House

Amash after Trump says he doesn't need Congress's approval to strike Iran: 'Constitution: Wrong'

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) on Monday said President Trump was wrong to say that he could initiate a military strike against Iran without congressional approval.

Amash made the statement just moments after Trump said in an interview with The Hill that he believed he had the authority to take military action against Iran without first going to Congress. 

"But we've been keeping Congress abreast of what we're doing ... and I think it's something they appreciate," Trump said. "I do like keeping them abreast, but I don't have to do it legally."

Discussions surrounding a president's ability to take military action without Congress's approval have recently emerged in light of escalating tensions between the Trump administration and Iran. 

CNN host Jake Tapper asked Amash on Twitter if Congress had "willingly all-but-abrogated this power by not insisting on its constitutional role."

"And haven't it's leaders (both D and R) done this essentially for decades because of cowardice - not wanting to be held accountable?" Tapper asked. 

"Congressional leaders are the president's accomplices, and most members of Congress are happy to have it that way, but the Constitution remains the law," Amash replied. 

Trump said in new comments Monday that the U.S. was "pretty close to maybe making a decision to strike" after Iran downed an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone near the country last week. Trump later called off the strike because he felt the response wasn't "proportional."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to the slate of events by saying that the "hostilities must not be initiated without the approval of Congress."

Trump said Monday that he disagreed with Pelosi's position.

The War Powers Clause in the Constitution grants Congress the right to declare war. According to Article II, Section 2, the president gains power to direct the military following a congressional declaration. 

Amash, who is the only Republican to support impeaching Trump, has repeatedly criticized administrations for taking military action without congressional consent. 

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