Watch: Mike Pence demands America – even top members of Congress – blindly trust Trump decision to assassinate Suleimani
Mike Pence (Screen Shot)

After a blowup by Republican Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul Wednesday the White House sent Vice President Mike Pence out on a media blitz Thursday morning to deflect bipartisan criticism over the rationale for President Donald Trump's decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.


Pence in multiple media appearances insisted that Trump made the "right decision," given what he claimed was the overwhelming amount of evidence that Soleimani must be taken out to avert an "imminent" attack on U.S. forces. But he also defended the administration's refusal to produce even one iota of that evidence and share it with the American people – or even with top Members of Congress.

Insisting America must blindly trust that Trump made the right decision, Pence said even top Members of Congress, even in a classified briefing during which they would be sworn to secrecy, could not be trusted with the details, lest it compromise "what we call sources and methods." The Vice President used that stock phrase in interviews with multiple news outlets.

Speaking with NBC News' Savannah Guthrie on "Today" Pence replied to her questioning why the administration was refusing to deliver to Congress its justification for killing Soleimani.

"Well some of that has to do with what's called 'sources and methods,' Savannah," Pence said, condescendingly.

Conveniently, Pence insisted that "some of the most compelling evidence that Qassem Soleimani was preparing an imminent attack against American forces and American personnel also represents some of the most sensitive intelligence that we have. It could compromise those sources and methods," Pence said, justifying why the Trump administration is refusing to comply with its obligation to at least brief the Gang of Eight.

Noteworthy is that President Donald Trump, in the Oval Office in 2017, did exactly that, and not with any Member of Congress but with top Russian officials. Trump revealed code word classified information to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, compromising members of Israeli Intelligence.

Pence went on to say, "I can assure your viewers that those of us that saw all the evidence in real time, know that President Trump made the right decision to take Qassem Soleimani off the battlefield."

The Vice President made the same argument on Fox News.

"Let me assure your viewers I was there every step of the way," Pence told "Fox & Friends."

"To protect sources and methods we're simply not able to share with every member of the House and Senate the intelligence that supported the President's decision to take out Qassem Soleimani," Pence said, echoing his comments on "Today."

"I can assure your viewers that there was a threat of an imminent attack."

"The most compelling evidence to support intelligence to support the fact that there was an imminent attack being developed by Qassem Soleimani is frankly too sensitive to share broadly – it would compromise what we call 'sources and methods,'" Pence again insisted.

For decades Presidents have shared with the Gang of Eight, frequently before major operations, and definitely after, why they have taken drastic action.

The Gang of Eight, who are sworn to secrecy, consists of the top two Democrats and Republicans on both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Under most circumstances the President is legally required to inform them of "significant anticipated intelligence activity," although he can "limit access" to that intel.

CNN National Security and Legal Analyst and Lawfare Executive Editor Susan Hennessey weighs in: