U.S. special forces took down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a daring raid, President Donald Trump told the nation Sunday morning. The “whimpering and crying” terrorist blew himself up, taking three children with him. Despite heavy fire, U.S. forces took no casualties and only a military canine was injured. Al-Baghdadi, the president said, was a “coward” who “died like a dog.”
President Trump hinted Saturday night that “something big” was in the works but made no announcement of the raid until all forces had safely returned. During his Sunday press conference, the president was asked if he had notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi beforehand.
“No, I didn’t. I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure this kept secret,” Trump said. “I don’t want to have people lost.” That drew a sharp response from the San Francisco Democrat.
“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.”
Vice President Pence said it wasn’t for lack of trust, but those in the military and law enforcement have room for doubt. Pelosi has protested Trump’s operations against the violent MS-13 gang, whose murders have spread terror in California cities. Pelosi cited the gang members’ “spark of divinity” and resists the president’s effort to seal the border.
President Trump also chose not to inform House Intelligence Committee boss Adam Schiff, a Burbank, CA Democrat. Schiff explained why he should have been in the loop. “The reason to notify the ‘gang of eight’ is more important when things go wrong.” Things could have gone wrong, those on the dangerous mission might consider, if Schiff had been given advance notice.
Schiff has deployed the intelligence committee as his personal squad to impeach the president. Even with legitimate cause, that should take place in the judiciary committee, and not behind closed doors. During the Mueller probe, Schiff proved himself a serial prevaricator and the likely source of leaks to the establishment media.
Leaks could easily have imperiled American forces, and those on the mission have grounds to believe that Schiff and Pelosi would say or do anything rather than concede a victory for President Trump. Hillary Clinton has been proclaiming that Trump “knows he’s an illegitimate president,” and Democrats are trying impeach him before U.S. Attorney John Durham issues indictments in what is now a criminal probe.
As President Trump explained, U.S. forces were in Baghdadi’s compound for two hours and gathered a trove of sensitive intelligence. That will aid future operations against ISIS and other terrorist groups.
ISIS has been active in the United States and in 2016, when nine Minnesota men sought to join ISIS and fight for the caliphate, Rep. Ilhan Omar pleaded for “compassion” and “restorative justice.” At this writing Rep. Omar has not issued a statement on the operation that took down al-Baghdadi.
The military canine that chased him down in a tunnel is expected to survive.