Fox's Wallace presses O'Brien on contradiction between Trump threat claims, briefing

Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallacePete Buttigieg to appear in Fox News town hall Pompeo defends Soleimani strike as critics question intel, timing Senate Democrat: ‘We learned the hard way in the Iraq War’ that administrations can ‘manipulate’ intel MORE on Sunday grilled White House national security adviser  Robert O’Brien on President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS troops knew about attack on al-Asad airbase, were able to take shelter: report Democrats expand ground game to woo Latinos in Nevada Trump tweets message of support to Iranian protesters: ‘Your courage is inspiring’ MORE’s claims that the U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani to avert an imminent attack on four U.S. embassies, which lawmakers say was never mentioned in a briefing by representatives of the Trump administration.

“It does seem to be a contradiction; he’s telling Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamFive lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate Amash accuses Trump of selling military support to Saudi Arabia Trump indicates he’d block Bolton’s testimony ‘for the sake of the office’ MORE [of imminent attacks] but in a 75-minute classified briefing, your top national security people never mentioned this to members of Congress, why not?” Wallace asked O’Brien on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I wasn’t at the briefing and I don’t know how the Q&A went back and forth, sometimes it depends on how the questions are asked and how they were phrased,” O’Brien said.

“It’s always difficult, even with the exquisite intelligence that we have, to know exactly what the targets are but it’s certainly consistent with the intelligence to assume that they would have hit embassies in at least four countries,” he added.

Wallace also asked O’Brien if Iranian actions in recent months had raised any doubts about the effectiveness of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.

“I think the maximum pressure campaign has working, it’s been demonstrable that it’s working, the Iranian economy is contracting by at least 10 percent, we haven’t seen that with a modern economy in many, many years,” O’Brien responded.

“Iran is being choked off, Iran is going to have no choice but to come to the table.”

Wallace also questioned O’Brien on Trump’s claims that Congress’s “Gang of 8” was not briefed before the killing of Soleimani because House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSunday shows preview: Lawmakers mull Trump’s war power, next steps with Iran Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week Trump signals White House would try to restrict Bolton testimony MORE (D-Calif.) would have leaked it to the media, asking him if there had ever been a case of congressional Democrats leaking sensitive national security information to the press.

O’Brien declined to give any such examples, instead citing former President Obama’s lack of briefing ahead of the killings of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda-affiliated cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

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