Trump officials brief lawmakers on alleged Iran threats; Kaine questions administration’s intentions

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Military families around the nation are listening closely to the latest news from the Middle East, as tensions escalate between the U.S. and Iran.

On Tuesday, lawmakers attended closed-door meetings with Trump Administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. There are reports that U.S. intelligence has detected plans by Iran to attack Americans or American interests. President Trump has also tweeted warnings to Iran.  

Senator Tim Kaine said going to war would be a mistake.

“The last thing we need to be doing is getting in another war in the Middle East and contemplating sending 125,000 troops there,” said Kaine. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo updated lawmakers on possible Iranian threats and recently deployed U.S. forces to the Middle East. Following the briefing, Republican Congressman Tom Rice from South Carolina defended the Administration’s stance. 

“I think they had legimate reason for concern and acted appropriately,” said Rep. Rice.

Kaine questions the threat levels and asks if the Trump administration is provoking Iran.

Democrats are concerned about going to war and putting thousands of American lives at risk. Kaine said he wants to make sure Congress weighs in on any military action. 

“We should be having a debate on the floor of the Senate and every member of the Senate should have to vote on it,” Kaine said. “That’s what the Constitution says, that’s what the American people deserve.”

President Trump said there’s no indication Iran plans to attack the U.S.. He also told reporters there are no diplomatic talks taking place, but he’s open to negotiating with Iran.

“If they call, we would certainly negotiate. But that’s going to be up to them. I only want them to call if they’re ready,” Trump said.