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White House’s Syria Threat Raises Awkward Questions About Credibility

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: The sun rises near the White House on November 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. Americans today will choose between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as they go to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The following is an excerpt from Steve Benen | June 27, 2017 | msnbc.com |

Just before 10 p.m. (ET) last night, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a rather striking statement about developments in Syria, which raised the prospect of further U.S. military intervention. The entire statement, which Rachel highlighted at the end of last night’s show, read as follows:

“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children. The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

Taken at face value, this suggests the Trump administration received intelligence pointing to a possible chemical-weapons attack, being considered by Syria’s Assad government, and the statement was intended to serve as a warning.

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