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Lee, Paul: We Were Given ‘Insulting,’ ‘Demeaning,’ ‘Worst Briefing’ on Iran

Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee in 2018. (You Tube)

Republican Senators Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) were livid after a closed-door briefing on Iran Wednesday provided by the Trump administration. The two senators emerged from the briefing saying they will now support a war powers resolution. 

After the nearly hour-long meeting with officials, Lee told reporters that the briefing was “insulting” and “the worst briefing I’ve seen, at least on a military issue.”

The GOP senators were angered when Trump officials suggested that a debate over war powers would “embolden” Iran.

Lee said he thought such comments were “absolutely insane. I think that’s unacceptable.”

The Trump administration sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper,  CIA Director Gina Haspel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley to brief House and Senate lawmakers on Wednesday, reports The Hill, after Iran launched missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops Tuesday night.

“I find this insulting and demeaning … to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States,” Lee said, according to The Hill. 

Lee added, “After today, every time they pull a stunt like this, I’m willing to consider and introduce any and every war powers act resolution.”

Sen. Rand Paul hit back at officials’ use of the 2002 war authorization in Iraq for justification of the escalating conflict with Iran, saying it was “absurd” and an “insult” to use the 2002 authorization as justification for the strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“I see no way in the world you could logically argue that an authorization to have war with Saddam Hussein has anything to with having war with people currently in Iraq,” Paul said, reportsThe Hill.

“Let’s have the debate, and let’s have some senators stand up,” he said.

The House is scheduled to vote on a non-binding resolution Thursday that would curb Trump’s war powers with respect to Iran, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a similar resolution in the Senate.

While Lee and Paul had said they were undecided on Kaine’s resolution before the briefing, both said they would support the resolution afterwards.

 

about the author

Barbara Boland is TAC’s foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered, a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill UK Spectator, and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania.  Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC.

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