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Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC-BY-SA) Mikael Thalen

Trump is now using Twitter to inform Congress on attacks against Iran

‘Please, someone in the GOP, take the car keys – read the 25th Amendment.’


Mikael Thalen


U.S. President Donald Trump informed Congress on Sunday that his personal Twitter account will serve as notification for potential military action against Iran.

“These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” Trump wrote. “Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!”

The unprecedented proclamation comes as tensions between the two countries escalate following the death of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. The military leader was killed after being hit with a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on Friday.

Trump’s statement led to pushback not only from the public but also from sections of the U.S. government. The House Foreign Affairs Committee responded with a tweet of its own decrying the president’s announcement.

“This Media Post will serve as a reminder that war powers reside in the Congress under the United States Constitution,” the tweet said. “And that you should read the War Powers Act. And that you’re not a dictator.”

Under the War Powers Act of 1973, the president must inform lawmakers within 48 hours of initiating military force in an armed conflict overseas.

In a similar denouncement of Trump’s statement, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) noted that wars must be declared by Congress, not the president.

“Congress must reassert its constitutional responsibility over war,” Sanders tweeted. “The Senate and House must vote to immediately defund unauthorized military action against Iran.”

Numerous Congressional Democrats, including Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), also criticized Trump’s announcement.

“OMG, Trump thinks a crazed Tweet satisfies his War Powers Act obligations to Congress,” Huffman wrote. “Our President has taken us to the brink of war and is now vamping with no plan and no clue. Please, someone in the GOP, take the car keys – read the 25th Amendment.”

But the protests weren’t entirely partisan. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has often sided with the president, reiterated the importance of the constitutional requirements for declaring war.

“If we are to go to war w/ Iran the Constitution dictates that we declare war,” Paul wrote. “A war without a Congressional declaration is a recipe for feckless intermittent eruptions of violence w/ no clear mission for our soldiers. Our young men and women in the armed services deserve better.”

Whether Trump can even legally inform Congress of military action through Twitter is also up for debate. Yale Law School professor Oona Hathaway has argued that such notification is insufficient.

Other parts of the president’s tweet have also raised concerns, specifically the threat to respond to Iran in “a disproportionate manner.” Experts argue that such retaliation would be illegal under international law.

Trump’s threat also contradicts comments made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just hours earlier when he told Fox News that the administration “will take responses that are appropriate and commensurate with actions that threaten American lives.”

Incredibly, Trump’s Sunday tweet is not the first in the past few days to be criticized for threatening what experts believe to be illegal action. On Saturday the president also stated that the U.S. would potentially target sites “important to Iran & Iranian culture.”

Targeting cultural sites is considered a war crime under the 1954 Hague Convention. Attacks on cultural sites in the Middle East by the Islamic State also prompted the United Nations Security Council in 2017 to pass a resolution condemning such destruction.

The Trump administration has warned Congress that it expects retaliation from Iran “within weeks” over the death of Soleimani. Iran has since designated 35 “key U.S. targets” for a possible “revenge” attack.

Although Trump has alleged that the strike on Soleimani was carried out to stop impending attacks against U.S. diplomats and military personnel, the claim has been called into question by several U.S. officials.


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The Daily Dot