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Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was furious on Wednesday following a Senate briefing on President Donald Trump's decision to order an airstrike that killed Iran's Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, bringing tensions with Iran to a boiling point.
Lee told reporters that he “walked into that briefing undecided” on whether to support a War Powers Resolution being pushed by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. The resolution would limit the Trump administration's ability to take further military action against Iran without congressional authorization.
“That briefing is what changed my mind,” Lee said. “I'm now going to support it.”
He went on to call the briefing “probably the worst briefing, at least on a military issue, I've seen in nine years I've been here.”
“Drive-by notification or after-the-fact lame briefings like the one we just received aren't adequate,” he said.
“I find it insulting, I find it demeaning” to the Senate and the Constitution, the senator added. “It's un-American, it's unconstitutional, and it's wrong,” he said, after noting that the people who briefed senators on Trump's strike said senators could not debate the merits of the measure.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who stood alongside Lee as they addressed reporters, said he will also support a War Powers Resolution to block further action against Iran.
“Today, this is Senator Lee and I saying we are not abdicating our duty.”
Several other congressional lawmakers have voiced their dissatisfaction with the administration's briefings on the strike against Soleimani, who was Iran's most powerful military official and a widely revered figure within the nation.
Asked if she was convinced whether there was evidence that Soleimani was planning an “imminent” attack on US personnel, as the administration has claimed, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts replied, “No,” but said she could not elaborate further.
Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal echoed that, saying, “There was NO raw evidence presented that this was an imminent threat.”