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The debate was hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. It included six candidates who met the party’s qualification criteria, the smallest number to date. The candidates were former Vice President Joe Biden; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; and businessman Tom Steyer.
Biden on threat to US embassies
Biden said that President Donald Trump “flat-out lied” when he claimed the US killed Iran’s top military general because he was targeting four US embassies.
“Quite frankly, I think he’s flat-out lied about saying that the reason he went after — the reason he made the strike was because our embassies were about to be bombed,” Biden said.
Facts First: Trump has yet to provide evidence backing up his claim that Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani was actively planning new attacks against four US embassies and top administration officials have struggled to defend the President’s comments. But there is no way to know if Trump “flat-out lied” without seeing the underlying intelligence, which remains classified.
Trump claimed at an Ohio rally last week that Soleimani “was actively planning new attacks.” He later told Fox News, “I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies,” naming Baghdad as one.
Senior administration officials have repeatedly pointed to danger facing US embassies in the Middle East.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said this past weekend he “didn’t see” a specific threat against four embassies in the intelligence.
“What the President said with regard to the four embassies is what I believe as well. He said that he believed that they probably, that they could have been targeting the embassies in the region,” Esper added.
Similarly, Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said in an interview on Sunday with ABC’s “This Week” that it was unclear whether embassies or US military bases would be targeted, but insisted Trump’s claim about four embassies being threatened was “consistent with the intelligence.”
Citing two State Department officials, CNN reported on Monday that State Department officials involved in US embassy security were not made aware of imminent threats to four specific US embassies and didn’t issue warnings about specific dangers to any US embassy before the administration targeted Soleimani.
The State Department sent a global warning to all US embassies before the strike occurred, a senior State Department official said and the department spokesperson confirmed, but it was not directed at specific embassies and did not warn of an imminent attack.
– Zachary Cohen
This is a breaking story and will be updated.