Adam Schiff, the combative chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, didn’t contest the recent intelligence that the Trump administration said was behind its newly aggressive posture toward Iran. Nor did he accuse the White House of misrepresenting it. Instead he returned to a critique that Democrats have made of Trump’s hawkish Iran policy from the start: that it will lead America down the path of an ill-planned confrontation.
“It’s not that I think there isn’t intelligence to be concerned about. There is,” Schiff told us in an interview in the Capitol on Thursday afternoon. “But how much of this is a predictable response to actions that we’re taking without any clear idea of where it’s supposed to lead us? That’s the predominant concern that I have, that we may be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of conflict with Iran—and without any endgame in mind.”
Recent actions by the Trump administration, Schiff said, seemed designed to provoke exactly the kind of Iranian response that senior U.S. officials have spent the past two weeks citing. Those actions by the United States include a move to block countries from purchasing Iranian oil—part of an escalating series of sanctions on Tehran since walking away from the 2015 nuclear deal last year—and, in April, declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. [Continue reading…]