying attention to their needs, that provides better prosperity, security and a brighter future for them. we ought to be very clear about that. and at the same time, disparaging them by saying the government, by saying instead of operations in syria, lebanon, iraq, the iranian government ought to be taking care of people at home. we ought to make that very clear. and the third thing we ought to make clear is that and i think we can, and hopefully get other countries to join us in this.
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there is no justification for a government to use lethal force against peaceful demonstrators. that's a general principle we all should subscribe to. hopefully, that will defer further crackdown on their own people. >> thank you very much. miss haines? >> thank you. i fully agree with what mr. hadley has said. and would say on that last point, too, that one of the things that the administration could be doing now is working with other partners and allies to reinforce that message in order to create the deterrence on that point. i think another thing, honestly, that i believe the administration could do to support the iranian people is to lift the ban on visas essentially. so allowing common iranians to come into the united states, actually, is critical for us in developing those relationships and in promoting and understanding
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better the iranian people and giving them a voice on these issues. thank you. >> thank you very much. dr. haas? >> agree with both all the statements by my two colleagues here. i would think that again we should, with an initiative that specifically promises sanctions relief that would help the iranian people if only their government would change their ways. it needs to be in public. that would help. i also believe it would help if we were consistent. it looks too opportunistic for the united states to simply single out repression in iran. last i checked it's going on in a lot of other countries around the world. there's been a democratic recession over the last decade and a half. and it would look if we stand up for the iranian people and it's part of a consistent policy, it will be taken much more that this is not regime change by another name. so if we stand up and are critical of what the
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chinese are doing, what russia is doing, what's happening in the philippines, what's happened in saudi arabia. we can go around the world. unfortunately, there's too many places these days. if we stand up and make it clear this is a larger policy that we stand for people's rights everywhere, that will be much better received within iran. >> thank you. mr. deutsch? >> thank you, mr. chairman. we appreciate the esteemed experts being here today. it is shameful, mr. chairman, that the secretary of state is not sitting before us to answer the questions of the american people. this administration may disregard congress as a co-equal branch of government but i would remind the secretary that we are the elected representatives of the american people. the president, who has given more information to fox news than members of congress. with each new piece of information the story gets more and more confusing. conflict ing
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statements should give all americans pause. not pause as to whether or not soleimani was a bad man who deserved his fate. of course he was and he did. but pause to question whether this action makes us safer today and in the long run. and to question whether we can believe what the president says in the context of our national security. it is beyond offensive that some, including the united states, suggest that by asking for verification after a significant military escalation somehow members of congress who swore an oath to this country are defending a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of americans. we have a solemn duty to know that if we are sending american men and women into harm's way we are doing so because it is the only way to preserve our national security. it is our
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most solemn duty as elected representatives, and i cannot understand why anyone is surprised that we might want to ask some questions when such an abrupt and escalatory action is taken. now my record on this committee going after iran's maligned activities and terrorism worldwide speaks to itself as has the chairman and many others who have spent a decade to prevent spreading terrorism, and violating the rights of its own people. our colleagues on the other side of the aisle understand that i, they know that, and i am sure that none of them today would suggest that any of us, any of us here is on the side of terrorists. every one of us today is committed to strengthening our national security. members of congress know that. the white house knows it. and they ought to act accordingly, in word, in action
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and on twitter. dr. haas, as you've said, we are where we are now. soleimani is dead. the house has spoken on the president's authority to start war with iran. and it still cracks down on protesters and violates the human rights of its people. so in this current reality, in the absence of any real international coalition or negotiations, what immediate steps can be taken to address these threats and what do we make of the europeans decision to trigger that dispute mechanism in the jcpoa to hold iran accountable to its commitments? does that present an opening to rebuilding this coalition? >> the news about
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the europeans is good news. it suggests to me we're not alone here. concern about iran's behavior, nuclear, missile and regional is widespread. the jcpoa was a collective effort. it's not too late, i think, to revival multi-lateralism here. that's very serious. all of us have worked with the europeans on this issue and they were not dragged along, kicking and screaming. in many cases they were ahead of us. so i think we've got real partners there in dealing with iran, and i think there would be tremendous support for some type of initiative that built on the jcpoa and extended some of the constraints on iran, again in exchange for a degree of sanctions relief. i actually think there would be a lot of openness to that idea. i think what we were just talking about a minute ago, there's tremendous concern about human rights and political situation in iran. so i think we will
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find that we're knocking on an open door there and some type of a collective effort. i would work on that front. the other thing i think you heard from all three of us is the importance of repairing the u.s. /iraqi relationship. i mean, think about it. qassem soleimani's principle goal was to drive the united states out of iraq. why in the world would we want to facilitate his success there after his death? we ought to make sure that doesn't happen. and steve hadley gave, i thought thought, a lot of good ideas we could signal a healthy iraqi government, manage iraqi politics. we could also look at some creative things. when i was in the pentagon years ago, when we were building what became central command we used to look at the idea of presence without stationing. there's a way to have a regular force presence without necessarily having forces be permanent. this may help the iraqi government manage the politics of it without a serious dimunition of our capabilities.
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it may be impossible to go back to where we were with iraq but it's got to be a strategic priority of the united states we ought to not let that happen. it need not happen. we don't want to see groups like isis start up again, basically resume their business. we made so much progress in iraq. whatever you thought of the 2003 war. we made a lot of progress there. to throw it away over this seems, to me, really self defeating and counterproductive. it's not too late. but we need to get on it. >> thank you, dr. haas. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. deutch. mr. wilson? >> thank you, mr. chairman. last week, senator joe lieberman, a democrat, provided an extraordinary op-ed in "the wall street journal." i quote, president trump's order to take out soleimani was morally, constitutionally and strategically correct. no
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american can dispute that soleimani created, supported and directed a network of terrorist organizations that spread havoc in the middle east. in syria, more than 500,000 syrians have died. during the iraq war, soleimani oversaw three camps in iran. they trained fighters who have killed more than 600 american troops. the claim that president trump had no authority to order this attack without constitutional approval is constitutionally untenable and practically senseless. authority to act quickly to eliminate a threat to the u.s. is inherent. democrats should leave partisan politics at the water's edge and stand together against iran and dangerous leaders like soleimani, end of quote. senator joe lieberman, i'm really grateful. he tells the truth. mr. hadley, i'm particularly grateful that you actually cited the murder of
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mr. hamid. he was an iraqi american contractor of muslim faith. he was killed december 27th, just two weeks ago, a californian killed by the missile attacks of the militias directed by soleimani. keeping that in mind, i see positive coming. and mr. hadley, it's encouraging to me to so see that our appreciated european allies are changing their policies on sanctioning of iranian authoritarians. what progress do you see in that regard? >> it is interesting, as you point out, that the europeans that is, france, germany and the uk, indicated that they were going to go to the united nations to raise the issue of iraqi of iranian noncompliance and potentially start a process
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that would involve the springing back of the sanctions that were relieved as part of the jcpoa nuclear deal. how far that will go, we don't know. you know, the europeans are try ing without joining the administration's policy of maximum pressure are nonetheless trying to preserve that nuclear agreement and to try to keep iran abiding by its terms. and i think that one of the dramas that this committee will want to keep an eye on going forward is if iran does continue its gradual progression to no longer observe the limits of that agreement and the time between now and when it can get the nuclear material necessary to make a nuclear weapon reduces from a year to months and maybe weeks, there will be calls for a military action by the united states. there will be calls, i
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think, within israel. and it is one of the issues, i think, that this committee needs to think about in advance. you're entitled to information about past actions. i think the committee has an opportunity to do some deliberations about what is the frame with work that should be in place in the event that iran moves in that direction. >> i appreciate raising the threats to israel. we know that it's iran that has placed tens of thousands of rockets with hezbollah and lebanon to challenge and threaten the people of israel. they placed tens of thousands of rockets in gaza with hamas to threaten the people of israel. what role would soleimani have played in supporting these terrorist organizations? >> soleimani was a government official in the government of iran, that is
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true. he was also the mastermind of these terrorist militias that iran supported. and he was behind the creation of hezbollah, which was one of his great he would say one of his great creations. a presence in southern lebanon that poses a real danger to lebanon. to israel. so he was more than a government official. he was really the master mind of one of the most successful terrorist operations there has ever been. and i think there's very little question that as a matter of defense he got his just desserts. >> and it seems inconceivable to me to hear that there should be an immunity for persons because they are a leader of the world's number one sponsor of terrorism. they should be a target. the president acted correctly, protect ing
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protecting iraqi families, american families, but muslim families first. >> thank you for your with wonderful work on the council. >> thank you for your dues. >> what's that? >> thank you for your due. >> make sure i'm current, will you? my good friend from south carolina, if we follow his logic, we'll be assassinating lots of bad people all over the world because apparently that's all we need. if they're bad people and they're responsible or can be tied to the deaths of americans or allied citizens, it's wild west. we go out and kill them. by the way, without a howdy-doo from congress or any inherent rationalization to congress or the american people and the consequences be. let's not even talk about the consequences. sometimes somebody can be a bad actor that in an ideal world we might want to take out but we have to look at consequences of doing so, none of which happened in this case. that's why we're
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having this hearing. i understand that wanting to justify or defend - the president's actions we might get carried away a little bit, but i don't know, dr. haas, if you want to comment. i'm one of these people who looks at the fact that article one in the constitution is about the powers of congress. and it's article one, not article eight for a reason. the right of the constitution, our founders felt that war and peace was in congress'hands, not commander in chief. the commander in chief follows only after congress acts on matters of war and peace. in the modern world we've advocated that power time and time again because we like having it both ways. that doesn't mean that the president gets unvetted power to make these kinds of decisions without consultation with congress. is that a fair
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statement, do you think, dr. haas? >> let me -- i'm close to it. there's fundamental between taking out a member of a terrorist organization and take out an individual who is an official of a nation state who happens to use terrorist organizations to promote what the state sees as its agenda. i'm not saying it's necessarily wrong. i'm saying it's a big step. we crossed a line here. so i think one thing this committee needs to think about is when it looks at aumfs, none is on the books that allow us to do this as best i understand. i think it's a legitimate question to say do we need to think about aumf where iran would use military force to promote its ends and also the one that steve hadley and i have talked about, the gathering threat on the iranian nuclear side. let's say we get
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intelligence that iran is a week or month away. >> let me interrupt you there. i listened to dr. hadley with great interest. i don't think his analysis is wrong about after the fact. what dr. hadley, at least in this set of remarks, did not mention was who ripped up the jcpoa? it wasn't iran. it was president donald j. trump. and that did not make the world safer. it made it more dangerous. it meant we lost all leverage over iran, other than sanctions, and they had nothing left to lose. how can we surprised that they are now deciding, based on the economic pain they're experiencing, because we reimposed sanctions, that they're going to use the one big lever they've got, namely the nuclear development program, which is exactly the outcome i thought we and the israeli government wanted to avoid. >> i don't think we can be surprised. as i said in my statement, we practiced economic warfare. they can't respond symmetrically. they respond asymmetrically with the only kind of warfare they
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provide. coming back to this committee, i don't think war powers is something that solves this question. i do think the front door of aums, for whatever range we're thinking about for iran, is a subject worthy of your -- >> i'm going to run out of time. the assertion has been made the world is a safer place without soleimani in it, it's been said many times. what about the other side of that coin? perhaps we've made the world a more dangerous place, not only for americans but for the region. >> again as i said, no one mourns his departure, but the question of whether we are safer, i myself have concluded that we are not, that this was not a wise course of action. and i thought there were better ways to restore deterrence if that was one of our goals, rather than opening up the kind of scenario i fear we may have opened up here. >> and just in terms of timing, and then i'll
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end, mr. chairman. while we're claiming it's a safer world with soleimani not in it, we evacuated iraq for all americans. we gave a direction to all american civilians in iraq to leave the country. is that correct? >> i don't know the details of the state department warning, sir. i just don't know the explicit nature of who was advised. >> right after it happened the state department urged all americans, civilians, to leave iraq immediately, whether by air or by land, and put americans in the region on high alert. so much for a safer world. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. connolly. mr. perry? >> thank you, mr. chairman. anybody on the panel believe that iran is
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seeking a peaceful nuclear program for which to general rate power, medical devices, et cetera? anybody on the panel believe that? hello? >> if you want a verbal answer my short answer is no. i think they want to keep the option of having a military program very much alive. >> any reason to have a heavy water reactor and enrich plutonium if you're going to have a civilian nuclear program? any reason at all? yes, ma'am. >> i have the same view dr. haas. is there a difference between what you're describing, a peaceful program, with which no one believes iran is doing this for peaceful reasons, medical isotopes versus a decision to, actually pursue a nuclear weapon, which is the space we're in right now and we've been trying to manage, in effect. >> mr. hadley? >> we know from intelligence that up
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until 2003, iran had a covert nuclear weapon program and covert military-run enrichment capability to feed that program, and that they gave it up in 2003 when, after the u.s. invasion in iraq. they thought they were next. and it raises this point that iran has responded to threats to the regime, to change its policy. i think that's what you saw when they gave up their formal nuclear weapon program in 2003 and i think they have continued in infrastructure that's continued and they kept that alive. >> do any of you know what's happening in the nuclear program in the military installations and sites that are not inspected by any outside or international agency? none of you know? they could be ready right now for as much as
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you know, right? they could be ready right now. you can't say they're not, right? we don't think they are, but you can't say they're not. my point is that they're doing this and they're going to do this. and over the course of much of my lifetime, we sat back and watched them do this, and hoped they would stop. right? i don't know if any of you have read the warning to the west, but we don't like confrontation. we hope that it will just be copesetic if we talk to them and be's "the warning of the west. " we hope for them to be nice. they won't be nice. we are fools to believe anything other than that. i know my good friend from virginia said that, "well, it is a new thing for america to go around killing people that we disagree with and don't like." i know he's
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not here. i am fascinated by the fact that there were 526 counter terrorism strikes under the last administration. you know we heard in the committee about that? the human cry. article one, article two, the presidential powers. who does he think he is? you know what we heard? we heard nothing. we were killing terrorists and thank god we were killing terrorists. people in this body, people in this building, people in this town sent people to war knowing this guy walking around kaukt conducting strikes on americans and killing people and innocent people and combatant americans and etcetera and did nothing. did nothing. the people in this building and the people in this town should be ashamed of themselves. they should be it is despicable and unthinkable to me. this guy is a murder, a terrorist. what about the
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consequences? well, we are escalating. do you folks know the last two months, 24 separate attacks on america or america's interests in november/december of 2019. wake up everybody? what will it take? how many more lives americans have to leave iraq because soleimani was killed. oh, you can stay and take your chances chlts chances. you can do that. this is absurd. this hearing is absurd and the subject is absurd. and quite honestly the comments from many of the people in this place have never put on the boots and carried their weapons and defended their country. we have put people lives at risk knowing so well because we did not do the right thing to protect them. i yield back. >> miss bass. >> thank you very much mr. chair. i want to focus my questions on our relationship with iraq.
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wanting mr.dr. haas, you did begin to respond to that, i want to ask other witnesses if they would as well given what has happened, what's our current state of relationship with iraq? >> sure, i can only respond obviously based on the information i see in the news and it clearly the strike had an enormous impact on relationship of iraq. iraq came out and said they did not provide consent for this particular strike. it had brought parliament to a point where they passed a vote calling for the u.s. forces to leave. we have seen the prime minister indicated that they want delegation to talk about, leaving. this is in many respects exactly what soleimani
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wanted. as a consequence we are now in a position where it will be likely that it is unsustainable for us to have the presence that we have. i hope that's not true. i hope we can get through this period with them and their domestic politics don't erupt in a way that makes it impossible to stay. >> i would like to ask your thoughts, mr. hadley on what it would mean if we left. when i saw the protests attack on our embassy, i was really shocked. i have been there to the end zone, i went with my colleague on the other side of the isle mr. chavet and knowing how fortified that area was to see it penetrated >> the way
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it. the iraqi territory just said have at it. i don't know how that could have happened without it. why did they do that? what are the implications if our troops were forced out? >> as i tried to indicate in my testimony, it would be a disaster for iraq and the united states and iraqis would undermine their sovereignty and compromise their ability to deal with isis and open the door to more influence. i am not pessimistic about this. i think it is a political problem for the government in that parliamentary vote. as i understand all the zuni and kurdish represented state away, clearly do not want to see u.s. forces pulled out. there are demonstrations returning in iraq today and shea on the street and they're focusing on iranian influence. i think if
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we can buy some time and make this kind of statement that would help the prime minister to deal with the problem politically and start a process of consultation. we can talk about what is the proper mission and configuration and role of u.s. forces now that isis has been forced out and yet is also organizing to return. i think we can change the mission configuration of the forces, make sure we are partnering closely with iraqis and keep a significant force there. it is in the interests of the united states and interest of iraq. >> dr. haas, thinking of isis and what happened in iraq and also syria and the fact that we pulled out >> of syria and i don't know the status of the isis soldier that were in prison and given iraq and syria, what are your thoughts of a resurgence of isis isis? >> well, i think it is highly likely, whatever else turkey is, is not a full partner in this effort. it is
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not a priority or in some cases for the government and a lot of these people in syria unlike iraq came from around the world. iraqis for many cases much more local. i assume to some extent there is a real danger of reconstitution. will it go back to the way it was? hopefully not. a lot of things have to happen. >> what is about some of the soldiers going back to europe? >> oh, again, i think that in large part depends on turkey's behavior. turkey often use the flow of operation and recruits coming to the region and people coming back. you have to assume that a certain number will get back europe. this is a permanent challenge to put it bluntly for european security. i don't see it ever
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disappearing. >> thank you, i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate you are holding this hearing. i want to bring back the title of this hearing from sanctions to soleimani strike to escalation. i read here by soleimani, some of the facts you are asked about, most of these are already known. he was iran's most powerful general, he joined the revolutionary guard 1979 during the crisis which i remember very well. he rose to their top leader quickly. commander of the iran cut force, responsible for revolution guards foreign operations. he also considered a nemesis to the u.s. and middle east with americans blaming him for the deaths and thousands of american soldier in the regional allies. david
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patraeus described him as a truly evil figure. before his death, soleimani was called a living martyr of the revolution by iran's supreme courtcou leader. we just sent him to his rightful place. dr. haas you talked about how iran, citizens rose up in 2009, let me tell you about this guy. in july 1999, soleimani cosigned a letter warning the president muhammad that the revolutionary guards will put down the protest if he did not. he's a bad player. nobody is disputing that. i want to pivot over to jcpoa. we were here when it was negotiated. john kerry saying no deal better than a bad deal. i applaud donald trump for pulling out of that. how binding was jcpoa in your opinion? >> the president in
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the united states entered into a unilaterally with our allies. >> was it signed by anybody? >> i disagree with you, sir. when the secretary of state of the united states speaking for the president entering an international agreement, like it or not, that's speaking for the united states. >> did our senate signed it? >> yes. that's a legitimate question about whether we move away from the two branches working together in terms of international agreement. >> i
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take my time back. it was a bad deal and president trump did well. the release of the money, john kerry, sat here and we said was that money going to go into the hands of terrorist groups? he said more than likely, yes, it would. he sat right here and said that. we can speak loudly today and see the results of that. is it the attack on the oil tankers in the strait of hormuz, is that an imminent threat? what about hezbollah? what about the killing of u.s. citizens and injuring four other service members? when is an imminent threat imminent? do we wait for the next one, oh, maybe the next one will be imminent. president trump did the right thing. the other thing we don't
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talk about is the other terrorist gotten taken out. he orchestrated attack on u.s. and french emphasis in 1993. it is time somebody take these people out. go back to bill clinton, the book by robert patterson, he refused to capture or eliminate him. the question is when 9/11 happened, would clinton would have done his job? what would happen if president obama remove soleimani when they had the opportunity? would we have our servicemen and women killed? the question about was this the right thing or not. leadership is tough. harry truman says if you can't stand the smoke, get out of the
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kitchen. president trump did what he had to do and this country is safe. the world is safer and they're going to look at americans and say, thank you for your leadership. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. keating. the people that i represent. are we less safe now than we were before and i think this is an important hearing because i think to answer to that question is much more fundamental than dealing in the killing of soleimani. i was safer with this maximum pressure campaign that we have. that campaign today has not been successful. i think that's clear. part of the reason, maybe the major reason is no diplomatic arm attached to that. there is no intermediaries there. the idea is capitulation and dictate any response of negotiations. that perceived no other way by the iranians than a regime change.
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are we safer with the results that affected our military? we move more and deploying more troops away from our area and away from dealing with the threat of isis. are we safer as we move our limited naval access through that region, take them away from south china sea and other parts of the world. are we safer with this going alone strategy that we have. that's just not a minor thing. that's something we have that our enemies don't have. an a coalition with our allies. what's happening here? we don't give them notice, that's not the killing of soleimani. that's of the troops withtrawl in syria. our allies had troops on the ground uninformed until according to here recently, maybe hours that we were going
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to pull out of there. the inf treaty, delay in ukraine in terms of military asset there and the ttp, you can go on and on. we are not consulting with our coalition coalition. we are turning our back making unilateral actions and saying you better get in line. we are not safer because of that. we pulled out of the jcpo unilaterally. so, if we are going to have an answer to how we are less safe now, i am glad we are talking about these fundamental issues and not getting caught up, a cycle of escalation where there is a shoot from the hip kind of action and a policy filler after that and telling everyone in congress and everyone in america and everyone that's our
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allies, well, you better get in line and have a cycle of escalation and having that danger. can you talk about the bigger picture here and how these actions make us less safe and less alternatives going forward. we can't continue in action where we are dealing with individual incidents. we got to take it further. >> i will make a short comment. we unlike china and unlike russia soviet union, we have allies.
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it works tremendously in the gulf war or help keep the peace in asia. and obviously in europe. it is demonstrated to be effective, i think we ought to revive it and dealing with the issue. this is not the subject of today. the only day we can begin to deal with global challenges is collectively. i don't think you will get a lot of arguments of the structural advantage or the case if you will for collective action. >> the opening days of the administration had the view that the nuclear agreement was inadequate inadequate. and the
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prior administration did not address ballistic missiles or iranian activity in the region. the reason brian was designated to try to work with the european allies to come up with a common approach to address those three things was unable to do so. the administration adopted a strategy to try to address these issues. we don't know whether it is going to work at this point. we are in mid course. my understanding is that they continue to talk to our european allies about these
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issues and the nuclear issues. >> if we get a negotiation started which i think is the thing we need to do to keep those from escalating further. >> i want to say this. i was asked by the administration to get involved when we were discussing this with our european allies to see if we can get them on board. i have been talking to our allies personally and the chances of them walking away from this was zero. when i told them that, do you know what their response was? what's your contingent plan though? well, we are working on it. that's the problem. they act impulsively, well, we are working on >> it. believe me, i was previewed to a lot of that. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. >> a couple of points you know, i hear a lot of the safer questions and makes good headlines. the military's job is not to be safe. it is to keep the american people safe. the military as an end state and if the end state is avoid using
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the military. their job is to keep us safe. that gets thrown around a lot. i have been clear and consistent. ill supported i supported the administration going to libya. i can't say that for everybody. i think what's clear and i would love if everyone of these strikes the administration would come to congress and we could have a debate and there would be an open and revealing plans and opportunities. when this strike happens on day one, on moment one, the second the news came out, i and many of my friends on the other side of the isle opposed what happened. i dare say that a lot of people were
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out making comments didn't even know mr. soleimani's name until he was killed. we look at what that kind of knee jerk reaction is. we heard it more on one occasion. there is no world war 3 right now. i want to look at the history of how we got to this point anyway. so, the other thing people say is well now they're fwoing togoing to attack through the proxies. i will ask them, what's new? in 2008 and 2009, i was in iraq, i flew isrs, operated in iraq. many of my colleagues here did the same thing. i killed 600 of my fellow men and women in uniform. they have been using their proxies ever since. under the prior administration when we were talking about the isis fight. the concern was when
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isis was defeated that the iranian proxy would turn against the american presence and iraq. this is not a new response. and so what i would argue if you look over the years of history of iran and history of soleimani, it was nothing but attacks and provocations in the united states of america. many of us on both sides of the isle were upset with the administration for not responding to, they say drone attack is the equivalent of the economic damage of 10-f 15. many of us were upset of the attack against the oil fields. in response to the many provocations of iran, they target the one man that's responsible for these provocations and not 100 people that are working a few surface
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to air to the missile site because it would not be isesclatory. >> we see this untragic shoot-down of the airliner. they blame the shoot down of the airliner, yeah, the iranians. we would not be here if it was not the united states. i would remind you that when we killed soleimani, the iranians chose to escalate by attacking our bases in iraq and in full expectation response pie the u.s. president, they had their air defense system on high alert. that's when that happened. the president shows great restraint to not respond. i think he made the right decision. we hear a lot about impulsive action and without thinking things through. and just briefly on the jcpoa, i am not going to begin the argument of billions of dollars given to iran or whether it is their
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asset or nuance or whatever, it is academic argument. prior to the jcpoa, airan was a player of the region but not a huge one. i know on the hill of signing jcpoa, the government of yemen was over thrown and a civil war was started by iranian proxies. by the way, they sent not one dollar for aid. the president of syria showed up immediately after the jcpoa. maybe it was the money or maybe because they felt untouchable. when you look at regional behavior, that's
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essential to curtail. the killing of soleimani, all the doomsday scenario that my friend predicted have not came true yet. they may. that's not a result of the united states. that's going to be the result of discrimination decisions. i thank all the witnesses being here and spending the time here today and your expertise and mr. >> chairman, i yield back. >> thank you to the witnesses for your years of service to our country. i would like to first start by acknowledging the loss my heart goes out to his family and it is important for us to protect our citizens and our men and women around the world. with that, it is unfortunate that we are seeing such partisan dialogue here. none of us think soleimani is a good guy. all of us agreed that he had specific intent of disrupt tging the middle east
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and moving us away. i think the frustration that many of us have and i would hope folks on the republican side of the isle feel the same way is that the decision making process. we had a joint decision making process that served our country well that has been methodical and i think mr. hadley, you and i chatted about that decision process where you do bring in a sense of opinion. unless there is that imminent threat. the administration has not been able to explain to what you say the threat was and in fact it does not appear that there was at this particular moment in time and etcetera that they had to act spontaneously. it serves our country to actually go through that methodical process. if the administration
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and congress around the same page, it does projects strengths as oppose to the lack of strength and cohesion. that has many of us on the democratic side. i hope the republican side frustrated with the administration. maybe mr. haynes or mr. hadley, both the bush administration and obama administration had discussions about removing mr. soleimani and came to a different discussion. was there a joint decision making process that took place in both administration. they weigh the consequences of these actions, is that correct and came to a different conclusion? >> congressman, that's a good question, i am going to answer based on my recollection. i do not remember the issue of taking out soleimani. i know the general have said in january of 2007, he was
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monitoring the convoy which he believed soleimani was present and he contemplated taking him out at that point in time and decided not to do so. again, my colleagues mercedes agree. i am not aware if that had came into the white house before or during that. it was an opoperational >> decision. we did not have so far as i can recall formal >> thank you, again, also with my personal recollection that there was not a particular decision teed up in the formal process whether we should take action or not in a particular scenario but certainly the question of soleimani was much discussed and the irgc was much discussed and so on. in general, the consequences of an action like
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>> that as you say would have to go through an enormous process and certainly was one that we were thinking of what are the pros and cons, you have the ability to do it is not enough. i think the question is whether or not it is wise. >> the iranian, have their ballistic missiles landed and killed multiple american troops? >> absolutely. >> there was that possibility of an iranian response. while i am happy we found ourselves in a place where dialogue is possible and deescalation is possible. it was entirely possible of a different outcome could have happened here and many of us as we saw missiles in the air and the tapes >> of these missiles were waiting to understand what
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actually happens. many of us and american people were concerned we are about to go into another war. is that accurate? is that how you felt watching it? >> i don't think any of us question whether a response is appropriate. the question is how do you design the response to be best >> fit within the strategy that you are dealing with and keep the american people safe more generally. that's the question that i suspect many people have concern about with respect to this. >> again, a final statement, our country is better served when the administration and congress are working together, having dialogue. even if we disagree, we candace can disagree behind closed doors. we are better working together and there >> is dialogue between the administration, that did not
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happen in this particular case. >> fully agree. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is important to note the decision to strike soleimani was a product of a joint decision making process. i want to thank all the witnesses who are here. we have a lot of service represented, national security advisors and cia and state and i want to thank all of you for your distinguished service to our country. the intelligence community dod and state department >> all
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concluded there is an i ammminent threat. do any of the witnesses here dispute the conllusion of these different agencies? >> i do not. >> i am not seeing a clear case there is an imminent threat and i am not seeing clear evidence there is an imminent threat. i am not seeing anything that would allow me to judge there >> was. >> you are disputing the position of >> the i ami am not seeing evidence. i can't confirm and support it because i have not seen the evidence. >> have you see the irc department that was put out after the killing of soleimani? >> i am not sure which one you were referring to? >> does anybody speak farsee. the icg did put out a statement. mr. chair? the irgc statement, i mentioned it on the floor during debate last week as well as through social media and other interviews. i am going to do it again this hearing. after
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the killing of soleimani says, soleimani was in iraq when he was killed to confront americans. so if for anyone who has the position there is not a shred of evidence that it is imminent threat, let's start with the igc's words he was in iraq. open source information is enough to determine it was legitimate to take out soleimani. a designated terrorist running an organization that's sanctioned by the united states, the eu and the united nations, he had killed over 600 u.s. troops and wounded thousands more. we just had the embassy attack right before that strike. we had the killings and wounding americans before that streak.ike. it was disproportionate to take out soleimani. i asked the question at what point is it proportionate? how many more americans would have to be killed in order for it to be
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proportioned and how many thousands more troops would have to >> be wounded in order for it to be proportionate? i don't know if anyone has an answer or call it a rhetorical question. at what point, do any of you have a position that it was disproportionate? >> there are a number of things you said. one is just to be clear because i think sometimes it gets said publicly, the fact that you are a designated terrorist for purposes of sanctions does not provide authority to take action, lethal action certainly against that individual. there is sort of a domestic legal analysis and international analysis that has to occur. as a member of congress, you get concerned about whether or not congress needed to authorize the action essentially. >> i have limited time. did president obama have the authority to conduct the
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drone strike in 2011 in libya? >> yes. the department of justice have over the years concluded that the president has the authority and the power to take action under the constitution where there is an important national interest to protect for the united states without congressional authorization but you provide a power report if you remain in hostility for 60 days and then congress has to authorize it. >> i appreciate that. it is important to know that president obama, the obama administration, their legal justification was under the aumf. >> ma'am, i am sure i have a limited amount of time. i will be happy to talk to you offline or show you any product with my limited time. the iranian protesters who are out
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there right now won prosperity and stability and freedom, they won a better way of life, there are many here who are watching in the united states congress, in the united states wishing them the best, for those iranian protesters out there right now, in search of a better future, we are watching and praying and wish it works out in the best for you and want to be supportive, however is appropriate. i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you witnesses for being here. mr. chairman, i first want to express my disappointment that secretary of state mike pompeo is not here today to answer substance questions that we have regarding this particular
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issue. he's here where he comes every year for budget issues. as i am sure he'll be coming around a couple of months. we have been very supportive of increasing the budget for the state department, in fact while facing dramatic cuts, we have bipartisan effort to ensure the state department continues to be funded robustly. i am disappointed that he's not here. i want to say that although i was not here when the jcpoa was adopted, i recognize that in fact it was not fully strong document but it was a good beginning. it did not have anything regarding fighting or showing iran of some bad actors in the world stepping away from ballistic missile program. it was a start. what i hear from the inspector that they comply with most of the provision of that or if not all of the provision. my question to you individually and this is a yes or no
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question, whether or not you >> feel you gather enough information or evidence that you feel iran comply with the jcpoa, mr. haas, do you feel that they comply? >> based on everything i read, the international inspectors make the case that iran was in compliance. >> same. >> mr. hadley? >> so far i know is yes. >> do you feel the region now, our ally in the region are safer now after they signed the agreement, mr. haas? >> the region itself, is it safer now than it was after the signing of the agreement? >> in terms of the nuclear threat from iran?
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>> in general, including the nuclear threat. >> the region continues to deteriorate. most of the country and people of the middle east are less safe than they were five years ago for a host of reasons. >> i have nothing to add. >> mr. hadley. >> they're less safe overwhelmingly because of iran's destabilizing activities. >> do you think the deterioration of iran to some degree had some connection with this administration ripping up >> the agreement of jcpoa? >> no, i think, one of the members said, their destabilizing activities ongoing before the jcpoa or if anything, >> they step up after the jcpoa long
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before president trump decided to withdraw in 2018. let me just say that in fact there was a good start. i am not arguing that things could have gotten better. it was a great start to rip it up so to go to ground zero and start again. throwing our allies under the bus, we assemble one of the most impressive coalition of foreign government to fully bag this agreement and we walked out on them and we threw them under the bus. i don't think we'll be able to assemble them again for any significant operation. do you think we can assemble them again mr. haas? >> i think so and i hope so. i am not pessimistic as you there. reports suggest that allies are not walking away to work together. let me say 30 seconds quickly. i think it is possible to have doubts about the jcpoa to see it in some way as it is
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flawed and be critical of the administration for having exited unilaterally. i i i. >> on a rare moment of disagreement. i believe, iran's destabilizeing destabilizing largely because there was not that diplomatic off and this was a way for iran to respond. >> thank you mr. chairman, i want to conclude by saying that i am cautiously optimistic. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> there has been three fundamental questions have been posed by both sides and the panel. why was it
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imminent and was it a choice? i want to talk about all those three things maybe of i look at soleimani as a terrorist machine gun. he's been spraying rounds at the u.s. for many years on many different fronts. so if i look at him like a terrorist machine gun nest and i ask myself number one, is it a choice to take that nest out? this is something i have specifically experienced with. yes, it is a choice to take it out, all day long. it is not really a choice when you consider that you leave that there and walk around it and ignore it that somebody is going to come across that nest eventually and they're going to get shot at. you want to ask, is it wise? i think it is probably always defides conventional wisdom to attack a machine gun nest. it does not mean it does not have to be
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done. you want to ask is it imminent? just because this machine gun nest may take a moment to reload, that does not mean it is not an imminent threat. it just got done firing rounds over our embassy over. over the last number of years, they have been working to attack our terservice members time and time again. that does not mean it was not an imminent threat because it was not pushing the button on something. i want to ask a question which some people may call it rhetorical. there are a number of my colleagues still remaining here. i am more than willing to yield to my of my colleagues that want to answer this question. if you walk out this hallway and you take a right and another right, you are going to come to several beautiful walls that have the names of our fallen service members on the war on terror. i
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would ask can any of you provide me one name on that wall that does not justify killing soleimani. i got 2 minutes and 30 seconds, i will be sitting here and wait. somebody provide me the name on the wall that does not justice his killing. >> the gentleman may continue. i am continuing mr. chairman. i got 2 minutes remaining, i will sit here and wait for somebody to provide me with the name on that wall that did not justify the killing of soleimani. >> thank you mr. mast, you made your point. >> mr. chairman, i have not yielded back my time. >> you
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are disrupting the procedures. >> i have a minute and 45 seconds remaining which i would like somebody to provide me with the name. >> i think you made your point. you are out of order. >> you are out of order. you are out of order mr. mast. you made your point. >> mr. chair, i will yield a minute of my time to mr. mast. >> well, he's got time. >> thank you, my colleague. i appreciate it. >>
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mr. chair if i may begin? >> thank you for yielding me your
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time, although i did not yield >> my time back. i know that there was not one name offered that did not justify the killing of soleimani. >> thank you mr. chair and mr. mast. i am grateful that you took that time because you humanize an issue that all too often is not and having just returned from the iranian gulf, i visited with many of my colleagues sitting here now, i come to you with everybody that we met, the fact that secretary pompeo did not come to here is a disappointment. i think good arguments have been made on both sides. i do not want to cover the same ground. i want to talk about something that i think we have to and that's our authorizations. we have two in effect right now, the 2001 and
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2002. if you believe in light of the current circumstances in the middle east and the gulf region, if it is time to craft a new amf and how should we do it so? dr. haas if you may begin? >> i am increasing incline in the direction of yes. one that deals with threats from terrorist. we are faced with a consequential decision. the other is to deal with the situation where iran continues to attack its neighbors or attack u.s.
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individual forces through using whatever set of tools and we decide it is important to retaliate. situation that's imminent is in play. the real question is whether we would need a method? i would think yes in terms of the nuclear situation, i think it sends some useful messages to iran about our collective preparedness. i don't think war power is ak adequate. one is allows the administration unilaterally and it raises question of our staying power. i do think it will be smart
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that if an aumf were to pass simultaneously with a new diplomatic initiative. i think the two can go hand in hand. that's my tentative thinking. i think you raise a big question and a good one. >> miss haines. >> i think it is a critical issue and the opportunity for congress to get more involved in shaping with authorities, it is critical in my view. i think as an initial matter, i think
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you should be replacing the 2001 aumf, i think it is time to be updated and consistent of how congress believes the administration and success of the administration should in fact prosecute that conflict. i think that the iraq aumf should be repealed. that's something that we voiced our support for in the obama administration and the president then called for. i am not aware of any military operations that have to rely on that aumf. i think this question of what should be the authorization to use military force against iran if at all is one that in many respects that seems to me that your concurrent resolution passed recently, is one that sort of lays out what you view to be the situation right now and does so eloquently in the context of the current crisis in iran. i would support seeing that coming to a >> vote and takeing further action. >> 15
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seconds, mr. hadley. >> there is an awful a lot of confusion here, this whole it really comes as a function of international law. i don't know why it is so front and center the way it is. ill say the aumf has to be in that process, be careful and not only vindicating congressional authorities but providing a flexibility for the president to act and say the president could only act for example under the bases of americans on attack or imminent attack is much too narrow. >> thank you, i yield back. >> mr. fitzpatrick. >> thank you all for your service and thank you
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for being here today. regarding the gcjcpoa, would you agree for such an agreement to work, the cigsignatoryies to that agreement. mr. haas? >> i must have >> been missing something, is that different than any international agreement? >> i am just saying for this one in particular. >> do you believe those two qualities must be present? >> you trust what you verify. i assume country goes into a number of agreements and some cases they want to see. i don't take anyone's words for it. >> do we believe we should assume >> entering in such an agreement that these signatories are acting in good faith? >> i would not assume it. >> miss haines. >> yes, reflecting in my agreement in the context of arm control and jcpoa is no difference. you don't trust the partner across the table from you. you are trying to construct a regime
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that gives you the confidence never the less to take certain actions to manage a threat. >> mr. hadley. >> i have nothing to add. >> what i am getting at here to the panel is do you believe the iranian regime tells the truth and acts in good faith? >> with this agreement they complied with it. i do not believe however in any way they gave up their long-term goal of preserving the option to develop a new >> weapon's capability. >> would that be a yes or no. >> the whole construct is to avoid the situation which you have to rely on a statement from the iranian government that says we
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are complying. and to provide with greater insight so we can judge for ourselves whether compliance was occurring and relying on third party like the iea to tell us. >> i think because there is so little trust in the iranian regime, that's why a lot of members of congress and others thought the jcpoa was not adequate because it did not push off or totally eliminate the option of iran to have a nuclear weapon. >> with the isolated strike that took out al baghdadi and soleimani, did the panel support and did you believe it was a right decision to make to conduct that raid on osama bin laden and al baghdadi, two leaders of
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isis. >> i would argue yes. >> these are distinguished circumstances. >> how are they distinguished? >> in the context of osama bin laden, the head of a terrorist organization, we were at war with and we had in fact an authorization to use military force against, the united states took action. i don't think that was a surprise to anybody. i don't think it created a circumstances in which we were taking on a new war, for example, against a whole other nation. >> do you believe mr. soleimani is ahead of a terrorist organization? >> i believe soleimani supported and engage in terrorist actions and there is no question about that. i don't have any - as i said in my testimony and repeated and others have as
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well, i think he deserved his fate, i don't think that's the issue. i don't mourn his loss. when you are using the awesome military military force of the united states, you have to do so as part of a strategy. the question always occurs, is this the right target? is this the rig actioto be taken in this context and i think you know as i have already identified a whole series of consequences where i undermines the overall objectives that both prior administration and this administration have. >> i have other question but i want to yield my remaining 30 seconds to my colleague. >> i yield back. >> yield back? >> >> okay. the gentleman yields back. miss omar. >> thank you, chairman. thank you the panel. it is hard to be here and hear many of the questions and the
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testimonies that you all gave. sorry if this question have already been asked and if you have given an input to this. dr. haas, i know you have been critical of the jcpoa, two short term. i am wondering what should a deal look like? >> it is important to be clear of what a deal could realistically include and what it could not. i don't see why iran should have the right to get close to developing a nuclear weapon in 50 years or 75 years, i prefer open ended efforts but if not that many decades. it should include ballistic missiles, i think it should be verifiable and i think it has to involve sanctions relief and i think though other aspects of iranian behavior and the region should be dealt with other ways. i
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don't think it is realistic to build a quote on quote grand bargain that would resolve all of our concerns in iran. all or nothing diplomacy tends to yield nothing. >> appreciate that and so to you and the rest of the panel, i am wondering why would iran after we unilaterally left the jcpoa, assassinated soleimani and destroyed their economy with our sanctions and threaten to bomb their cultural sites, why would they be willing to enter a better deal with us at this moment? >> the reason they might is as you know, governing is about choices. the economic sanctions are having a significant toll, they could conceivably threaten the viability of the government and the revolution. so i would
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think that for iran offered significance sanctions relief, that may be something they could account. they say they don't want nuclear weapons so whatnot to change that so i think the question is if we can present them with a choice, i would not rule out one other thing, i think we probably would need to have it voted on by congress. they would need to know that the next deal is not something that this many president can unilaterally returned. they would have the confidence that's truly embedded in the pl >> si pl >>, >> i'm not privy to intelligence anymore and haven't been for a long time on
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these subjects. my understanding is that the economic pressure that iran is now under has resulted in some diminishment of the resources that are available to these groups. i think, for example, nasrallah, head of hezbollah, has actually complained that he doesn't have enough resources for his activity. so i think it is having effect based on >> what i've read in public sources. but i don't have the kind of intelligence sources available to me that would allow me to give you a better answer to that question. >> iren t you all think critical sanctions relief package would be on the table for iran if it was to reengage more
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significant than was part of the jcpoa, i am sure that is excellent and it seems as if there are opportunities to negotiate, so i hope that cool of heads prevail and that we deploy diplomacy and look at using many of the tools we have an hour tool box because what is happening right now, one of the ways things has escalated is not gonna make us safer and it's not going to alleviate the economic burdens that the civilians of iran are facing at the moment, thank you and i yield back. >> thank you mrs. wagner. >> thank you mister chairman, two weeks ago trump and did so the money is brutal reign of terror that killed and maimed
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countless a americans and coalition forces and threatened many many more tick come, i urge all americans to unite behind the president's defensive decision to strike one of the world's most powerful terrorists who was organizing against, organizing attacks against americans any rack in defiance i might add of un security council, ain't should've been any rack, in beirut, in the master, for far too long tehran has been permitted to act with impunity against u.s. ally interests and personnel, i applaud the president for making our red lines clear. clear that attacking americans is never acceptable and when americans lives hang in the clinton --
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law will be held for its actions. middle east law is held in place when the united states is clear about its intentions. mister heavily to what degree are iran's proxies dependent on tehran for financial, material, and technical assistance and how successful has the united states been in preventing iran from providing significant support to these proxy groups? >> i'm not privy to intelligence anymore and having been for the long time on the subjects, my understanding is that the economic pressure that iran is now under as -- has resulted in some diminishment of the resources available to these groups i think for
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example, israel ahead of hezbollah has complained that he doesn't have enough resources for his activity so i think it is having a fact based on what i read in public sources but i don't have the kind of intelligence sources available to me to give you a better answer to that question. >> well thank, you they clearly have gone through the 150 billion plus dollars that were sent over by the obama administration, to be used for these proxies to kill people around me gloating looting our american allies and assets. >> after the iranian regime admitted that it shot down airlines tragically killing 176 passengers and i know it is been discussed here at length, protested around the country, how are these protests connected do you think to the pro-democracy, pro economic
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reform demonstrations of the last few years and do you think this public outrage will constrain iran's foreign policy, can it be constrained? >> it has been interesting to see how many demonstrations there have been in the last two years of people demanding accountability from their governments, ending of corruption's, less sectarian governments have actually performed, you have seen in an algeria, sudan, lebanon, iraq, iran, and lots of places in the middle east, this is a positive thing and i think it is one of the sources of leverage on the iranian regime that may make them willing to come to the table and negotiate an outcome because they put down the demonstrations in october and november only by a fairly brutal use of force. i think they are worried that the
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additional sanctions will candle a return to those kinds of demonstrations that could threaten the regime and is a threat to the regime that might bring them to the table. >> i absolutely agree and that is why also share your vision on the opportunity that we have at this moment of time to bring iran to the table for further negotiations, more now than ever and these protests, and the public outrage i think really have an effect as we go forward and foreign policy and such, so there are reports that indicate that iran has worked to reduce internet connectivity, limiting the impact of these protests how should the u.s. be using information to target the regimes weaknesses and empower change. >> well they have cut off the
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internet to keep demonstrators from organizing as part of their suppression on public demonstrations clearly, our best information operation has always been proved and trying to get it to the people in the closed societies because what is really the toxic element for them is actually truth about what's happening in the world and i think we have not done as good a job as we should in getting truth available to people in these totalitarian authoritarian societies. >> i believe, my time six fired, so here is to truth and the iranian people. >> thank you miss wild. >> thank you mister chairman, good afternoon i'd like to start with a question to ms. haines, recently i had the honor over the christmas week of traveling to the middle east
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and meeting with our troops, some of the extraordinary service members who put their lives on the line for us and i've been thinking about those men and women an awful lot. last week the president said that we must all work together towards making a deal with iran that makes the world a safer more peaceful place for just this past sunday he tweeted a couldn't care less if the iranians negotiate, we in congress unfortunately have been giving little to no information about the administrations intelligence that they allegedly had before the strike on soleimani. so my question to you, and your assessment does the president and his administration have a clear strategy to actively reduce tempt chains between iran and the united states and to prevent conflict? >> i think i was as encouraged as you are that they are
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interested in negotiating something diplomatically, i have to say, i haven't seen anything that puts together a broader strategy that would actually be likely to result in the kind of negotiations that i could imagine hopefully happening in the future but honestly i don't know that i would know. i certainly hope that they do have something but i hope also that they would share it if we could participate and understand it in push forward in it. >> so i take it that you have no greater information that we do here in congress and as a result you wouldn't be able to answer my follow-up questions if the national security is stronger now than it was a few weeks ago. >> yeah i have made a case intense money that it's not that the action out was taken further undermines the objectives that have been
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articulated by this administration and are actually quite significant with the prior administration's objectives for the region and i think it's unfortunate that we are in the place that we are and obviously all of us need to come from here and make the best out of it that we possibly can but i do think that we are less safe in many respects as a consequence. >> doctor i'd like to ask you, first i'd like to state the obvious wall tensions between iran and the united states revolve around many issues, none of these issues are more consequential is on the possibility of iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, i think we can all agree on, that in the aftermath of the strike on general soleimani iran announced that he would no longer abide by the jcpoa restrictions on iran's uranium enrichment as well as restriction on further development that could contribute to building a nuclear weapons program. so my
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question to you is with this as context has the strike made it more or less likely or neither that iran will ultimately be able to produce a nuclear weapon. i'm not avoiding your question, i think it's too soon to know that, the u.s. decision to exit the jcpoa set in motion a chain of events that expand where we are, because i can answer your questions i would say two things, we have to be communicating stern red lines that would be the limits to our tolerance i would affect our views, we do know on iran doing certain things secondly i do think that we have to put forward as we discussed before an initiative that would improve upon the jcpoa and put it forward in terms that might
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not be unattractive, conceivably even attractive given the circumstances that they find themselves and. i want to avoid a situation where we can't answer your question, what we fear and well could actually be is that iran begins to reduce the time that would be available for intelligence agencies to discern exactly how far, if we ever reach that point where we don't know or became close, one we would have a big debate as with israel as to whether to under taken prevent a military strike, saudi arabia, turkey and others it began to have their version of national security council meetings about whether they need to follow suit and develop nuclear weapons options of their own and as bad as middle east is right now it doesn't take a whole lot of edmonton imagination to see how much worse it would be. >> so use the term red line in a few weeks ago my colleague used the same term, i realize amount of time, i apologize
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mister chairman and i withdraw the question. thank you, mr. watkins. >> thank you chairman, thank you to the panel for being here, couple of comments i want to express my full and complete support of our president and i think president trump has an announcement job transitioning from a strategy of appeasement to one of credible deterrence and i want to express support for and hope that we can muster solidarity behind the protesters in iran. i spent many years working in iran in afghanistan so from the perspective of both the military officer and former military officer and defense contractor i think that perspective invoice might be worth hearing when it comes to military operations there needs
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to be many things but two things are speed and secrecy or the ability to deliver and a clandestine nature, this is capable of both those things, so when it comes to if there was a just kill i understand the importance of striking fast and striking hard and the justice of killing soleimani is without question, if you were to ask me or a number of military personnel to strike a designated insurgents who's responsible for killing 600 of our brothers and sisters and headed down route we would grab our guns and go tell, them if that's wrong we wouldn't want to be right and it saddens me that we can't rally behind that
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end over the mere fact that some of his compensation apparently came from the government of iraq, think about that, did that constitute the fact that he was great as an employee. the world leader sponsor of terrorism so listen no one wants to war particularly the american soldier because he or she needs to fight in it but i think i speak certainly for a lot of people that i knew when i say that the world is a safer place with one less insurgent in it and for that matter when it comes to safety and the very nature of credible deterrence why and we are conducting operations you want other insurgents in you know they can see you, you want them to know that if anything should happen to you if they want to take the risk of striking you then a
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drone is going to run how fire down on them and moreover to those low ranking footsoldiers insurgents throughout the world whatever country, syria, lebanon or iraq you want them to second guess there are choices because if we could take out your general we can sure is how kill you, so i'd like to close on just reiterating my full and complete support of president trump and his choice to go with a credible deterrence strategy and that is in fact a strategy. i'd like to say that i've heard soleimani biggest right described as a martyr, a martyr someone who is willing to die at the hand of unimpressive or for his or her beliefs, not a ruthless kelly killer, i don't
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appreciate that and again i want to voice for it for the iranian protesters, god be with them, thank you mister chairman. >> his hands we gotta rushed in our exchange towards the end of my five minutes and weren't able to do that important topic justice there at the end, so the obama administration had air strikes in libya and as well as other after 2011, the final decision making for that process for the strikes after 2011 where use of aumf targeting, the final decision in chosen 11 was article, to correct? >> the initial use of force in libya that i thought you were referencing was not done from an authorization for suzanne
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under article two. there is a report provided to the congress and there was a report on whether we continue to be in hostilities and then there were after the fall of coffee and further action in the context of libya there was a shift in a sense of what the conflict was about and what the targets were and effectively what we were trying to address, the threat we were trying to address and i came in 2001 on just respect to isil and al-qaeda. >> thank you i yield back. >> thank you mister chairman i want to begin by expressing my disappointment that secretary pompeo is not here with the shifting rationale is that the people have been given for the strike i think it is important that we have a public viewing and discussion about what went
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into this and i think on this committee we will have to be as aggressive as necessary to make sure that we are able to perform our function. i would like to prepare the members of the panel for being here today and you know you probably had other things planned and we appreciate you making time, i am worried that this action has made us less safe but i'm also worried about the reputation damage that has done. for years democratic and republican presidents have urged countries to avoid cultural and historical sites and more time, it's against the laws of war and it is also morally wrong but just last week of course president trump tweeted that the u.s. may strike iranian sites if the conflict was escalated. of course they walked those comments, backed trump's remarks were publicized and criticized as well, to each of you on the panel i just want to ask, you how do you think
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the people of the middle east you those statements? how does that impact our reputation in the region, how does it undermine our ability to reach any further agreements to try and de-escalate? >> this is implicit in your question and obviously doesn't help, i think our reputation has taken a hit several, ways this would be inconsistent and what your colleagues have said and our designer to side with the iranian, people going after cultural sites is not gonna help in that undertaking, i think we hurt ourselves by not being able to back off the claim of eminence, that clearly hurt us and iraq because it makes it harder, all this doesn't take place absence to -- the two dozen three and
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ability to demonstrate the dealing, so what i think is we've created questions about reputation and i think that we will pray a price for that.. >> i thank you for bringing this issue out because from my perspective i have found that i'm somebody who believes in the international, law i've spent my time working on international law and i think it serves american interests in enormous ways and to see the president tweeted essentially what would be a war crime something that we should do or could do or anything along those lines and also talk about disproportionate strikes which is also not consistent with the law for it takes a position like that is not just a concern to -- but deeply depressing for the folks in the u.s. government to are frequently out, the military training
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other militaries on what the law of war is and how we should respect the law for and that kind of issues that we deal with. you know in the context of particularly targeting cultural property which is so much more than destroying obviously the brick and mortar that you are destroying but it's an attack on the identity, the, memory dignity of a society and this is something that we spearheaded a lot of the international law on and we have a convention, the -- it's something that we really celebrated and, steeply depressing thank frankly. >> i think it was a mistake and as you know as you indicated to the department i think secretary pompeo said any
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strikes in iran would be against legal targets which would rule out the cultural side so i think it was a mistake and i think i would not expect to see the united states attacking cultural sites. >> i think we sometimes fall into the bad habit by pretending that the worlds of the united states no matter, we can have those debates as those things weren't said and as if we do not threaten a war crime in this region in which we know how long these words can echo. i think the reason the free world follows isis and that dictators furious is because of our values, because of who we are and what the american flag and system of government and values mean around the world. when we undermine that i think they do much more than any insurgent attack in due to us, much more damage than any foreign country can do to us because they cannot beat us militarily but we can't
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undermine our values abroad and i'm glad were having this discussion today. >> i want to acknowledge a french congressman sheila jackson lee who is a member of this committee for many years, and olden days when i served on it so welcome back sheila, good to see you. >> we have a vote and what i could do is cut down people to get more people. so let me start. >> thank you mister chairman your written testimony you do a great job of outlining some of the iranian atrocities over the last 40 years, beginning with the 83 bombing in beirut, the power bombings also set forth recent aggression including on shipping in the persian golf
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the downing of an american drone the launching of missiles, the sponsoring of militias that attack big cities in iraq and killing of american contractors and the recent assault on the american embassy. you go on for there to say that there is no doubt that soleimani has the blot of americans on his hand, it was a force of instability in the region and you actually stage that soleimani was an evil person, then you go on to page two to talk about the united states should have responded to recent iranian attacks such as the one carried out against saudi oil fields with attacks on iranian economics and military assets, what should the problem -- proper response should have been? >> it seems you are sitting here the president's use of restraint actually emboldened iranian aggression and so what would be the proper response and what response should we
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have taken particularly militarily, it seems economically that we have imposed as many sanctions as we could impose and we continue to impose sanctions and have no additional benefits to those so militarily what response should the united states have taken after the saudi oil fields were attacked? >> two things sir, i think we should have found equivalent iranian economic installation, i would have supported the idea of attacking that. too i think it's and a very bad message to the region that we would not respond to an attack on a close partner like saudi arabia, i don't want to communicate the sense that they are essentially adrift and they can't -- can't count on, it and for you it gets back to the conversation with aumf, that would provide a context to deal with these acts of iranian
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aggression. >> do you agree that the united states should have attacked militarily after the assault on the oil fields? >> i think there should have been a response and my view is very similar to what you have described of doctor has his view and essentially by not responding in a way can encourage some response but again taking action to manage and deter to mitigate the consequences that are additional to any action that you take, does that make sense? >> so it both of you say that the presidents youth of restraint you feel emboldened iran to continue to attack american interests in the middle east. >> so it's always hard to put yourself inside their heads what my own take is yes they thought they could act with a degree of impunity because they had gone away with shooting around attacking shipping and
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the saudi is and i would expect that there were people in iran who basically say we can do certain things and the chances of an american physical response are modest. >> thank, you it's really interesting, it just got call to my attention that secretary pompeo doesn't have the time to come to this committee but a while we are holding this hearing he did have time to be on fox news. >> oh my goodness. >> thank you mister chairman, i thank you for hanging in with us. last weekend national security adviser robert ryan said that 2000 to iraq war authorization gave the authority to launch a strike that killed soleimani, here is the text of that up praise asian, the president is authorized to use the united states as he seems to be necessary and appropriate to defend the national security of the united states against the continuing threat posed by iraq
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and to enforce all relevant un security council resolutions regarding iraq. i think that language is pretty clear and so defensive pretoria esper during his senate confirmation last year, on july 16th before the senate arms service committee, told senator duckworth that the 2001 and 2002 authorization use military force do not allow the use of military force against iran and yet here we are. again in 2000 to iraq war authorization allows the youths of four force to deal with the threat posed by iraq not a threat necessarily leading from iraq but by iraq, does -- do you agree to this is not authorized the force against iran? >> yeah, to be simple, yes, i don't think it is authorized by
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the 2002 aumf, i did hear the prior statements by the administration to release indicate that they did not think. >> let me further ask, you if congress faith fails to make clear that the 2002 authorization, or 2001 does not apply to iran are we setting a dangerous president? what's to stop this administration or any future administration from claiming that a war authorization from one country gives them the okay to use force against another? >> yeah so -- classically in my experience the way that and ministration's would essentially look at an authorization to use military force like for example the 2001 authorization to use military forces that they would then consider if another act or whether it be terrorist organization in that particular aumf case, or vis-à-vis another
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country, if that country entered into an alliance and was fighting against the united states than there could be an extension of that authorization to double restated that circumstance but i think obviously congress has the ability to pass another joint resolution that says, in fact, that is not what we intended and we do not in fact authorize force. >> my times out because we are running short here but i think that it is clear that congress needs to repeal the 2001 and 2002 and do new authorizations for any situation that we think we should go to war on, thank you. >> thank you so much to the witnesses, i have the questions of my colleagues is we are talking what should be a really foundational piece, what is congress is a role in the authorization of war, i have
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heard a lot of debate about what happened a week ago, ten years, ago 15 years ago, 16, 20, 25 etc but what i want to move forward and talk about is the 2001 aumf and the 2008 aumf. and miss haines, i will start with you as a follow-up to the questions, there in 2002 will start their authorization for their war and iraq do you have any knowledge are there currently any operations continuing under the 2002 aumf. >> i can't say with certainty what it is the current administration is doing but what i can tell you is in the obama administration we conducted significant number of military operations that seem quite similar to what it is frankly is currently being done by the trump administration
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against terrorist organizations such as al-qaeda it associated forces, we do not believe that the 2002 aumf was necessary for us to do any of those operations, including the ones around a social just to be utterly clear including those in iraq and as a consequence we supported the repeal of the 2002 aumf which we felt was outdated and the president also had said he felt he was time to replace it, thank you. >> there seems to be confusion about how the killing of osama bin laden and baghdadi were different from an authorization standpoint from the killing of soleimani, i also think it will take the opportunity to restage that those of us on this side of the algal shed no tears for soleimani who i believe was a terrorist as he was classified by the government, but could you walk us through specifically how the authorization, what the authorizations were for the
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killing of a south not bin laden and baghdadi and how that may or may not be the same or a different. >> yes so for osama bin laden this was quite clear and the authorization to use military force against al-qaeda. >> authorization by congress absolutely and but for the case of this issue is under a sole and the theory of the obama administration which i assume is being used by the trump administration was in fact because i still had a long-standing relationship with al-qaeda and osama bin laden, of righty of other factors including the target of the united states they you could in fact authorize action against isil under the 2001 aumf despite the split in leadership between al-qaeda and i stole. >> thank you. >> thank you very much for coming and i would also like to echo my concern that secretary pompeo is not here today, a do
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you have very specific questions, one reflects on the question about the responsibility that people in the military have to understand that they won't necessarily be safe, that is their job but we also a responsibility with congress and the administration to make sure where to playing them effectively and keeping them say's by using resources and tools in the tool box which is diplomacy and humanitarian efforts so my question to you directly is what happens now that we have sent thousands of troops into the middle east in terms of our efforts in russia or against china and the conservative right powers. >> i made the criticism the other day that i thought sending more troops in the middle east right now, the phrase eighties was strategic incoherence, this administration has articulated the need for a greater ethicist the challenge they pose and
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it's entire bias was to dial down the american emphasis on the greater middle east and i felt they went too far this is clearly inconsistent with it so given the administrations, it would make a great deal of sense to stabilize things it does involve a greater emphasis on diplomatic tools in the short run though and may not be necessary to have those troops there because we have created, a hoping that does not become the new normal because the impact on readiness and what would be available and also what i think would be unfortunate. >> thank you, i'm sorry i don't have the time to ask rest of, you i have a one second question, the un security council resolutions 20 to 31 which is set to expire now on october 18th, what if anything should we be doing to make sure that we are thinking about and
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address the exploration of that resolution. >> those are the resolutions that i expressed the importance that iran is prohibited from expiry -- or purchasing any arts. >> this is what president trump is talking about when he says everything is set to expire and that is part of the reason why he export of the jcpoa. >> your question is, -- >> is there anything we can do here in this body given that the un that is set to expire? >> you can support the administration and push them to essentially look for extensions of any restrictions that you think are appropriate. >> in what ways should our policy changed if iran was able to sell and acquire combat systems as a consequence of this? that is my four seconds. >> essentially it is a preliminary matter. what you want to see is see what they do and in fact whether or not they can push out conventional arms more than they already do. we
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have already had policy that tries to counter those issues as it is. we would obviously want to increase depending on whether or not they are increasing their exports. >> thank you. >> i apologize. i yield back. >> doctor just quickly, prior to the assassination we had real protests in the street against iran and they had a war for over eight years, 100,000 iraqis died. 100,000 iranians died. we were moving in a little bit of a positive direction in the anti iran feeling in iraq. now that that is all swung back, what do you think this recent events, this new trajectory it's going to do on the rocks pro reform movement in the protest movement? >> it's a good question. i think the rockies have considerable nationalism. the fact because they are shia and
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iran is obviously shia that obviously there would be no nationalism in iraq. that is not true. my guess is iran will overplayed hand. i think it is probably wrong to underestimate iraqi pushback against iran. again, it is one of the reasons i, think we all agree here 100%, that it is so important to the united states to repair its relationship with iraq because i think that will give iraqis a basis of some confidence for pushing back against iran. i do not want iran to have a free hand inside iraq. >> we are going to run for votes. >> i want to first ask a quickly unanimous consent. to participate today. we are giving you one minute. >> let me quickly say that i have not seen any depth of support from the american people for a war with iran. i clearly believe it is important for us to explain that article one does say that congress declares war. it does give article two powers of defending
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the nation. i do think the issue of imminent danger was and should be explained to the american people. we should be truthful about it. i have two questions, why, do we believe that any engagement with iran, prospectively and some resolution, is at this point hopeless? i truly believe under president obama when we worked tirelessly for the non agreement that we had something that would allow us a moment to engage. anyone wants to comment on this completely upside down explanation of eminent and the fact that there was no definitive definition or reasoning behind secretary pompeo's advice or secretary defends advice to the president of the united states. >> you have two seconds according to this. maybe we can give you 30 seconds. >> i do not think it is hopeless. i think do such things such as no longer supporting regime change, making it clear that we are willing to talk. i think
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putting sanctions relief on the table, conditionally tighter running behavior, i think against the backdrop of sanctions there is a possibility. certainly worth pursuing. >> thank you. >> thank you. i'm going to have to adjourn because -- >> thank you mister chairman for you courtesy. >> i want to thank our three witnesses. i have been on this committee for a long time and i think all of you were just excellent. i really do appreciate you coming here and speaking with us today. we hope to have you back. thank you committees now adjourned. >> thank you chairman. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020]
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s >> federal officials and nonprofit organization leaders testified about food insecurity
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among the veteran population if of house veterans affairs subcommittee on economic opportunity. this is two hours. >> good morning, everyone and welcome back as we return from holiday season to

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