Senator Tim Kaine sent a letter to Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, demanding the release of a seven-page memo that outlines Trump’s interpretation of his authority to wage war.
As a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, Kaine has been at the forefront of the fight to get Trump to discuss his rationale for the bombing of Syria last April, a move which has Kaine and others worried that it compromised the congressional oversight of military actions and campaigns.
After the 2017 bombing, Trump was called upon by several Congress members to release his justification for the action under U.S. and International law. In the letter to Tillerson, Kaine said, “The fact that there is a lengthy memo with a more detailed legal justification that has not been shared with Congress, or the American public, is unacceptable.”
Although there have been a few exceptions, it is standard protocol for presidents to release their arguments for military strikes dating back to the Korean war. Kaine is worried that the fact that Trump has not released his arguments for the Syrian bombing last year could be setting a dangerous precedent.
“I am also concerned that this legal justification may now become precedent for additional executive unilateral military action, including this week’s U.S. airstrikes in Syria against pro-Assad forces or even an extremely risky ‘bloody nose’ strike against North Korea.”
The urgency surrounding the release of the memo has steadily increased since last year as the U.S. becomes more heavily involved in Syria and the tensions with North Korea intensify. Lawmakers are deeply concerned about the reports of internal discussions being had regarding a first strike in North Korea.
Meanwhile, Trump is threatening to disregard the advice of his officials on Twitter and use his “Nuclear button,” while planning a large-scale military parade, something that has historically symbolized a major war. Plus, his administration has not promised to seek approval prior to proceeding with action against North Korea.
A former member of Obama’s Counsel office, Allison Murphy, summed up the situation saying, “Unless Donald Trump goes to Congress before starting a new war, the real bloody nose is going to be the American Constitution.”
Watch the insanity in the video above.
Read more about Kaine’s demands at “Sen. Tim Kaine demands release of secret Trump war powers memo” by Heidi Przybyla published by NBC News on February 9, 2018.
Video published to YouTube by MSNBC on February 9, 2018.