You don’t have to scour the internet for very long to find people asking “Why kill Qassem Soleimani now?” and answering “To distract from impeachment, of course.” The “wag the dog” theory, though, just got a bit of a boost from an unlikely source in the Wall Street Journal.
Buried in a lengthy Thursday story on how the Trump administration ultimately decided to take out the Iranian general was a nugget saying that President Donald Trump told associates he was under pressure to placate GOP Senators who will be key players once his impeachment trial in the Senate begins.
Per the Journal:
The way the strike was handled has drawn scrutiny from Democrats and some Republicans. Critics say the decision was hasty, considering the risk of all-out war. They also question whether the intelligence that prompted the action was as clear-cut and alarming as the White House has said, and see the move as doing little to further U.S. interests in the region.
Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.
A remarkable line that represents, to our knowledge, the first sourced claim that impeachment was, to some degree, on the president’s mind or a factor when he ordered the Soleimani strike.
Who might those “important supporters” be? We can assume that, whoever it is, they’re hawkish. This is purely speculative, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seems to neatly fit into the category of important impeachment trial supporter/Soleimani strike advocate.
[Image via Steven Ryan/Getty Images]
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