Rep. Jason Crow leads congressional letter to White House demanding Iran answers

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AURORA | A bevy of federal lawmakers, being led by Aurora Congressman Jason Crow, are requesting answers from the Trump Administration about the decision to strike and kill Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“For the past 17 years, Americans have shouldered the burden created by war in Iraq and subsequent conflict. The American people deserve to have leaders who are willing to have a serious discussion about the wisdom and costs of additional conflict,” 35 Democratic House lawmakers wrote in a letter to the White House. “We urge you to engage in this discussion with us so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure our national security. As you send our nation’s sons and daughters far from home to secure our embassies and interests in the region, it is only right that you provide the American people with a detailed explanation of your strategy and goals.”

The members request public, unclassified answers about the safety of U.S. personnel in the region, the  mission of the additional 7,000 troops most recently deployed to the region, Iraq’s decision to expel U.S. troops from the country and strategies to de-escalate tensions with Iran. 

Lawmakers — including Colorado delegation members Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter — also asked whether the White House would ask congress for further military action against Iran, a contentious point from Democrats who say Congress should be briefed on such matters.

Crow, a former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, which regularly receives military-related briefings.

“While we are still learning details about what occurred, one thing is clear: only Congress can declare war, and the President has not sought any such authorization,” Crow said last week, after learning that Trump authorized a strike that killed Soleimani at an airport in Iraq. 

The U.S. blames him for killing U.S. troops in Iraq. The Trump administration alleges Soleimani had been plotting new attacks just before he was killed, but further details have not so far been made public.

The Iranians fired 15 missiles in retaliation on Wednesday, two U.S. officials said. Ten hit Iraqi military base Ain al-Asad and one targeted a base in Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Four failed, said the officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about a military operation.

Satellite imagery showed at least five impact sites on the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq’s western Anbar province, each leaving charred blast marks that damaged or destroyed buildings. One obliterated a structure in a row of buildings next to a line of helicopters, though none of the aircraft appeared damaged, according to the imagery provided by Planet Labs, Inc.

Iran’s foreign minister tweeted that Tehran had taken and “concluded proportionate measures in self-defense,” adding that Tehran did “not seek escalation” but would defend itself against further aggression.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report