On CNN Saturday, former Obama campaign official Aaron Johnson confronted Republican strategist Brian Robinson for defending President Donald Trump's controversial claims that Iran posed an "imminent threat" that justified the strike on Iranian general Qassim Suleimani.
"You do need to defend the argument that it's imminent, right?" said anchor Victor Blackwell. "You have to defend that element. Otherwise it's illegal."
"I think he can go out and say it was imminent," said Robinson. "We had good intelligence to work on. We know what this guy's record is. Even Democrats admit this guy is a terrorist and murderer of innocents. We know he was a bad guy."
"Bad guy, killer, he should be dead — none of that equals imminent," said Blackwell.
"Two, three weeks is imminent when you only get so many opportunities," said Robinson.
"It was not imminent, and at the end of the day we're playing with national security," said Johnson. "The number one objective is protect the homeland. Keep American lives safe. For him to basically, I believe, just act off belief or a feeling, not the intelligence, not the numbers, not the departments that are there to make sure they give him the intelligence to make these decisions, I think you see a waffling flip-flop from this president. Again, I think he needs to today, tomorrow show this imminent factual evidence that made him go over and attack Iran. If he can prove it, great. If he can't, we've got to call it what it is, that he's lying and taking us to war, putting American troops' lives on the line basically on re-election efforts and political beliefs. If it's not imminent or factual and based on intelligence, what is it?"