US Network Pool via ABC News Videosource - Strictly no Archive Resale / Authorized re-use by AP’s broadcast and digital output only
Washington - 12 June 2019
1. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Eliot Engel, (D) New York: ++CAMERA SHOT CHANGES AS INCOMING++
"I obviously cannot talk about the details of the briefing we received but suffice to say though we did not hear a single word about an emergency or a plan to move ahead with this sale. For this major fiasco, the administration quietly let us know on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend. It's really a slap in the face. Congress is going to have to give itself stronger tools before the administration just starts ignoring us completely."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Michael McCaul, (R) Texas: ++SOUNDBITE CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS SHOT++
"We are here today because the State Department recently certified to Congress that the Iran threat constitutes an emergency requiring the immediate provision of certain defense systems to Saudi Arabia, The UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Jordan. This rarely used emergency authority bypassed Article 1 congressional review of these sales. The Founding Fathers put Article 1 first. Which represents the American people. Before Article 2 in the Constitution and they did that for a reason."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Michael McCaul, (R) Texas: ++CAMERA SHOT CHANGES AS INCOMING++
"As I said last month the recent use of this emergency authority in my judgment was unfortunate."
4. SOUNDBITE (English) R. Clarke Cooper, Assistant Secretary of State:
"The secretary's decision to exercise his statutory authorities under the Arms Export Control Act reflect the current threat from Iran"
5. Cutaway of Rep. Sires (PARTIALLY COVERS UPCOMING SOUNDBITE)
6. SOUNDBITE (English) R. Clarke Cooper, Assistant Secretary of State:
"It is this situation this significant increase in both the intelligence of threat streams and clear provocative and damaging actions taken by Iran's government that the secretary did determine it constituted an emergency. It is this confluence of strategic priorities the vitality of our bilateral relationships and partnerships and the urgent regional threat that drove him to make the certification."
7. Cutaway of Rep. Costa (PARTIALLY COVERS PREVIOUS SOUNDBITE)
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Eliot Engel, (D) New York:
"The State Department cited an increase in Iranian threats as a major justification for invoking the Arms Export Control Act emergency power provisions. I've long believed again as I said that Iran remains the greatest threat to the region. But this appears to be a convenient excuse, convenient way to get these weapons sales out the door without consulting Congress."
Lawmakers are grilling the State Department on President Donald Trump's move to sell Saudi Arabia arms without Congressional review.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel of New York decried the move as "a slap in the face" to Congress.
The Democrat accused the Trump administration of using threats from Iran as a "convenient excuse" to push through the sale.
Using an obscure loophole in the Arms Export Control Act, the Trump administration authorized the sale of $8.1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last month without Congressional review.
Senior State Department official, R. Clark Cooper defended that move to the Congressional panel Wednesday, saying the sale was necessary to protect U.S. allies.
Cooper is the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.
Describing the sale as "unfortunate," the top Republican on the Panel, Michael McCaul of Texas, warned "we certainly hope this is a one-time exception."
Lawmakers pressed Cooper focused in on the timeline of decision making leading up to the emergency declaration and the individuals involved.