The Biden administration has yet to directly inform senators about last week’s airstrike on a facility in Syria allegedly used by an Iranian-allied militia group, as Democratic lawmakers continue to express anger over the move.
Instead, administration officials held a briefing for Senate aides on Tuesday, which Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Told Politico he attended to get a semblance of justification for the team’s strike. of Biden.
The Connecticut senator, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, told the outlet that he was not impressed with what he discovered.
“I still need to be convinced that any president has the required authorization to take a retaliatory attack, especially outside of Iraq,” Murphy said, noting that, although outdated, previous authorizations still allow the use of force in Iraq.
“I did not hear anything today that convinced me that there was justification for submitting an application to any administration,” he continued.
Attendees who attended the briefing condemned the information given to them in a separate reading obtained by the outlet, writing that administration officials provided “unsatisfactory” answers and that “there was not much substance.”
A source familiar with the matter at the National Security Council, which is responsible for such briefings, told The Post that briefings were offered to lawmakers, but that leaders on Capitol Hill instead asked that only briefings be held. make presentations at the staff level.
NSC spokeswoman Emily Horne, contacted by The Post for comment, said: “We remain happy to update both members and staff on this issue, as requested.”
Concerns about transparency don’t just come from Murphy.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) said this week that he would take steps to reintroduce his war powers resolution, which passed last Congress but was vetoed by President Donald Trump.
The resolution restricts the commander-in-chief’s ability to declare war or take military action without congressional approval.
Kaine, who has long supported that Congress have more voice in restricting a president’s ability to wage war, expressed his fury after Biden authorized last week’s airstrike without notifying Congress or asking for approval.
“The American people deserve to hear the Administration’s rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without going to Congress,” he said in a statement at the time.
“Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional without extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully informed on this matter expeditiously, “he added.
When asked about the return of his resolution this week, the 2016 vice presidential candidate reiterated that “I firmly believe, and this goes back to the drafting of the Constitution and the first understandings of it, that if a president is defending against an ongoing attack or imminent attack, the president has some unilateral power and that is good.
“But the idea of going on the offensive against groups is traditionally what you should come to Congress for.”
Kaine added that “he was not notified at all” about the attack in Syria, and neither were “many of the people” in Congress who should have been.
It appears that Kaine’s resolution could have some Democratic support in the House of Representatives, where anger is also palpable among lawmakers.
Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) Criticized the strike during an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, saying it “clearly” violated US and international law.
“I’m sure there would have been more outrage, because this is not a closed case,” Khanna said when asked if the reaction to the attack would have been more severe if Trump had ordered it.
“My opinion is, and many people in the Democratic Party have said, that we have to get out of these endless wars and this conflict,” he said. “I don’t see how flashy in Syria Iranian targets achieve that goal.”