Pelosi Schiff al Baghdadi, Pelosi says Trump notified Russians of Baghdadi.
President Donald Trump announced early Sunday that Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed in a US military strike in Syria on Saturday.
In a press conference, Trump responded to a reporter who asked if he informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the strike ahead of time by confirming that he didn’t.
“No, I didn’t,” Trump said. “I wanted to make sure this kept secret, I didn’t want to have men lost, and women, I didn’t want people lost.”
NBC News reporter Alex Moe tweeted that other officials in the Democrat-held House including House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Chair Elliot Engel, and House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith were also uninformed about Baghdadi’s death, and Smith’s office told the outlet it reached out to Department of Defense officials concerning the lack of a pre- or post-strike call, but haven’t received any information.
In a free-wheeling Sunday press conference, Trump detailed the mission that trapped the former leader and some of his children in a tunnel before he detonated a suicide vest. The president also thanked Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Syrian Kurds for their assistance in the strike, but emphasized that US agents were at the heart of the operation.
Newsweek first reported that Baghdadi was believed to have been killed.
Trump first sparked excitement later on Saturday night, when he tweeted after the operation had concluded that “Something very big has just happened!” The White House later announced that Trump was slated to make a “major statement” Sunday at 9:00 a.m.
Al-Baghdadi’s killing marks a major victory for US forces after the reclusive leader has spent the last five years in hiding while the United States placing a $25 million bounty on his head in 2016.
Trump called the former leader a “sick and depraved man” who “was vicious and violent and he died in a vicious and violent way,” and that the “world is now a much safer place.”