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 KaineClinton on GOP promoting Trump 'stronger together' quote: Now copy my policies too GOP promotes Trump line mirroring Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign slogan Pompeo: US will continue investigating Khashoggi murder MORE (D-Va.) is demanding that a secret document describing President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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’s top European diplomat to resign in February Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation Trump concealed details of meetings with Putin from senior officials: report 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 to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents Does ‘limited war’ mean limited risks for aggressors? US-led coalition says it struck Syrian mosque used by ISIS MORE and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyUnited Methodist churches may cut ties with denomination over push to allow LGBT ministers Nikki Haley: ‘I’m too young to stop fighting’ Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? 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.