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 KaineDemocrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan Senate GOP likely to nix plan Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy MORE (D-Va.) is demanding that a secret document describing President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race 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 TillersonWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump House passes legislation to elevate cybersecurity at the State Department Biden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet 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 MattisWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Trump says Gen. Milley 'last person' he'd want to start a coup with Overnight Defense: Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld dies at 88 | Trump calls on Milley to resign | House subpanel advances Pentagon spending bill MORE and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyWill Pence primary Trump — and win? Noem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis 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.