Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition – After GOP infighting, Trump Jr. agrees to testify again Barr throws curveball into Senate GOP ‘spying’ probe Prosecutor appointed by Barr poised to enter Washington firestorm MORE (R-S.C.) says he and other lawmakers haven’t been adequately briefed by the Trump administration about the growing threat posed by Iran amid growing tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Graham, the chairman of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and a top ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat Immigrants in US military denied citizenship more often than civilians Chris Evans: ‘If you’re not worried about Roe v Wade, you’re not paying attention’ MORE, said senators have been largely kept in the dark as the U.S. sends an aircraft carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East.
“No, I feel we haven’t been well informed and I’m writing a letter with Sen. Leahy today to try to get a briefing,” Graham said Wednesday afternoon, referring to Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGraham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat Pence, McConnell eulogize Sen. Richard Lugar Trump officials slow-walk president’s order to cut off Central American aid: report MORE (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee.
“I don’t think it’s fair for us to walk around wondering,” he said, reflecting broader concerns among Senate GOP colleagues about the fast-moving events in the Middle East.
Asked about the threat posed by Iran and a report by The New York Times that acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: Trump says no plans to send 120K troops to counter Iran | Pentagon, coalition general at odds over Iranian threat | Spending bill includes M to study Space Force McSally to introduce military sexual assault reform bill Pentagon disputes general’s assertion on threat from Iran-backed militias MORE has drawn up a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, Graham said, “I don’t know.”
“I just know what I read. The president has said it wasn’t true,” he said, pointing to Trump’s comments the previous day disputing the report.
But Graham said he’s concerned by the State Department’s decision to partially evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in response to intelligence of possible Iranian-backed threats.
“We’re clearly moving people,” he said. “This is a big deal.”
“We had people there during the height of the war,” Graham said of the embassy in Iraq. “I was there a bunch of time getting rocketed. If we could stay in operation then [during the height of the Iraq War] it must be some kind of real threat.”
Other Republican colleagues share Graham’s concerns.
“There should be more briefings. I think we should have that sooner rather later. I’ve talked to the administration about that,” said Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDem Senate campaign arm hits GOP lawmakers over Trump tax law 1 dead, several others injured in school shooting in Denver suburb The gap in Sen. Gardner’s environmental record MORE (R-Colo.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Senators say they expect the administration to brief them next week, but some worry that could be too late.
“My understanding is there will be [a briefing] by early next week but I don’t know where we’re going to be by early next week. I hope I’m wrong, we could be full blown into this thing. It’s a much more urgent situation than I think is being reflected. I’m surprised there isn’t more talk about it,” said Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHigh school student uses graduation cap to honor school shooting victims Rubio asks Barr to investigate Kerry over Iran meetings China promised to stop fentanyl traffickers, Congress must hold them to it MORE (R-Fla.), a member of the Intelligence Committee.
Foreign Relations Committee Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischGraham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat Foreign Relations senators demand Iran briefing Dem senator calls for Senate to investigate Giuliani’s planned Ukraine trip MORE (R-Idaho) said he received a briefing from administration officials on the Iran threat but many of his colleagues are still in the dark.