Schumer: Trump must get congressional approval before any military action against Iran

Democrats told President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE in a situation room meeting Thursday he needs to get congressional authorization before taking military action against Iran, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA CEO group pushes Trump, Congress on paid family, medical leave Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? MORE (D-N.Y.) said.

“I told the president that these conflicts have a way of escalating. The president may not intend to go to war here, but we’re worried that — and the administration may bumble into a war,” Schumer told reporters at Capitol Hill after the meeting.

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“We told the room that the Democratic position is that congressional approval must be required before funding any conflict in Iran,” he continued. “One of the best ways to avoid bumbling into a war, a war that nobody wants, is to have a robust open debate and for Congress to have a real say. We learned that lesson in the run-up to Iraq.”

Trump invited congressional leaders from both parties and chambers to the White House situation room to discuss Iran after Tehran shot down a U.S. drone.

The Wednesday night incident added uncertainty to what was already a volatile situation in the region, heightening fears of a military confrontation between the United States and Iran.

U.S. officials say the Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone was operating in international airspace above the Strait of Hormuz when an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot it down.

Iran holds the drone was operating in its airspace over the Hormozgan Province in southern Iran.

In his statement to reporters after the briefing, Schumer called on Senate Republicans to allow a vote on an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would prohibit funds from being used for military operations against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

The amendment is being sponsored by Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA Overnight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Senate panel advances Turkey sanctions bill despite Trump objections MORE (D-N.M.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina Senate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism MORE (D-Va.), who were on the Senate floor at the same time as the briefing calling for a vote when the National Defense Authorization Act is debated next week.

“It's unfair to our troops to put them in harm's way with Congress hiding under their desk not being willing to state yea or nay about whether we should be engaged in hostilities,” Kaine said.

Thursday afternoon’s situation room briefing came after administration officials briefed congressional leaders on Capitol Hill in the morning.

Ahead of the afternoon briefing, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeLankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Gabbard calls for congressional inquiry over Afghanistan war report MORE (R-Okla.) told reporters Trump invited lawmakers to the White House despite earlier briefings because “he wants input” on what to do.

"If he's going to plan on having some ideas on what he wants to do, he wants to make sure there's not going to be a lot of outrage that nobody else knew about it," Inhofe said.

House Democrats also held their own Iran briefing Thursday with a trio of former officials: former CIA director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanWhere was American counterintelligence? Krystal Ball: Yang's MSNBC boycott shows network has 'officially lost the left' Trump predicts 'historic' conclusions from DOJ's watchdog report on 'spying' MORE, Iran deal negotiator Wendy Sherman and former ambassador William Luers.

Following the White House briefing, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Photographer leaves Judiciary hearing after being accused of taking photos of member notes Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina MORE (D-Calif.) called for Trump to de-escalate the situation.

“In light of the targeting of an unmanned U.S. drone by Iran, it is essential that we remain fully engaged with our allies, recognize that we are not dealing with a responsible adversary and do everything in our power to de-escalate,” she said in a written statement. “This is a dangerous, high-tension situation that requires a strong, smart and strategic, not reckless, approach.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump McConnell says he'll be in 'total coordination' with White House on impeachment trial strategy MORE (R-Ky.), meanwhile, called Trump’s responses to the situation “measured.” 

“We had a good briefing,” McConnell said. “The administration is engaged in what I would call measured responses.”