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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 KaineOvernight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Democrats torch Trump for floating 'rogue killers' to blame for missing journalist Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms MORE (D-Va.) is demanding that a secret document describing President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East 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 TillersonTrump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser Haley’s exit sends shockwaves through Washington Turkey-Russia Idlib agreement: A lesson for the US 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 MattisOvernight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' Joint Chiefs chairman to meet with Saudi counterpart Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' despite 'Democrat' remark MORE and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump mulling State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert for UN envoy: report Iran says it killed 'mastermind' behind military parade attack Haley slams China over 'internment of civilians' in first public remarks since announcing resignation 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.