Dem Rep: Trump Killed Soleimani to Distract From Impeachment

'This action was taken more in President Trump's self-interest rather than our national interests'

January 3, 2020

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) said President Donald Trump's decision to kill Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani was made because he wanted to distract the public from recent developments in the impeachment inquiry.

"What I think is going on here, frankly, is that this action was taken more in President Trump's self-interest rather than our national interests," Wasserman Schultz said during an appearance on CNN. "We had damning developments in just the last day where emails came out that made it very clear that they covered up the real reason behind the withholding of hundreds of millions of dollars to Ukraine."

"That's outrageous and I think that has a lot to do with what this attack was about," she added.

CNN anchor Jim Sciutto asked Wasserman Schultz about a tweet from former national security adviser John Bolton in which Bolton wrote he hoped the strike was "the first step to regime change in Tehran."

Wasserman Schultz dismissed Bolton's statement as "bellicose" and called for a renewed focus on the impeachment inquiry. She referred to the release of emails showing Pentagon officials raising concerns over military aid to Ukraine.

"Donald Trump was just impeached a week and a half ago, and we need to get to the bottom of how and who helped him carry out this illegal coverup to allow him to withhold aid to help him politically and personally, allowing Ukraine to interfere in the presidential election in 2020," she said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike on Soleimani was intended to prevent an "imminent attack" that would have put Americans in the Middle East in danger. For years, Soleimani has masterminded Iran's terror activities in Iraq and around the Middle East. Trump tweeted that Soleimani "killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more."

Other Democratic politicians criticized the strike.

"President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite onto a tinderbox," former vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden said in a statement.

"It's all escalation for the sake of escalation," Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) wrote on Twitter, claiming the administration lacked a coherent strategy on Iran.