WASHINGTON — President Trump asserted without evidence on Thursday that a top Iranian commander killed in an American airstrike was plotting to blow up the American Embassy in Baghdad.
The president’s unsubstantiated account comes as Democrats have been demanding details about the intelligence the Trump administration received that led to the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leader of the powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
“We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the pro-Iranian protesters who stormed the American Embassy last week. “We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious, somebody died, one of our military people died, people badly wounded.”
Last month, a rocket attack by an Iranian-backed militia on an Iraqi military base killed an American civilian contractor. The United States responded with deadly airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias, which drew outrage from pro-Iranian protesters who broke into the American Embassy compound in Baghdad.
Aides had previously said only that Mr. Trump was angry about the Iranian attack that killed the American contractor and fumed as he watched television footage of demonstrators storming the American Embassy.
Days later, Mr. Trump ordered the strike on General Suleimani. “We had a shot at him and we took it, and that shot was pinpoint accurate and that was the end of a monster,” Mr. Trump said Thursday.
Mr. Trump’s comments came during a brief exchange with reporters after a White House event on newly proposed environmental regulations.
When asked again about the plot he alleged, Mr. Trump said the protesters were breaking windows, “very structurally strong windows” and “those people were going to do very serious harm.”
Democrats have demanded more details about the intelligence Americans received to justify the killing of General Suleimani. Military officials provided a briefing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that even some in Mr. Trump’s own party said was inadequate.