Bernie Sanders on Soleimani: 'I Think It Was an Assassination'

Susan Jones | January 7, 2020 | 8:43am EST
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 presidential contender, told CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday night that the missile attack on Iran's Gen. Qassem Soleimani was an "assassination" that violated "international law."

No, I think it was an assassination. I think it was in violation of international law. This guy was -- was a bad-news guy, but he was a ranking official of the Iranian government. And you know what, once you get into violating international law in that sense, you can say there are a lot of bad people all over the world running governments.

Kim Jong-un in North Korea, not exactly a nice guy. Responsible for the death, perhaps, of hundreds of thousands of people in his own country. To name one of many, you know? The president of China now has put a million people, Muslims, into educational camps -- some would call them concentration camps.

But once you start this business of a major country saying, hey, we have the right to assassinate, then you're unleashing international anarchy. I think all...that Trump seems to be doing now is trying to break all kinds of international protocol, denying the foreign minister of Iran to speak before the United Nations, and really basically trying to lead us into another war, which I believe will be a disaster.

Anderson Cooper asked Sanders if he'd feel the same way if Soleimani were not a high-ranking official in the Iranian government.

Sanders replied that he "might" feel differently, but "I'm not a lawyer on these things."

But this guy is, you know, was, as bad as he was, an official of the Iranian government. And you unleash -- then if China does that, you know, if Russia does that, you know, Russia has been implicated under Putin with assassinating dissidents. So once you're in the business of assassination, you unleash some very, very terrible forces.

And what I am seeing now in this world, as a result of Trump's actions, more and more chaos, more and more instability. And it is absolutely imperative that the United States Congress stand up.

Because, by the way, let us never forget that according to the Constitution of the United States, of which some of us actually believe in and respect, it is Congress that has the responsibility for making war, not the president of the United States.

And that is why we have got to pass an authorization, legislation that makes it very clear that Trump does not have the right to go to war without the authorization of the United States Congress. And also, I will work to make sure that he doesn't have the money to do that.

President Trump has flatly stated that he doesn't want to go to war with Iran.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), a combat veteran, told Fox News Monday night that Democrats are falsely suggesting that the U.S. is aiming for all-out war with Iran, rather than responding to escalating Iranian provocations.

"There's a straw-man argument being made by the left," Crenshaw told Sean Hannity:

"They keep saying, no war with Iran. Well, that's not what Trump is saying. That's actually not what any of us are saying at all. There's a huge difference between responding necessarily and full-on ground war. And they seem to want you to think the options are to do nothing and continue to get punched in the face by Iran; or full on war on the ground in Iran.

"And that's just not the case," Crenshaw continued. "There's a lot in-between. And any sober minded person knows this. And I think they know it too, but they are being deliberately dishonest, they're spinning up the public. And it's all for politics. And it's really sad to see. We should be united in this right now."


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