McCain Says ‘It Was Better Under Obama’, Threatens To Subpoena WH Over Niger Attack
Sen. John McCain on Thursday threatened to subpoena the Trump administration to compel information from the Pentagon and the White House about the Niger attack, complaining that the Military “was better under Obama” and that “it was easier” to get details of active military operations.
Following McCain’s threat, the White House quickly announced that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will meet with McCain Friday afternoon, according to the Washington Post.
The expeditious meeting comes just one day after the Arizona Senator and Armed Services Committee chairman blasted the Trump administration for failing to be more forthcoming with details about the ambush that killed four U.S. Special Forces members in Niger, according to a person familiar with the planned meeting.
The Trump administration has been under intense scrutiny in the last several days as the Pentagon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation attempt to piece together what happened in Niger, and public frustration grows at the lack of information that is being made public.
McCain’s complaint goes beyond that: As chairman of the Senate committee with primary oversight over the military, he argued, he must be informed of such operations ahead of time, and be looped in on the investigation as it proceeds.
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee communicated their frustrations to national security adviser H.R. McMaster during a meeting on Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said the senators informed McMaster they needed to be informed about operations in more detail ahead of time.
“I’m all for going after terrorists,” Graham added, “but I want to know before I read about it in the paper where our people are and what they’re doing.”
Both McCain and Graham said that McMaster seemed sympathetic to their frustrations. But, McCain added, “talk is cheap.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said the Niger attack only accentuates “the need for Congress to specifically authorize the military’s operations against the Islamic State.”
“The many questions surrounding the death of American service members in Niger show the urgent need to have a public discussion about the current extent of our military operations around the world,” Kaine said in a statement. “A new AUMF is not only legally necessary, it would also send an important message of resolve to the American public and our troops that we stand behind them in their mission.”
Bad things happen when you have an “unpredictable” commander-in-chief.