Trump Lays Groundwork to Bypass Congress And Take on Iran
United States prepares for possible confrontation with Iran
Presdient Donald Trump is preparing for a possible confrontation with Iran without the explicit consent of Congress, according to reports.
The public relations campaign was already underway before the Islamic Republic was accused of attacking a pair of oil tankers last week in the Gulf of Oman.
Senior Trump aides have made the case in public and private that the administration already has the legal authority to take military action against Iran.
According to Politico, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to Tampa, Fla., home of Central Command, on Monday evening to huddle with military officials to discuss “regional security concerns and ongoing operations,” according to a State Department spokeswoman.
The developments came as Iran declared it was on course to violate a core element of its nuclear deal with major world powers.
It would also surpass the amount of enriched uranium allowed under the agreement in 10 days unless European nations intervened to blunt the economic pain of American sanctions.
And they came as U.S. officials promoted video footage and images showing what they say were Iranian forces planting explosive devices on commercial oil tankers.
IRAN Threatens To Cut Off ALL OIL To United States In Retaliation For Sanctions | Neon Nettle https://t.co/ay6QpRelEA— Lorrona (@ibangel) December 5, 2018
Even as the president’s hawkish advisers have highlighted Iran’s alleged bad behavior, administration officials privately emphasized that direct military action remained highly unlikely absent an Iranian attack on an American ship or an American citizen.
The president, who campaigned against getting the U.S. bogged down in unnecessary foreign wars, is considered the primary internal obstacle to a counterattack, officials said, noting that Trump continues to press for an improved nuclear deal.
Trump on Monday de-emphasized the international significance of the recent tanker explosions in an interview with Time magazine — downplaying the Gulf of Oman's value to U.S. oil supplies and describing alleged Iranian acts of aggression as "very minor."
“If you look at the rhetoric now compared to the days when they were signing [the 2015 nuclear deal], where it was always ‘death to America, death to America, we will destroy America, we will kill America,’ I do not hear that too much anymore,” Trump told Time.
“And I don’t expect to.”