House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday called on the White House to brief lawmakers on the raid that targeted Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, noting that President Donald Trump informed the Russians of the Islamic State leader’s apparent death before telling congressional leadership.
The statement from Pelosi, D-Calif., came after Trump told reporters at a lengthy news conference that he did not inform the House speaker of the raid because he ‘‘wanted to make sure this kept secret.’’
U.S. presidents typically follow the protocol of contacting congressional leaders, regardless of their political party, when a high-level military operation is conducted.
‘‘The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top congressional leadership were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region,’’ Pelosi said. ‘‘Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.’’
Trump said Sunday that he had contacted two Senate Republicans, Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, ahead of his announcement in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. He called Burr ‘‘a great gentleman’’ and Graham ‘‘a very strong hawk’’ who ‘‘agrees with what we’re doing now.’’
Asked whether he had informed Pelosi, Trump replied, ‘‘No, I didn’t. I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure this kept secret. I don’t want to have men lost, and women. I don’t want to have people lost.’’
At another point in his remarks, Trump said he was ‘‘going to notify (congressional leaders) last night, but we decided not to do that, because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before.’’
‘‘Washington is a leaking machine,’’ he said. ‘‘And I told my people, we will not notify them until our great people are out - not just in, but out. I don’t want to have them greeted with firepower like you wouldn’t believe.’’
In an interview on ABC News’s ‘‘This Week,’’ House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Trump did not contact Pelosi, himself or any of the other congressional leaders with whom the White House typically shares information on national security and intelligence matters.
‘‘In terms of notifying the Gang of Eight, that wasn’t done,’’ Schiff said, referring to the House speaker and minority leader, the Senate majority and minority leaders, and the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees.