A new report is indicating that President Trump gave initial authorization to kill Iranian general Qassam Soleimani in June of 2019.
According to The Hill:
President Trump authorized the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani last summer if an American was killed as the result of increased Iranian aggression, NBC reported Monday, citing five current and former senior administration officials.
Officials told the network that then-national security adviser John Bolton urged Trump to retaliate for Iran downing a U.S. drone in June by approving an operation to kill Soleimani. The officials also said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed the decision to kill Soleimani at the time.
Trump said that he would only take action if Iran killed an American, a person briefed on the discussion told NBC.
The report brings into question the Trump administration’s justification for killing Soleimani in a drone strike earlier this month after an attack in which a U.S. contractor died. Administration officials have claimed that killing the top Iranian commander was necessary due to an imminent threat of attacks Soleimani was plotting.
The idea to kill Soleimani began in 2017 under H.R. McMaster but was really accelerated when Bolton took over as NSA.