Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), in separate statements to the media, said that President Donald Trump didn’t give them notice ahead of the raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“I wasn’t, but I was in the similar position when President Obama ordered the attack on Osama bin Laden. I was not called in advance then, nor do I expect to be called in advance now,” McConnell told reporters, according to The Hill.
McConnell said the White House told him before the operation went public.
“The administration attempted to let me know. I didn’t connect with them before the president’s press conference, but they attempted to let me know before he went public. So the two situations were handled exactly the same from my point of view,” McConnell added.
McCarthy told a CNN reporter that he was notified after the fact.
The two hailed the death of al-Baghdadi and praised Trump for the decision.
“This morning’s announcement should confirm for the world what many already knew—that terrorists cannot outlast or outmatch the commitment of the U.S. counter-terrorism apparatus. We will not stop or waver in destroying terrorist leaders wherever they hide,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“The world is a safer place today because al-Baghdadi has been brought to justice. I applaud our intelligence professionals, the brave servicemembers who risked everything to carry out this mission, and President Trump and his team,” McConnell wrote on Twitter.
Trump confirmed the death of al-Baghdadi in a press conference on Oct. 27, saying the ISIS leader died in a tunnel during a nighttime raid in northern Syria. The terrorist leader brought three children with him into the tunnel and detonated a suicide vest, killing them and himself.
“Some” leaders were told about the raid beforehand and others were being informed as he made his Sunday morning announcement, Trump said.
“We were going to notify them last night, but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before,” he said. “There’s no country in the world that leaks like we do, and Washington is a leaking machine.
“I told my people we will not notify them until our great people are out—not just in, but out.”
On Monday, the president singled out Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
“Well, I guess the only thing is they were talking about why didn’t I give the information to Adam Schiff and his committee. And the answer is: Because I think Adam Schiff is the biggest leaker in Washington,” Trump said. “You know that. I know that. We all know that. I’ve watched Adam Schiff leak. He’s a corrupt politician. He’s a leaker like nobody has ever seen before.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the White House for not notifying Congress in a statement about the killing of al-Baghdadi.