WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee threatened on Tuesday to subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he does not provide information about Iran policy and President Donald Trump’s ordering the strike that killed an Iranian military commander.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces new sanctions on Iran in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
“If Secretary Pompeo is not going to cooperate with the committee, then we will consider very strongly taking other action in the future, including subpoenas,” Democratic Representative Eliot Engel said in remarks opening a hearing where Pompeo had been invited to testify, but did not appear.
Engel also said he would send a letter on Tuesday to Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mike Esper seeking information about the strike.
The Democratic-led committee said last week it had called Pompeo to testify, as members of Congress pushed Trump’s administration for more information about the killing this month of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
The State Department declined comment. Pompeo was on a trip to California.
Criticism of the administration has grown as officials have offered shifting justifications for the strike. Trump fueled controversy by saying on Twitter that “it doesn’t really matter” whether Soleimani posed an imminent threat.
Representative Mike McCaul, the leading Republican on the committee, said Soleimani’s history of involvement in hostilities against U.S. interests justified the strike but added the administration could declassify more information about the matter.
The House on Thursday rebuked the president by passing a resolution, mostly along party lines, that would stop Trump from further military action against Iran.
“I think the administration is not being straight with the country or the Congress,” Engel said as he opened the hearing.
The Senate is expected to vote on the war powers resolution as soon as this week.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Howard Goller