Schumer: Trump must get congressional approval before any military action against Iran | TheHill

Democrats told President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden’s defense of remarks about segregationist senators: ‘He’s better than this’ Booker hits Biden’s defense of remarks about segregationist senators: ‘He’s better than this’ Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas ‘like they’re cookies’ MORE in a situation room meeting Thursday he needs to get congressional authorization before taking military action against Iran, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills MORE (D-N.Y.) said.

“I told the president that these conflicts have a way of escalating. The president may not intend to go to war here, but we’re worried that — and the administration may bumble into a war,” Schumer told reporters at Capitol Hill after the meeting.

“We told the room that the Democratic position is that congressional approval must be required before funding any conflict in Iran,” he continued. “One of the best ways to avoid bumbling into a war, a war that nobody wants, is to have a robust open debate and for Congress to have a real say. We learned that lesson in the run-up to Iraq.”

Trump invited congressional leaders from both parties and chambers to the White House situation room to discuss Iran after Tehran shot down a U.S. drone.

The Wednesday night incident added uncertainty to what was already a volatile situation in the region, heightening fears of a military confrontation between the United States and Iran.

U.S. officials say the Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone was operating in international airspace above the Strait of Hormuz when an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot it down.

Iran holds the drone was operating in its airspace over the Hormozgan Province in southern Iran.

In his statement to reporters after the briefing, Schumer called on Senate Republicans to allow a vote on an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would prohibit funds from being used for military operations against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

The amendment is being sponsored by Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn’t want war with Iran MORE (D-N.M.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn’t want war with Iran Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions MORE (D-Va.), who were on the Senate floor at the same time as the briefing calling for a vote when the National Defense Authorization Act is debated next week.

“It’s unfair to our troops to put them in harm’s way with Congress hiding under their desk not being willing to state yea or nay about whether we should be engaged in hostilities,” Kaine said.

Thursday afternoon’s situation room briefing came after administration officials briefed congressional leaders on Capitol Hill in the morning.

Ahead of the afternoon briefing, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s reelection message: Promises kept The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s reelection message: Promises kept Shanahan drama shocks Capitol Hill, leaving Pentagon rudderless MORE (R-Okla.) told reporters Trump invited lawmakers to the White House despite earlier briefings because “he wants input” on what to do.

“If he’s going to plan on having some ideas on what he wants to do, he wants to make sure there’s not going to be a lot of outrage that nobody else knew about it,” Inhofe said.

House Democrats also held their own Iran briefing Thursday with a trio of former officials: former CIA director John BrennanJohn Owen Brennan‘Fox & Friends’ co-host Kilmeade: Trump needs to ‘clarify’ comments on accepting foreign campaign intelligence Brennan slams Trump after ABC interview: Unfit to be president a ‘gross understatement’ Brennan slams Trump after ABC interview: Unfit to be president a ‘gross understatement’ MORE, Iran deal negotiator Wendy Sherman and former ambassador William Luers.

Following the White House briefing, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas ‘like they’re cookies’ Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas ‘like they’re cookies’ Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record MORE (D-Calif.) called for Trump to de-escalate the situation.

“In light of the targeting of an unmanned U.S. drone by Iran, it is essential that we remain fully engaged with our allies, recognize that we are not dealing with a responsible adversary and do everything in our power to de-escalate,” she said in a written statement. “This is a dangerous, high-tension situation that requires a strong, smart and strategic, not reckless, approach.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump’s Saudi arms deal MORE (R-Ky.), meanwhile, called Trump’s responses to the situation “measured.” 

“We had a good briefing,” McConnell said. “The administration is engaged in what I would call measured responses.”

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