On Thursday, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) spoke with CNN's Chris Cuomo about the escalating tensions with Iran — and specifically fingered the Trump White House's mixed signals and missteps as a major cause of the crisis.
"Look, we don't want war here. I don't think Iran wants war here," said Schiff. "So it's very important that our response, the international response, be a cohesive one, and that we take whatever steps have the least risk of escalating the situation. So I hope that's the approach that the White House takes."
However, Schiff continued, "There have been indications that the White House has been at odds with itself, that the president, for example, is reported to have tried to do a diplomatic approach through the Japanese prime minister to reenter negotiations, but at precisely that moment it appears that [National Security Adviser John] Bolton was announcing new sanctions on Iran. Now, that's a conflicting message, I think, that would leave anyone confused. What are you really trying here, are you making diplomatic overture, or are you really just trying to turn the screws to us?"
"And of course, pulling out the Iran deal blows up the coalition you did have," adds Cuomo.
"That's exactly right," said Schiff. "We can't ignore the fact the situation we're in now was eminently predictable. If we caused other nations to once again impose sanctions on Iran, we shouldn't be surprised Iran is going to leave the deal and go back to enriching, or that we're going to get these increased tensions or likelihood of conflict. That step, plus the designation of the RGC as a terrorist group, I think was predictable that Iran would lash out on that decision as well."