House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday called on the White House to brief lawmakers on the raid that targeted ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, noting that President Trump informed the Russians of Baghdadi’s apparent death before telling congressional leadership.
Pelosi’s statement came shortly after Trump told reporters at a rambling news conference that he did not inform the House speaker of the raid because he “wanted to make sure this kept secret.”
— Sara Cook (@saraecook) October 27, 2019
According to The Washington Post, U.S. presidents “typically follow the protocol of contacting congressional leaders, regardless of their political party, when a high-level military operation is conducted.”
“The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top congressional leadership were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region,” Pelosi said. “Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.”
The president said Sunday that he had contacted two Senate Republicans, Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.) and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), before publicly announcing Baghdadi’s apparent death to the world.
Trump called Burr “a great gentleman” and Graham “a very strong hawk” who “agrees with what we’re doing now.”
Asked whether he had informed the House Speaker, Trump replied, “No, I didn’t. I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure this kept secret. I don’t want to have men lost, and women. I don’t want to have people lost.”
Trump added that he was “going to notify [congressional leaders] last night, but we decided not to do that, because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before.”
“Washington is a leaking machine,” he said. “And I told my people, we will not notify them until our great people are out — not just in, but out. I don’t want to have them greeted with firepower like you wouldn’t believe.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said in an interview on ABC News’s “This Week” that Trump did not contact Pelosi, himself or any of the other congressional leaders with whom the White House typically shares information on national security and intelligence matters.
“In terms of notifying the Gang of Eight, that wasn’t done,” Schiff said.