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.”
Ex-AG Matt Whitaker ‘pretty much acknowledges abuse of power’ in Fox News interview
The former acting Attorney General of the United States argued that presidential abuse of power is not a crime during a Tuesday evening appearance on Fox News.
“Abuse of power is not a crime,” Matt Whitaker told Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.
Tufts University Professor Daniel Drezner was fascinated by the admission.
"Interesting that Whitaker pretty much acknowledges abuse of power but doesn’t think it’s egregious," Drezner noted.
‘Abuse of power is not a crime’: Former acting AG Matt Whitaker makes a brazen claim on Fox News
Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told a Fox News audience that it is not a crime for President Donald Trump to abuse the power of his office.
Whitaker made the comments while complaining about "global elitists" during an interview with Laura Ingraham.
"What evidence of a crime do you have?" Whitaker asked, despite Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and defense lawyer Rudy Giuliani all admitting Trump sought foreign election interference to help his struggling re-election campaign.
"Abuse of power is not a crime," the nation's former top law enforcement office argued.
Joe Biden apologizes for ‘partisan lynching’ comments about Bill Clinton’s impeachment
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday apologized for comments he made saying impeachment could be viewed as a "partisan lynching."
The comments from a 1998 interview were reported after Biden said it was "abhorrent" and "despicable" for President Donald Trump to refer to impeachment as a lynching.
"Even if the President should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense," Biden said in 1998.