Trump and Pompeo: Soleimani Was 'Actively Planning Attacks' at U.S. Embassies Outside Iraq

By Susan Jones | January 10, 2020 | 9:14am EST
President Donald Trump listens to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a Cabinet Meeting at the White House on October 21, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump listens to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a Cabinet Meeting at the White House on October 21, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Without giving details, both President Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was planning attacks on U.S. embassies in countries other than Iraq.

"Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad, but we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly, and we stopped him cold," Trump told a rally in Toledo, Ohio.

"So at my direction, the United States military eliminated Qassem Soleimani and ended his rampage through not only that part of the world but a much bigger part of the world. He was all over..."

Trump said Soleimani ordered the "violent assault on the American embassy in Baghdad," and he said it would have been "another Benghazi" if the attackers had broken through the final panels of glass at the embassy.

Appearing on Fox News Thursday night, Pompeo told Laura Ingraham that it was Soleimani's forces -- "Kata’ib Hizballah warriors orchestrated and directed by Qassem Soleimani himself" -- that penetrated the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad:

"I don’t think there’s any doubt that Soleimani had intentions not only to take action against our forces, our diplomats in Iraq, but in other countries around the region and world as well," Pompeo said.

"There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassem Soleimani, and we don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real."

Pompeo said if President Trump hadn't taken out Soleimani, "we would have been culpably negligent in the recommendations that we made to the President.  We saved American lives by taking this action."

On Friday, a reporter asked Pompeo to "clarify" the threat posed by Soleimani, since he indicated he didn't have "precise" information about it.

"We had specific information on an imminent threat, and that threat stream included attacks on U.S. Embassies. Period, full stop," Pompeo said.

"I don't know exactly which minute, we don't know exactly which day  it would have been executed, but it was very clear.

"Qassem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large-scale attack against American interests, and those attacks were imminent...against American facilities, including American embassies, military bases, American facilities throughout the region."

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