Defense Secretary Warns Congress not to Limit the President’s Power to Strike Iran

It appears that Democratic members of Congress have their underwear in a bunch over the President’s powers under the War Powers Act and the Congressional authorizations to conduct operations against Iranian hostile activities. It is acknowledged by all that only Congress has the power to declare war against a hostile power. The President’s Executive powers are to be used to protect the nation and there is where the rub comes in. Defining that has always been a bone of contention between the Legislative and Executive offices. We now see that again with the battle that has erupted after the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper urged Congress not to debate limits to President Donald Trump’s powers concerning the Iran issues.


Defense Secretary Mark Esper urged Congress not to debate limits to President Donald Trump’s power to strike Iran because doing so might embolden Tehran and hurt U.S. troops, multiple sources tell ABC News.

The suggestion by Esper, in a classified briefing for lawmakers on Wednesday, enraged some members, including Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who swiftly marched to the television cameras following the 75-minute briefing to declare it “insulting.” Lee said the briefing felt like being told to be “good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public.”

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“I find that absolutely insane,” he said.

Jonathan Hoffman, chief Pentagon spokesman, said Esper was responding to a “direct question” on the matter when he expressed concern “about unintentional messages to the force” if Congress attempted to repeal an existing authorization for military force in Iraq “at the same time that American troops are in harm’s way.” (MORE)

The concern, as the Secretary of Defense sees it, is the message that it would send to Iran that if they just hold off for a while, Congress will force a withdrawal. Then they can have their way in the Middle East. That is not a picture that many want to see.


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