Rep. Chris Stewart, a key member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday he does not believe that the Trump administration is spoiling for a military conflict with Iran.
"I think a lot of people assume we're about to go to war with Iran, and why are we doing that?" said Stewart on CNN. "I think some of the reporting exaggerated the urgency and I think the president wanted to dial it back a little bit. I think he wanted to assure the American people we're not on the cusp of war with Iran."
Recently, the Pentagon ordered a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf in response to a perceived threat from Iran. Military leaders reportedly were drawing up plans to possibly send 120,000 troops to the Middle East in case of a military conflict. However, President Trump reportedly told national security adviser John Bolton he did not favor a military confrontation with Iran.
Stewart said the reported 120,000 troop increase was contingency planning, which is prudent.
"That's what the military does. I was an Air Force pilot. We considered everything. The one thing you don't want to do is have the president say, 'What about this?' and for the Pentagon to say we never thought about that. They want to think about everything."
Stewart also weighed in newly released court transcripts showing lawyers for President Trump reached out to former national security adviser Michael Flynn when he was considering cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Stewart was non-plussed by the news.
"I'm running out of analogies on this dead horse. This dead horse isn't almost dead, it's all the way dead."
Watch the clip below via CNN: