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18 January 2020 - 21:04
News ID: 448497
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A US House of Representatives committee has renewed a threat to subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he does not provide information about an American drone strike that assassinated Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

RNA - Representative Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Friday he scheduled a public hearing with Pompeo for Wednesday, January 29, Reuters reported.

“This hearing deals with the most weighty issues with which our country and Congress deal, including the use of force,” Engel wrote in a letter to Pompeo.

“Therefore, I consider your testimony to be of extremely high importance and am prepared to use all legal means to ensure your attendance,” Engel added. “I trust, however, that this will not be necessary.”

Earlier, the House Foreign Affairs Committee scheduled a hearing with Pompeo on January 14, but Pompeo did not appear.

"If Secretary Pompeo is not going to cooperate with the committee, then we will consider very strongly taking other action in the future, including subpoenas," Engel said on Tuesday.

Engel had said he would send a letter to Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mike Esper seeking information about the strike.

The administration of President Donald Trump is facing intense criticism as officials offer vague justifications for the attack.

The US military carried out an airstrike on the order of Trump at Baghdad’s international airport January 3, assassinating General Soleimani and the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other companions.

Pompeo said on Monday the assassination was part of a “bigger strategy of deterrence,” a shift from Trump's previous claim that the deadly drone strike was carried out to prevent an “imminent” attack.

Immediately after the January 3 drone strike that claimed the life of General Soleimani, Pompeo alleged that Soleimani had been involved in planning an “imminent attack” in the region that “put American lives at risk.”

The House last week rebuked Trump by passing a resolution that would stop the president from further military action against Iran.

"I think the administration is not being straight with the country or the Congress," Engel said as he opened the hearing.

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