U.S. House committee threatens subpoena if Pompeo will not provide Iran information

by Reuters
Tuesday, 14 January 2020 20:22 GMT

(Adds Schumer comment, PIX available)

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (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 of the strike that killed an Iranian military commander.

"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 that took place in Iraq.

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 that 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.

Reflecting the extent of lawmaker's concern over Trump's Iran policy, the Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, said later on Tuesday he believed there were enough votes - at least 51 in the 100-member chamber - to pass the Iran war powers resolution in the Republican-controlled Senate. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Howard Goller and Bill Berkrot)

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