the AUMF

Pompeo Said Congress Doesn’t Need To Approve War With Iran. 2020 Demagogs Aren’t Having It.
Akela Lacy, Jon Schwarz, The Intercept, Jun 14 2019

As the Trump Administration ratchets up tensions with Iran, escalating fears that Pindostan is looking for a possible path to another war in the Middle East, several Demagog presidential contenders are standing firm in their rejection of the White House’s attempts to create a legal rationale for war. They were responding to comments that Pompeo made in a private meeting that suggested that the Authorization for Use of Military Force or AUMF passed by Congress three days after 9/11 could provide a legal basis for a war with Iran. In interviews with The Intercept, Rep Tulsi Gabbard and Sen Elizabeth Warren, as well as spoxes for Sens Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, said it would be illegal for the Pindo government to rely on the 2001 AUMF to authorize a war with Iran. Five other prominent Demagog senators including Tim Kaine and Dick Durbin filed a bipartisan amendment on Thursday to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2020 to prohibit funds from being used for military operations against Iran without congressional approval. Sen Rand Paul also joined the Demagogs. Pompeo’s remarks were revealed by Rep Elissa Slotkin early Thursday in a House Armed Services Committee meeting and confirmed to The Intercept by Gabbard, who was also present and confirmed:

We were all in that meeting with Pompeo where those statements were made

The 2001 AUMF provided the president with authority to wage war against the attackers and anyone who “planned, authorized, committed, aided or harbored such organizations or persons.” During an Apr 10 appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo claimed Iran has “very real” connections with AQ. When asked by Paul whether the AUMF applies to Iran, Pompeo declined to say. Pompeo’s comments carried new urgency on Thursday, when he said that Iran was behind the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, implicating the nation in the second set of attacks on tankers in the region in two months. Late Thursday night, CENTCOM released a video it says shows Iran removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers it’s suspected to have attacked on Thursday. The owner of that ship on Friday denied that it was damaged by mines, claiming instead that it was hit by “flying objects.” The Trump administration has already stoked fear of a potential conflict with Iran, withdrawing from the JCPoA in May 2018. More recently, Bolton asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran. Asked for her response to the suggestion that the AUMF might extend to Iran, Warren, a former law professor, said:

The Sec State is wrong. If the administration wants to go to war against Iran, then the Constitution requires them to come to Congress to ask for an AUMF. This is Constitutional Law 101, that it is Congress, not the president, that declares war. We would have to have a debate on the floor of the Senate. And if the administration doesn’t believe that they can withstand a debate, then they shouldn’t be aiming themselves toward war.

Asked if there was any way that the 2001 AUMF could be construed to extend to Iran, Warren said:

None. Nope.

Gabbard, for her part, said of Pompeo’s suggestion:

I completely disagree, 100% disagree. That’s one of the reasons why I have been so concerned about what this administration is doing. Because in their mind, they could unilaterally start a war with Iran, without congressional authorization, which would be unconstitutional and illegal.

A spox for Cory Booker said:

Sen Booker’s co-sponsorship of a Senate bill that would prohibit Pindostan from spending money on military intervention in Iran without congressional authorization speaks for itself. Sen Booker does not believe the 2001 AUMF can be used to authorize war with Iran.

A Gillibrand spox said:

Sen Gillebrand has consistently and forcefully pushed for the repeal of the AUMF, an 18-year old authorization that has been stretched far past its original intent. Sen Gillbrand believes Congress must do its job and exercise oversight of the executive branch, particularly with the current administration, and believes President Trump, and all presidents for that matter, should seek Congressional approval before engaging in proactive military action.

Sens Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar have signed onto the bill but did not respond to a request for comment on Pompeo’s remarks. The Senate Bill, introduced by Tom Udall, now has 25 co-sponsors, including Sanders and 10 others who backed the original bill. Every other Demagog senatorial presidential candidate has signed on to back the bill since mid-May. In response to news of Pompeo’s comments, Udall tweeted Thursday:

Gabbard, who has positioned herself as a pro-peace candidate but generally supports the global war on terror spurred by the 2001 AUMF, has not signed onto the House companion measure to the Udall bill, introduced in April by Demagog Rep Anna Eshoo. Gabbard said she’d want to read the bill, “but in theory, that’s exactly what we’re going for.” In its first 10 days, the Eshoo bill had only five co-sponsors; it now has 59, including Tim Ryan, another presidential candidate. The remaining Demagog presidential candidates in the House, Reps Eric Swalwell and Seth Moulton, have not signed on. During a classified briefing in May, a senior intel boxtop told Congress critturs that there is no evidence that AQ has cooperated with Iran on the Gulf attacks, the Daily Beast reported. That information would undermine any attempts to establish grounds for military action against Iran under the current AUMF. Demagog senators have been discussing possible updates to the AUMF during negotiations to reauthorize the NDAA. While Gabbard has not signed onto the Eshoo bill, she said that during Wednesday’s Armed Services Committee markup of the NDAA, she included a provision to address the escalating situation with Iran. Gabbard said:

It specifically said nothing in this bill can be misconstrued to authorize the use of military force against Iran. I also wanted the same language against Venezuela. So covering both of these countries where this administration is hyping up tensions, threatening the use of military force and so on. That’s something that we’ve got to remain vigilant on. Obviously our role is to exercise oversight over the administration. As you well know, the executive branch has overstepped their authority time and again when it comes to the use of military force. The major check and balance we have is the power of the purse-strings, which is where the NDAA comes into play, because it prohibits the use of funding to carry out these things, and it sets policy. One conclusion that found bipartisan support involves putting forward a very explicit amendment that says the 2001 AUMF shall not be misconstrued as an AUMF against Iran, because as even Mac Thornberry said, it shouldn’t. This Iran thing has no correlation to AQ. I have just reintroduced the No More Presidential Wars Resolution, which seeks to get at the heart of this problem, where Congress is not fulfilling its responsibility (and) the executive is overstepping its boundaries, and it makes it an impeachable offense for a president to unilaterally start a war without congressional authorization or declaration of war.

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