Trump sends justification for Soleimani strike to Congress in classified document

President Trump on Saturday officially notified Congress of his decision to order a drone strike against a top Iranian general and the justification behind it, as required by law, but Democrats remained unconvinced.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that the document is classified so she can’t make the details public. But she said it was “highly unusual” to keep such an important conversation from public view.

“This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran,” the California Democrat said.

The strike targeted Qassem Soleimani, who as head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps directed attacks through proxies against American military personnel serving in Iraq.

He was accused of being responsible for the deaths of at least 600 Americans, as well as tens of thousands of Iraqis and even Iranians.

Critics of Pelosi said she is using the classification of the document as a political tool, knowing that she can say anything she wants about its contents without being fact-checked.

She also called killing Soleimani “provocative, escalatory and disproportionate.”

“This initiation of hostilities was taken without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran, without the consultation of the Congress and without the articulation of a clear and legitimate strategy to either the Congress or the public,” she said.

The Trump administration said it had the authority to act under the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Congress passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

That AUMF also gave then-President George W. Bush authority to invade Iraq to remove then-dictator Saddam Hussein. The U.S. invaded in March 2003.

Saturday’s notification came under the War Powers Resolution, a 1970s-era law that governs how presidents are to conduct military operations short of a declaration of war.

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