Kaine calls for release of secret memo on Trump war powers

Kaine calls for release of secret memo on Trump war powers
© Greg Nash

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineGraham would consider US-Russia military coordination in Syria Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Election Countdown: Latest on the 2018 Senate money race | Red-state Dems feeling the heat over Kavanaugh | Dem doubts about Warren | Ocasio-Cortez to visit Capitol Hill | Why Puerto Ricans in Florida could swing Senate race MORE (D-Va.) is demanding that a secret document describing President TrumpDonald John TrumpWSJ: Trump ignored advice to confront Putin over indictments Trump hotel charging Sean Spicer ,000 as book party venue Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin MORE’s understanding of his power to declare war be released, NBC News reported Friday.

Kaine requested that the memo be released in a letter sent to Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Memo: Putin furor sparks new questions on Kelly’s future US steps up its game in Africa, a continent open for business Matt Drudge shares mock ‘Survivor’ cover suggesting more White House officials will leave this summer MORE on Thursday night. The 7-page memo has existed for months, but the administration has declined to make it public.

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“The fact that there is a lengthy memo with a more detailed legal justification that has not been shared with Congress, or the American public, is unacceptable,” Kaine wrote in the letter, which was obtained by NBC News.

“I am also concerned that this legal justification may now become precedent for additional executive unilateral military action, including this week’s U.S. airstrikes in Syria against pro-Assad forces or even an extremely risky ‘bloody nose’ strike against North Korea,” he continued.

Kaine has pushed for Trump to publicly state his legal reasoning behind the U.S. bombing in Syria last April in retaliation for President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapon against his own people.

Kaine, who sits on the Senate’s Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, is among lawmakers who have said the move could undermine the congressional authority needed to declare war.

The request comes as the U.S. remains involved in Syria, and as Trump continues to threaten military action against North Korea.

Trump has repeatedly made threats against North Korea over its nuclear tests, promising last year that the country would be met with “fire and fury” if it threatened the U.S. The country has continued to carry out the tests.

Other Trump administration officials, including Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump eyes second Putin summit The Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Court rules against Trump administration on transgender military ban MORE and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump was right to ditch UN’s plan for handling migrants The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Overnight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart MORE, have suggested in recent days that the U.S. could remain involved in Syria and carry out more attacks over the purported use of chemical weapons in the country.