(9 Jan 2020) President Donald Trump says he has his "suspicions" about what happened to the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Iran Tuesday night, killing all 176 people on board.
"It’s a tragic thing," Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday. "Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side, could have made a mistake. It was flying…in a pretty rough neighborhood," he said.
"Some people say it was mechanical," Trump added. "I personally don’t think that’s even a question."’
Trump spoke as U.S. officials said it was "highly likely" that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed a Ukrainian jetliner late Tuesday, killing all 176 people on board.
The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general last week.
The officials, citing U.S. intelligence, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. They had no immediate information on intent.
Trump also again defended his administration’s targeted killing of General Qassam Soleimani, calling him a "total monster."
The president claimed for the first time that Soleimani was "looking to blow up our Embassy" in Baghdad.
He said his quick movements and decisions with that intelligence avoided another Benghazi situation, referring to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi during which the U.S Ambassador to Libya was killed, along with a foreign service officer and two CIA operatives.
Trump called his Baghdad response "the anti-Benghazi."
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