Amid the multiple provocative statements from President Trump on Thursday, among them his expressing "doubts" that the Ukrainian airline crash over Iran was an accident, comes this likely bombastic and truly new claim.
The president claimed that slain Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his forces “were looking to blow up our embassy” in Iraq before the US military took him out in the high profile killing a week ago.
“We took him out. We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think it was obvious. And he had more than that particular embassy in mind.”
In the same statements the Commander-in-Chief further claimed he didn't need any Congressional approval to make “split-second” decisions to take action against imminent threats from America's enemies.
“I don’t have to [get authorization],” he said. “It would all depend on the circumstance. You have to make a split-second decision sometimes. We had a shot at him, and I took it, and that shot was pinpoint accuracy.”
Trump had ordered the Jan. 2 drone strike on Soleimani's convoy following the major incident at the US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone, where pro-Iranian protesters stormed the compound walls, burning them and erecting Iraqi Shiite militia flags.
While Trump is often prone to hyperbole, especially on statements of intent and US official enemies, the charge that the Iranians were plotting to "blow up" the embassy in Baghdad is the first claim of its kind.
REPORTER: You said Iran was trying to blow up the embassy in Baghdad. Can you provide more details?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 9, 2020
TRUMP: "No, I think it was obvious. If you look at the protests, and this was the anti-Benghazi. Benghazi was a disaster." pic.twitter.com/oh0n9OfTMc
It's as yet unclear if the president saw specific intelligence outlining such a threat, which is very possible, or perhaps he was speaking generally of the pro-Iranian mob's actions, given also the demonstrators were filmed setting the outer walls of the compound on fire during the chaotic events of early last week which saw a contingent of Marines rapidly deploy from Kuwait to bolster embassy security.