WASHINGTON — The United States declined Wednesday to respond to “buzz” or “rumors” in Israel about reports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seeking cabinet support for a strike on Iran.
The White House said it was focused squarely on a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear drive, and said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had recently expressed discomfort about the impact of Iranian sanctions.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that he would not comment on “buzz, rumors, decisions that may or may not have been made, debates that may or may not have been had.”
“I’m not going to respond to that kind of speculation.”
Carney was asked to comment after a report in Haaretz newspaper on Wednesday cited a senior Israeli official as saying Netanyahu was working with Defense Minister Ehud Barak to win support from skeptical members of the cabinet who oppose attacking Iranian nuclear facilities.
The report followed days of renewed public discussion among Israeli commentators about the possibility that the Jewish state would take unilateral military action against Iran.
Carney said that the Obama White House was “very focused” on the threat from Iran and the need for Tehran to uphold its international obligations on its nuclear program.
“I believe the president of Iran himself recently conceded that … sanctions are having dramatic negative impact on their economy.”
“We remain focused on a diplomatic channel here, a diplomatic course in terms of dealing with Iran.”
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.
The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.
It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.
GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.
Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.
"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."
Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.
White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.
CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."
Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.
Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.