Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said on Sunday that it was a “reasonable question to ask” if President Donald Trump’s killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was a distraction from impeachment.
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, the Massachusetts senator wondered aloud about the timing of the strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad.
“The question is why now?” Warren declared. “Why not a month ago? Why not a month from now? And the administration simply can’t keep its story straight. It points in all different directions.”
She then contrasted the current escalation of tensions with Iran with the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that is at the center of his impeachment, saying the “administration did the same thing” and that Trump is “advancing his own personal political interests.”
“Do you think that’s happening here?” Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd asked.
“I think the question people reasonably ask is next week Donald Trump faces the start potentially of an impeachment trial,” the Democratic lawmaker replied. “And why now? I think people are starting to ask why now did he do this? Why not delay and why this one is so dangerous is that he is truly taking us right to the edge of war.”
Todd wondered if Warren wanted to investigate and find out of the impending Senate impeachment trial was a motivation for Trump’s attack on Iran. Warren, meanwhile, stuck with her “people are saying” approach.
“Well, I think that people are asking why this moment?” Warren said. “You know, as I said, the administration can’t keep its story straight, and in the case of Ukraine, it was all about protecting Donald Trump’s skin. We know that Donald Trump was very upset about this upcoming impeachment trial. But look what he’s doing now. He is taking us to the edge of war.”
In a later interview on CNN’s State of the Union, anchor Jake Tapper pressed Warren on her suggestion that the president’s actions towards Iran were a “Wag the Dog” situation.
“Do you believe that President Trump pulled the pulled the trigger on this operation as a way to distract from impeachment?” Tapper asked. “Is that what you think?”
“I think it is a reasonable question to ask, particularly when the administration immediately after having taken this decision offers a bunch of contradictory explanations for what is going on,” Warren answered.
“What do you think?” Tapper pushed back.
“I think it is the right question to ask,” the progressive senator responded. “We will get more information as we go forward, but look at the timing on this, and look at what Donald Trump has said afterwards and his administration. They have pointed in multiple directions. There is a reason that he chose this moment, not a month ago and not a month from now, not a less aggressive and less dangerous response.”
Tapper, meanwhile, noted that the Trump administration has pointed to the death of an American contractor late last month as the reason for the strike against Iran.