NBC Host Kristen Welker Presses House Intelligence Chair On If US Should Go On ‘Offense,’ Strike Iran

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Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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NBC host Kristen Welker pressed Republican Ohio Rep. Mike Turner on Sunday on if the U.S. should go on “offense” and strike Iran after the country launched an attack Saturday on Israel.

The House Intelligence Committee chair appeared on “Meet the Press” to discuss the actions by Iran, launching an estimated 300 drones and cruise and ballistic missiles against Israel. After Israeli officials confirmed 99% of the strike was shot down by their military defense and allies, including the U.S., Iran claimed the attacks were over, though Israel believes otherwise.

While the U.S. stands by its defense of Israel, White House national security spokesman John Kirby stated Sunday the U.S. was not seeking an escalation to the conflict. Welker, however, pressed Turner on what America should do as some Republicans have called for a response to Iran’s actions. (RELATED: US Shoots Down Iranian Drones Targeting Israel)

“As you know, some of your Republican colleagues say this calls for the United States to respond directly by striking Iran. Would you support that? Should the United States go on offense and strike Iran, engage directly with Iran?” Welker questioned.

“I think what the United States needs to do is to understand that Iran has already taken the next step of understanding that they get a free pass for attacking Israel directly from Iranian soil from the United States. And I do believe —,” Turner stated.

“So is that a ‘yes’? Is that a ‘yes,’ Congressman?” Welker interjected.

“I believe that they will do it again. And I think the United States needs to make clear, which this administration has not, that if they continue to attack Israel, that, yes, they will get a response from Iran. Iran is in a very vulnerable position. First off, it should never be allowed to be a nuclear weapon state. This administration gave it $6 billion to release detainees,” Turner stated.

Welker jumped in to state the frozen assets, which were used by the U.S. to strike a deal with Iran in September 2023 to unfreeze $6 billion in assets for the release of five American prisoners, remained frozen due to strikes against Israel by Hamas. Biden officials insisted at the time the funds were strictly for “humanitarian purposes;” the assets, however, could reportedly have been used to free up funds for Iran as well as the use by terrorist groups like Hamas.

“Hold on, those assets were frozen. Congressman, as you know, those were Iranian funds and the assets are now frozen. Let me ask you this —” Welker stated.

“This administration permitted Iran to have access to $6 billion that it did not have access to before,” Turner continued.

“But those assets are frozen and haven’t made their way to Iran, as you know Congressman,” Welker noted.

“This administration has continued to fail to recognize that Iran is an adversary — it’s an adversary to Israel. It is coordinating Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis in Yemen and attacks on commercial waterways. The administration continues to look the other way and failed to recognize that this is escalating and they’re going to have to step up to the plate,” Turner stated.

After the Oct. 7, 2023 terrorist attack against Israel by Hamas, U.S. lawmakers demanded the Biden administration refreeze the $6 billion in Iranian funds. The U.S. later blocked the money, with Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo confirming to House Democrats the funds wouldn’t be “going anywhere anytime soon.” The Biden administration renewed a sanctions waiver against Iran in March which allows them access to billions of dollars.

The renewed waiver, which was extended for four months, allows the Iranian regime access to $10 billion in previously frozen Iranian revenues gathered through electricity exports, according to The Washington Free Beacon.