WH Enters Crash Mode As Top US General Tries To Clean Up Trump’s Mess
The controversy surrounding the terrorist attack that killed four US soldiers in Niger has gone from bad to worse as President Donald Trump refuses to address the circumstances leading up to the attack, and decided instead to attack Myeshia Johnson, the widow of one of the fallen soldiers.
Now, the top general in the United States stepped forward and pledged Monday to keep the public, the media and Congress informed of the investigation into the ambush in Niger as questions continue to swirl about the attack.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, however, did not provide new details on the Oct. 4 attack that left four U.S. soldiers dead, saying the investigation would clear up many of the questions.
“We owe the families as much information as we can find out about what happened, and we owe the American people an explanation of what their men and women were doing at this particular time,” Dunford told reporters at the Pentagon. “The only thing I’m asking for today is a bit of patience to make sure what we provide to you, when we provide it, is factual.”
The Trump administration has come under increasing criticism from prominent lawmakers and others over transparency on the attack and, more broadly, U.S. operations in Niger.
Both Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that they were unaware the United States had 1,000 troops in Niger.
Asked about the lawmakers’ criticism, Dunford said he thought the Pentagon had been doing a good job informing Congress. But concede the Pentagon needs to do better.
Dunford took questions from reporters. Though he offered few answers, he said reporters were asking “fair questions.”
Dunford’s briefing also comes as the White House continues to be ensnared in controversy over President Trump’s response to the attack and his subsequent call to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of one of the soldiers killed in the attack.
As the controversy ballooned last week, Trump’s chief of staff, Retired Gen. John Kelly appeared at the White House press briefing to discuss the process after a service member is killed in combat and slammed a congresswoman who listened to Trump’s call to Johnson, accusing her of “lying” during an FBI event.
The next day, when a video revealed that Kelly grossly misrepresented the congresswoman’s remarks at a 2015 dedication ceremony for an FBI office, Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the press that it’s “highly inappropriate” to question a four-star general.
Watch part of the brief in the video below as Dunford tries to clean up the mess caused by team Trump: