Frustrated Dems plan war powers vote over Iran

Democrats were skeptical over the administration’s justification to kill a key Iranian general.

House Democrats emerged from a classified briefing Wednesday deeply skeptical of President Donald Trump’s decision to order the killing of a top Iranian leader and unconvinced that he posed an “imminent” threat to United States forces.

Shortly afterward, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would vote on Thursday to limit Trump’s war-making powers — likely presenting a united Democratic front against the administration’s recent moves against Iran.

Lawmakers from across the House Democratic caucus left a closed-door meeting with top Trump administration officials in a secure room in the Capitol on Wednesday frustrated — if not outright angry — at what they described as a vague justification for last week’s deadly drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani shortly after he arrived in Baghdad. Iran retaliated by launching a missile attack on two bases inside Iraq that housed U.S. troops on Tuesday night, but there were no American casualties.

“There was no raw evidence presented that this was an imminent threat,” Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told reporters after the briefing.

“I didn’t hear anything in the briefing that there was a lawful basis for the attack and that the threat was imminent,” added Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who supports defunding any military action against Iran unless Congress first approves it. “The absence of approval from Congress and consultation with Congress resulted in, I think, a very reckless decision that undermines American national security interests and the security of our country.”

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Democrats said the Trump administration’s justification — or lack thereof — bolstered their case for an aggressive House response to put a check on Trump’s war-making powers. And many were outspoken in their calls for urgent action by the House to repudiate Trump and pressure him for a more clear strategy as soon as this week.