The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under Barack Obama appeared on “Meet the Press” Sunday to discuss President Trump’s decision to take out Iran’s top military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, who the Pentagon says was “actively developing plans” for more attacks on Americans.
During the interview, former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson torpedoed the Democrats’ talking point about Trump supposedly needing congressional approval to order the strike on Soleimani. Whether or not you agree with the Trump administration’s description of Soleimani as a terrorist,” Johnson explained, the president had “ample domestic legal authority to take him out without additional congressional authorization.”
“If you believe everything our government is saying about General Soleimani, he was a lawful military objective and the president, under his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief, had ample domestic legal authority to take him out without additional congressional authorization,” Johnson told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd Sunday, as reported by Town Hall (video below). “Whether he was a terrorist or a general in a military force that was engaged in armed attacks against our people, he was a lawful military objective.”
This morning, Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson debunked Democrats' claim that Congress needed to approve Soleimani strike
Johnson: Soleimani was a "lawful military objective" & the President had "ample domestic legal authority to take him out" pic.twitter.com/1LUqYAwm9j
— Zach Parkinson (@AZachParkinson) January 5, 2020
The U.S. Department of Defense explained in a statement issued shortly after the airstrike that killed Soleimani that the general was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Defense Department revealed in the statement. “General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.”
After he defended Trump’s authority to order the strike against the general, Johnson was promptly targeted by the left, including Media Matters, which accused both Johnson and Todd of failing to disclose that the former DHS secretary is now a board member of defense contractor Lockheed Martin – suggesting Johnson is actively attempting to promote war for his self-interest.
“Jeh Johnson, who was secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to discuss President Donald Trump ordering the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani,” the Media Matters report reads. “Neither Johnson nor host Chuck Todd disclosed that Johnson is a board member of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which reportedly paid him over $300,000 in 2018 alone.”
The left-wing organization also highlighted a tweet from Popular Information’s Judd Legum calling foul on the omission:
Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson appeared on Meet The Press and asserted Trump had "ample domestic legal authority to take [Soleimani] out without an additional congressional authorization"
NOT DISCLOSED: Johnson is currently on the board of defense contractor Lockheed Martin pic.twitter.com/cimTpyolTf
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 5, 2020
In its report on Johnson’s defense of Trump’s authority to order the strike, Town Hall cites a document on the “Law of Armed Conflict” released by the Peterson Air Force Base’s Legal Office, which defines “military objectives” as “any object which by its nature, location, purpose, or use makes an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.”
In April 2019, the U.S. Department of State announced that Soleimani was responsible for 17 percent of American deaths during the Iraqi War (2003-2011) as the man in control of all Iranian and Iran-backed operations in the region.