Saturday June 2, 2018
In April, the US fired a large number of missiles at multiple sites across Syria, supposedly in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack. The Justice Department told president Trump before the attacks that this would be perfectly legal.
New documents released on the matter told Trump that he didn’t need Congressional authorizationto attack Syria in April because attacking them was “in the national interest,” and Syria was so unlikely to retaliate that it wasn’t technically a war.
A lot of this argument centers on an interpretation of what war “in a constitutional sense” actually means. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said the legal argument was largely nonsense, and had tried to “redefine war to exclude missile attacks” to further usurp Congressional authority.
Several recent administrations have argued that presidents can carry out unilateral military attacks without Congressional authorization, and this is just the continuation of the Justice Department signing off on this as legal.