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Republican Senator furiously rips into Trump team for giving “worst” military briefing he’s seen

Republican Senator furiously rips into Trump team for giving “worst” military briefing he’s seen

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Donald Trump’s reckless game of brinksmanship with Iran seems to have settled down for the time being after the Iranian missile strikes launched yesterday in retaliation for the assassination of Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani resulted in zero casualties. That said, it cannot be stressed enough how dangerous Trump’s unilateral assassination order was and how this entire terrifying crisis highlights how uniquely unfit for office he is.

Earlier today, the Senate was briefed on Trump’s target killing of Soleimani and at least one Republican is deeply unpleased about what he heard. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) told reporters that he went into the meeting still undecided as to whether or not to support a Democratic War Powers Resolution aimed at curtailing the president’s ability to escalate militarily against Iran without the express approval of Congress. Unfortunately for Trump, the Soleimani briefing has pushed Lee over the fence and he is now in favor of the resolution.

“That briefing is what changed my mind. I’m now going to support it,” said the senator. The way in which it was handled was “insulting and demeaning” to the office of every serving senator Lee said before explaining the historic and legal power of Congress to oversee and approve war.

Perhaps most damningly, Lee said at one point that the meeting was “probably the worst briefing, at least on a military issue, I’ve seen in nine years I’ve been here.”

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Lee had plenty more to say. He explained that he and the other attendees at the briefing were repeatedly told that the Soleimani strike was necessary and that they must throw their support behind it because according to the briefers “We can’t have division, we can’t have dissension within our ranks, within our government or else it sends the wrong signal to the Iranians.” Lee said he believes this assessment to be “completely wrong.”

When pressed to explain what kind of development or scenario would prompt the White House to ask Congress for a declaration of war or authorization of military force, the briefers were evasive.

“At one point I believe one of the briefers said something along the lines of ‘I’m sure we could think of something. But they struggled to identify anything!” said Lee. The senator says numerous hypotheticals were lobbed at the briefers and “not once” did they say that a given situation would require Congressional approval for military action.

“At one point one of the briefers said something like ‘Don’t worry we’ll consult you,'” Lee said. “Well, with history as our guide, consultation isn’t necessarily the same thing as authorization for the use of military force. A declaration of war or an AUMF is what the Constitution requires and drive-by notification or after-the-fact lame briefings like the one we just received aren’t adequate,” he went on.

Lee wasn’t done there. He said that the briefers held back on some details, claiming that it wasn’t safe to discuss them despite the fact that the meeting took place inside as security facility with electronic devices checked at the door. “I find that really upsetting,” said Lee.

Hopefully, more Republicans add their voices to Senator Lee’s. Trump’s powers must be checked by Congress before his instability and incompetence result in needless war and bloodshed. For elected officials to just stand idly by and hope things turn out okay represents a profound dereliction of duty and abject moral cowardice.

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