The path forward remains unclear for U.S. policymakers following the assassination of Maj. General Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general.
Iran's top diplomat has now been barred from entering the United States. He was scheduled to appear for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council later this week.
The evolving situation with Iran poses huge political questions for everyone in federal office. Republican Congressman Fred Upton represents Michigan's 6th Congressional District. He told Stateside Host April Baer that the next few days will be critical in determining how this situation unfolds.
“We’re all waiting to see what the response may be. We are hoping that it is not too serious, but we don’t know what it’s going to be and where it will lead us,” he said.
Upton said President Donald Trump received intelligence that Soleimani was preparing an “imminent strike” on U.S. officials.
“I don’t know the evidence on both sides, but I have to believe that it was that evidence that caused the President to make the reaction that he did, and to send the signal that you’ve poked the bear quite a bit here,” he said.
The country’s next moves in the conflict remain unclear. Upton said much of what happens next depends on how Iran responds to the assassination, but “in the meantime, Congress needs to be brought into this."
Top congressional officials from the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, known as the “Gang of Eight,” were scheduled to be briefed on the situation on Tuesday. Further briefings for other members of Congress are expected on Wednesday. Upton said the Trump administration will likely not share the “intimate details” with the rank-and-file members of Congress for security reasons, but intelligence briefings will be critical in helping guide Congress on next steps.
“I would guess that there are going to be a lot of questions from both sides of the aisle. I would suspect that both [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and [Mark] Esper, the Secretary of Defense, will come up and describe what they knew, and what they can tell us.”
Meanwhile, fellow U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI 8) is preparing to introduce a war powers resolution. It would require the Trump administration to stop further military actions without congressional approval. Upton said he supported similar legislation in last year's National Defense Authorization Act, but he is waiting to see if Slotkin’s bill will be a “political document” or a “substantive one” with bipartisan input.
This post was written by production assistant Catherine Nouhan.