US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper have arrived at the White House following Iran missile attack on Iraqi air base.
“The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham had said.
It was unclear what response, if any, the United States was planning.
Hours earlier on Tuesday, Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over Friday’s killing in Iraq of Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump tweeted: “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” he told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or “by their own hand.”
“We’re prepared for any contingency. And then we will respond appropriately to whatever they do.”
Stock markets in Asia fell sharply on news of the rocket attack, while investor safe havens including the Japanese yen and gold shot higher.
Congress, Senate leaders briefed
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence briefed top Democrats in Congress on the Iranian strikes on installations in Iraq holding US forces.
Aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer both confirmed the lawmakers spoke with the vice president by telephone on Tuesday.
Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer, says the New York Democrat is closely monitoring the situation and is praying for the safety of service members and other personnel.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted that the speaker returned a call from the vice president moments after presiding over the House.
Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the vice president, said Pence has been in continuous contact with national security officials and made calls to congressional leadership at President Donald Trump’s direction.
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