White House sends Congress formal notification of Iraq strike

Last Updated: Jan 06 2020 13:50
Reading time: 1 min, 28 secs

On Saturday, the White House sent Congress a formal notification of Friday’s U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, amid complaints from Democrats that President Donald Trump did not notify lawmakers or seek advance approval for the attack.

The U.S. strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq has caused a dramatic rise in tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies.

The classified notification was sent under a 1973 U.S. law called the War Powers Act, which requires the administration to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action or imminent actions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said it raised more questions than it answered.

“This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran,” Pelosi said in a statement.

She said the “highly unusual” decision to classify the entire document compounded her concerns and “suggests that the Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security.”

A senior Democratic aide described the notification as “brief and insufficient.”

Senator Bernie Sanders, a contender among Democrats seeking to run against Trump in November’s presidential election, said on Saturday that Congress must take immediate steps to restrain Trump “from plunging our nation into yet another endless war.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren, another Democratic candidate, told reporters on Saturday that Trump has taken the United States “to the brink of war” and called his actions “reckless. He evidently has no plan.”

Pelosi has said the strike in Baghdad was conducted without specific authorization from Congress and “without the consultation of the Congress.”

On Saturday she described the administration’s military engagement as “provocative, escalatory and disproportionate”, and said it put U.S. citizens, troops and their allies in danger.