President Donald Trump revealed Sunday that he did not inform House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top congressional Democratic leaders of the planned U.S. special forces raid that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
After announcing al-Baghdadi's death at a news conference Sunday morning, Trump said he did not fully inform Congress because he "wanted to make sure" the raid was "kept secret," citing the safety of the special forces operators who carried out the high-risk operation.
"There's no country in the world that leaks like we do, and Washington is a leaking machine," Trump said.
Pelosi then released a statement that took a veiled shot at the president, emphasizing the fact that Russia — but not congressional leadership — knew about the raid in advance.
"This month, the House passed a joint resolution on an overwhelmingly bipartisan 354-60 basis which rejects President Trump's green-lighting of Turkish aggression into Syria against our Kurdish partners, and calls on him to present a clear strategy to defeat ISIS," Pelosi said.
"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," she continued. "Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington."
Later in the day, Vice President Mike Pence was grilled by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace as to why Trump did not tell Pelosi about the mission.
Pence explained that Trump did not tell Pelosi not because he does not trust her, but that he shared the mission with as few people as possible to ensure the safety of American forces and the success of the mission.
"I just want to emphasize the president's focus here, throughout, particularly, the last several days, was on the mission to bring a man who was the most wanted man in the world, a man who had brought unspeakable violence through the ISIS caliphate, who was exporting violence throughout the world, to justice," Pence said.