Wednesday during his remarks carried by CSPAN, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) reacted to the Trump administration’s briefing to lawmakers today on the airstrike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with very disparaging remarks.
Lee said, “The briefing lasted only 75 minutes whereupon the briefers left. This is not the biggest problem I have with the briefing, which I would add was probably the worst briefing I have seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I have served in the United States Senate. What I found so distressing about that briefing was that one of the messages we received from the briefers was do not debate, do not discuss the issue of the appropriateness of further military intervention against Iran. And that if you do, you’ll be emboldening Iran.”
“The implication being that we would somehow be making America less safe by having a debate or a discussion about the appropriateness of further military involvement against the government of Iran,” he continued. “I find it insulting and demeaning. Not personally, but to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting, and I find it demeaning to the Constitution of the United States to which we’ve all sworn an oath. It is, after all, the prerogative of the legislative branch to declare war. Article I, Section 8 makes that very clear. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 69 made clear that this was a sharp contrast from the form of government that we had prior to the revolution. A form of government in which the executive, the king, had the power to take us to war. He did not need the parliament to weigh in on it, to support it. That was the parliament’s job after the fact, after we had gone into war.”
Lee added, “It is not acceptable for officials within the Executive branch of government, I don’t care whether with the CIA, with the Department of Defense or otherwise, to come in and tell us we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran. It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional, and it’s wrong.”
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