Transcript for Defense Secretary Mattis briefs members of Congress on deadly Niger mission
As questions and controversy swirl around the deaths of those four American soldiers in the African country of Niger there will be a funeral today for the 25-year-old sergeant la David Johnson. Overnight in south Florida hundreds of people including friends, family and just complete strangers, they all showed up for a public viewing. Sergeant Johnson leaves behind two children and a pregnant wife. Incredibly sad. Meanwhile, this morning we're learning more about the ambush in which sergeant Johnson and his three fellow soldiers were killed back on October 4th in a country many Americans didn't know we had military forces. There have been conflicts reports as to what happened there and general Mattis went to capitol hill to brief senator John McCain demanding more information and comes amidst a fresh war of words from the white house and a congresswoman who listened in on the phone call between the president and sergeant Johnson's wife. Reporter: Good morning. We are learning a lot more about that deadly ambush. It took place 17 days ago, some Democrats are already calling it trump's Benghazi but there's still ray lot we don't know. Mr. President did you authorize the mission in Niger? Thank you all very much. Reporter: President trump has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the tragic mission that cost the lives of four American soldiers, three of them green berets. Lawmakers on capitol hill want answers. Senator John McCain threatened to use subpoenas to get them. On Friday defense secretary James Mattis showed up in person to brief McCain. I felt we're not getting sufficient amount of information and we are clearing a lot of that up now. Reporter: Here's what we know about the attack. It took place October 4th near the village of tongo tongo. They met with a village elder and during that meeting, the soldiers had an inkling of danger. The hair on the back of their neck stood up after two motorcycles raced out of the village. The intelligence official tells us the troops felt like the elder was trying to stall them. Sure enough, armed fighters soon hit them with everything from the woods on both sides of the road. Small arms, vehicle-mounted weapons, even mortars. The U.S. Team wasn't expecting combat. Their vehicles unarmored. They had no U.S. Air support and French air carat didn't get there until a half hour into the firefight. To date the president has not said a thing about the mission itself. Instead, the conversation this week unraveled over how best to honor fallen troops and console their families with white house chief of staff general John Kelly ultimately stepping in to smack down a Florida congresswoman who listened to the president's call to a grie grieving widow. Kelly is a gold star father himself. On Friday the white house press secretary went so far as to suggest that Kelly should have the last word on the matter. If you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general I think that that's something highly inappropriate. Reporter: The president called him an elegant man adding that he's doing a fantastic job. He was so offended that a woman would be -- that somebody would be listening to that call. He was -- he actually couldn't believe it. Reporter: Bottom line, we till do not have a complete picture about what happened in Niger. The Pentagon is conducting an investigation with the FBI's help and the senate armed services under John McCain is likely to hold hearings, Dan and
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