Republican U.S. senators plan to introduce legislation on Wednesday seeking to counteract what they see as Iran’s increasing influence in Iraq, amid concern about attacks in Iraq by groups U.S. officials consider Iranian proxies, a Senate aide said on Wednesday.
Among other things, the bill, whose text was seen by Reuters, would impose terrorism-related sanctions on Iranian-controlled militias and require the U.S. Secretary of State to publish and maintain a list of armed groups receiving assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.
Sponsors of the “Iranian Proxies Terrorist Sanctions Act” include Senators David Perdue, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. A similar bill, backed by Republican Representative Ted Poe, has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
There was no immediate word on when the legislation might be considered by congressional committees, normally the first steps toward becoming law.
Three mortar shells landed inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone just after midnight local time on Friday, the first such attack in several years in the area, which houses parliament, government buildings and many foreign embassies.
On Tuesday, the United States warned Iran that it would “respond swiftly and decisively” to any attacks by its allies in Iraq that resulted in injury to Americans or damage to U.S. facilities.
Reuters reported last month that Iran had given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite Muslim proxy groups in Iraq and was developing the capacity to build more there, a development likely to exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by President Donald Trump.
In May, Trump withdrew the United States from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Iran and ordered the reimposition of U.S. sanctions suspended under the deal aimed at stalling Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.
Iran’s Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbors and its arch-enemy Israel have expressed concerns about Tehran’s regional activities as a threat to their security.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool
MSNBC panel bursts out laughing after watching clip of Alan Dershowitz explaining his Trump defense strategy
On MSNBC Saturday, a panel of legal experts tore into former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz's argument that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense, which anchor Joy Reid played for them in a clip.
"You cannot make any sense out of it. It is an absurd comment," said former federal prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, to laughter around the table. "It is the standard by which we have impeached in the past. If you listen to the witnesses at the House, three out of four said that is an impeachable offense. The articles against Richard Nixon included abuse of power. It is clearly what was intended by our framers. It's what the Federalist Papers say, and it's the thing that makes sense. Other high crimes and misdemeanors are exactly that. It isn't under the federal statutes that they were talking about. Bribery isn't under the federal statute because there was no federal bribery crime when the Constitution was passed. It was whatever people thought it was."
All the president’s grifters
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
One of Donald Trump's great gifts is an instinct for surrounding himself with people who are so sleazy and lacking in credibility that when they're indicted for some scam or flip on him and reveal his abuses of power they're easy to discredit.
Ken Starr will end up being a nightmare for Trump during the Senate impeachment trial: Ex-solicitor general
On Saturday's edition of MSNBC's "AM Joy," law professor and former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal walked through the problems with President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team, which includes such notable names as former anti-Clinton independent counsel Ken Starr and retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.
"I'm not going to like join the chorus of those who say because Trump has hired Epstein's lawyers, that's somehow bad," said Katyal. "I think it's dangerous thing in this country to attack the lawyers for the clients that they've represented in the past. We don't want to incentivize great lawyers not to take hard cases because of fear of personal attacks later."