Bernie Sanders

Sanders Slams Trump as ‘Pathological Liar’ Over Claims of Embassy Attack Plots

Sanders said administration officials didn't mention threats to U.S. embassies during a highly classified intelligence briefing on its actions in Iran.

In an exclusive interview with NBC's "TODAY," Sen. Bernie Sanders cast doubt on President Donald Trump's claims that a top Iranian general was planning imminent attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East.
TODAY

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday he doesn't believe President Donald Trump's claim that Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani was plotting to blow up "multiple" U.S. embassies before he was killed by an American drone strike last week and slammed the president as a "pathological liar."

In an interview on NBC's TODAY show, Sanders told Savannah Gutherie that administration officials didn't mention "one word of that" to lawmakers during a highly classified intelligence briefing on its actions in Iran.

“The difficulty that we have, and I don’t mean to be rude here, is that we have a president who is a pathological liar,” Sanders said. “So could it be true? I guess it could be. Is it likely to be true? Probably not.”

Trump said at a news conference Thursday that Soleimani was planning to "blow up" the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Later in the day, the president told supporters at a rally in Ohio that the top Iranian commander was plotting attacks on "multiple embassies."

In a preview of an interview with FOX News' Laura Ingraham set to air Friday evening, Trump alleged the imminent threat that prompted the U.S. to order the strike to kill Soleimani "probably" involved four embassies.

“I can reveal that I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies,” he said.

However, some lawmakers who attended the classified briefings have said Trump's claims were not supported by the facts provided by administration officials. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., accused the White House of "making this up as they go."

"The reality is they provided very little facts, and the facts clearly did not establish their claim of an imminent threat," Hollen told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell.

On Friday, Pompeo appeared to dispute those claims. Speaking at a news conference announcing sanctions on Iran, Pompeo suggested that information about planned embassy attacks was given to Congress. Pressed by NBC News' Peter Alexander if the briefing on the "imminent threat" included specific references to embassies, Pompeo refused to clarify, saying that he would not share details of what presented in a classified setting.

“Yes, we told them about the imminent threat, all of the intelligence that we have briefed, that you have heard today, I assure you in an unclassified setting we’ve provided in a classified setting as well,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo's comments come a day after he told Ingraham that he didn't know when or where Soleimani was planning to attack while insisting the threat to American interests was "real."

“There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qasem Soleimani. We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real,” Pompeo said.

The administration has maintained Soleimani posed imminent threats to Americans in the Mideast but has not offered specific details about what constitutes "imminent."

Asked by reporters Friday for his definition of "imminent," Pompeo said, "This was gonna happen and American lives were at risk. We would have been culpably negligent had we not recommended to the president that he take this action against Qassem Soleimani."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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