Top Democrats ask Trump to declassify war powers notification

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian Biden administration to release oil from strategic reserve: reports MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSpending bill faces Senate scramble Republicans raise concerns over Biden's nominee for ambassador to Germany Biden sets off high-stakes scramble over spending framework MORE (N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are urging President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE to immediately declassify the war powers notification he submitted to Congress following the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani.

In a letter on Sunday, the senators asked the president to “immediately declassify in full the January 4, 2020 war powers notification you submitted to Congress following the U.S. military operation targeting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.” 

“It is critical that national security matters of such import be shared with the American people in a timely manner,” the Democrats added. “An entirely classified notification is simply not appropriate in a democratic society, and there appears to be no legitimate justification for classifying this notification.”

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Soleimani was killed late last week in a drone strike that was directed by Trump. The president has said the operation was launched in an effort "to stop a war," and U.S. officials have said there was evidence that Soleimani was plotting attacks against Americans. 

The White House submitted a formal notification of the strike to Congress on Saturday under the 1973 War Powers Act, which requires the president to notify the legislative body of circumstances that call for the introduction of U.S. armed forces within 48 hours.

Following the notification on Saturday, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE (D-Calif.) issued a statement saying the notification “raises more questions than it answers.”

She also said it “prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran.”

“The highly unusual decision to classify this document in its entirety compounds our many concerns, and suggests that the Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security,” she added.

She further criticized the Trump administration’s military engagement as “provocative, escalatory and disproportionate” and reiterated her call for “an immediate, comprehensive briefing of the full Congress on military engagement related to Iran and next steps under consideration.”

“The Administration must work with the Congress to advance a bonafide de-escalatory strategy that prevents further violence,” she said.