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U.S. officials admit Trump’s evidence Iran was plotting attack is “razor thin”

U.S. officials admit Trump’s evidence Iran was plotting attack is “razor thin”

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The legality of Donald Trump’s ordering of the assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guards leader Qassim Suleimani on Thursday evening has been called into question on multiple grounds by members of Congress and the media.

Firstly, there’s the matter of whether the president has the constitutional authority to order an act of war without congressional authorization.

Then there’s the question of whether Suleimani’s killing violated Executive Order 12,333 which prohibits any government agency or employee from participating in or planning any assassination. The ban on government-sanctioned murders was originally issued by then-President Gerald Ford in 1976  and reaffirmed and amended by subsequent presidents.

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As early as 1998, terrorism-related exceptions were beginning to creep into the interpretation of the prohibition, but, for the most part, required an imminent threat to the life and security of American citizens to overcome the legal hurdles banning a unilateral decision to kill any individual.

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When President Obama ordered the raid that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader had already claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon, so his targeted killing garnered less controversy than that of the Iranian general.

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Donald Trump has tried to justify his decision — a decision made without consulting any of the members of Congress— by claiming that Suleimani was in the process of planning attacks on American interests and was an evil man worthy of eliminating fro the face of the earth.

Now, Rukmini Callimachi, the New York Times correspondent covering ISIS & al-Qaeda, is reporting in a lengthy Twitter thread — after checking with sources that included “two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani — that “the evidence of any imminent Iranian attack on U.S. targets is ‘razor thin’”.

Despite what one may think of Trump, the “far out option” was not his first choice.

Callimachi, however, notes that Iranian leaders are now considering an option that was not previously considered on the table before Suleimani’s assassination.

After devoting part of her thread to the impact of the assassination on the fight against ISIS, Callimachi asks an obvious question: why was Suleimani targeted at this particular point in time.

Callimachi’s conclusion that the real reason for the Suleimani murder was most likely related to Trump’s impeachment dilemma because no imminent threat truly existed would mean that the president committed yet another crime by violating Executive Order 12,333.

Of course, since it was an executive order, Trump could have issued a new executive order that would have rescinded the prohibitions on assassinations, but the fact that he failed to do so means that his actions were clearly illegal unless some secret intelligence report can prove a specific Iranian plan to attack a U.S. target was in motion.

All the more reason to remove this unstable and lawless president from office before he takes more desperate moves to try to turn the impeachment tide.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

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