House Armed Services Committee member Michael Waltz, R-Fla., said Tuesday the Trump administration has told Iran that it will hold the country responsible for any attacks by proxies and that the United States is hoping to "deter war by showing strength."
"I think what came across loud and clear is that we are going to deter war by showing strength. Iranians are emboldened by weakness and deferred by strength. The United States is showing strength and that's the right policy," Waltz said on "The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino."
He had just attended a high-level, closed-door briefing on Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Joe Dunford briefed lawmakers in the House and Senate in separate, closed-door sessions on the situation with Iran.
“Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation,” Shanahan told reporters after the briefing. “We do not want the situation to escalate. This is about deterrence, not about war.”
Over the past several weeks the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier and other resources to the Persian Gulf region, and evacuated nonessential personnel from Iraq, amid unspecified threats the administration says are linked to Iran.
Some lawmakers are concerned about war with Iran and the Trump administration's actions.
Waltz, who stepped out of the briefing to talk to Perino, told her that the administration has made it a point to inform Congress about the situation and those actions are having an impact.
"This is the third briefing that I have received on this issue. So the notion that the administration hasn't been informing Congress is misinformed, so a few things. One, the intelligence is well sourced and it's multifaceted and corroborated. Two, it is very clear the sanctions are hurting the Iranian economy and they are looking to respond by, one, diverting their own populous attention from their internal struggles and to externalize that," Waltz said.
Waltz also said Dunford informed Congress that the administration will hold Iran directly responsible for any proxies that attack Americans, something not done in the past.
"One thing I did learn today, General Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, personally sent a message to the head of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) General Soleimani and said, we're not going to hold your proxies responsible if Americans are attacked. We're gonna hold Iran responsible and that is a shift from the past and very important," Waltz said.
Fox News' Alex Pappas contributed to this report.