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Kaine: We Don’t Want Any President to Be Able to ‘Start a War or Launch Missiles When They Want’

Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” while discussing the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) warned against a president being able “to start a war or launch missiles when they want” and declared there has to be “congressional approval.”

Kaine said, “As you know I’m a strong supporter that the U.S. should take action to protect humanitarian causes like the ban on chemical weapons. So I voted for a limited strike to do exactly the same thing. A limited strike for that purpose, for the humanitarian purpose, is something that I would likely support if there was a plan. But where a — I differ, and I took the same position with President Obama We are a nation you’re not supposed to start a war without a plan that is brought to you by Congress. That makes us different from any nation in the world. The drafters of the Constitution said you have to put a check against an executive gone wild. They have not presented a plan to Congress and asked for approval. That’s what they have got to do.”

He continued, “I was a Senate candidate in 2011 when President Obama joined military action against Libya. Humanitarian purposes. I agreed with the Republicans in the house that rebuked President Obama and said he exceeded his authority because the U.S. Was not under eminent threat. That is the only circumstance they can use article two power. You heard Lindsey Graham just say that was not the case and President Trump did not say the U.S. was under eminent threat. We had a briefing on Friday and they presented us with no plan. We don’t know if it is limited or if there is more. When we asked about the legal authorization, they said they were not prepared to discuss that but they will in the coming days. We don’t want a president, any president, to just be able to start a war or launch missiles when they want. There has to be congressional approval.”

He added, “If Assad is doing things wrong, violating international treaties with an authorization we can try to deter him from doing it, prosecute him for war crimes, but I don’t think we should say we’re going to try to change your leader. I don’t think it should be official U.S. policy.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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