FACT CHECK: Did Kevin McCarthy Say Trump Killed Qasem Soleimani ‘Because Adam Schiff “Spent The Last Year On Impeachment”‘?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

Raw Story published an article Jan. 7 claiming that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani “because Adam Schiff ‘spent the last year on impeachment.'”

“Oh, c’mon,” reads the Facebook post.

Verdict: False

McCarthy’s statement suggested that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s critical tweet was the result of “Schiff’s focus on impeachment instead of intelligence,” per a spokesman from McCarthy’s office. It did not suggest a causal link between Trump ordering the drone strike and Schiff holding impeachment hearings.

Fact Check:

During a Jan. 7 appearance on “Fox and Friends,” McCarthy discussed the latest developments in impeachment and the U.S.’s killing of Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. He also responded to Schiff’s tweet criticizing Trump for ordering the drone strike that killed Soleimani.

“You know what? He’s the chairman of the Intel committee,” said McCarthy. “Maybe had he spent the last year working on that, trying to protect us from what was happening in Iran – from the bombing of the tankers, Saudi Arabia, taking down our drone – instead of taking that committee and making it impeachment, he would never have made that comment.”

Schiff tweeted his criticism of Trump’s move Jan. 6, just a day before Iran launched retaliatory missile attacks on two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. Other politicians, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, have also criticized Trump for the drone strike.

“A dangerous and provocative decision to target a top Iranian official for killing. Threats to bomb cultural sites and use disproportionate force,” wrote Schiff. “These are the acts of a President with no functional national security process. Congress must engage with hearings and constraints.”

Raw Story published an article Jan. 7 with the headline that reads, “Kevin McCarthy claims Trump killed Iranian general because Adam Schiff ‘spent the last year on impeachment.'” The story claims that Trump wouldn’t have ordered the drone strike that killed Soleimani if Schiff had not pursued impeachment.

But, according to a spokesman from McCarthy’s office, the article mischaracterizes the House minority leader’s statement.

“House Democrats are more worried about removing President Trump from office than they are about removing terrorists from the face of the earth,” said Mark Bednar, McCarthy’s communications director, in an email to the Caller. “Leader McCarthy told Fox & Friends that had Chairman Schiff actually used his committee for intelligence instead of impeachment, he wouldn’t have issued that negative comment about President Trump’s decisive action against Soleimani.”

McCarthy’s statement did not draw a causal link between Trump ordering the drone strike and Schiff holding impeachment hearings. Bednar appears to suggest McCarthy implied Schiff was unaware of the threat Soleimani posed because he focused on impeachment rather than intelligence in his capacity as the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

The House minority leader emphasized later in the “Fox and Friends” interview that Trump ordered the drone strike because Soleimani posed a threat to the U.S.

“The one thing I have a clear understanding, this man has killed more than 600 Americans. This man had continued to rise throughout the region, create problems not only for us but the rest of the world,” McCarthy said. “The world is safer today because this president took action, and he stopped something from creating in the future.”

Soleimani was “actively developing plans” to attack U.S. diplomats and service members in the region, according to a statement from the Pentagon.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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