Donald Trump engaged in a firing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles in Syria Thursday night, responding to this week’s earlier chemical weapon attack that killed over 100 people, including over 25 children. NBC News reports there are at least six dead in Syria, with the Pentagon saying that the strikes were aimed at military airfields and not at civilians. Even so, Donald Trump engaged in the attack without consulting Congress, leading to a rise in calls from the public for a Trump impeachment.
The Trump Administration is already in a tenuous position, with talk of a Trump impeachment increasing each day he is in office. Before Donald Trump ordered the strike in Syria, he contacted Russia to give them enough time to pull their own people and forces out of Syria. He did not contact Congress or seek congressional approval.
Many Americans and members of Congress and the Senate are saying this morning that the missile strikes in Syria without Congressional approval is not okay. Even Donald Trump, on August 30, 2013, was not supportive of President Obama’s intentions against Syria.
On that day, he tweeted, “The president must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria – big mistake if he does not.”
The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2013
From Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, Donald Trump issued a statement.
“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
The Syria strikes have angered Russia and the American people. Last night, Donald Trump said that all of the 59 missiles but one had hit its target. A Russian spokesperson argues against this, saying only 23 had. The Syrian response to the Syria strikes is that the United States has violated “all international laws and customs” and that the United States is acting as if they are a partner to ISIS.
The Assad regime has said that the White House acted “without knowing the truth about what occurred and without identifying those responsible” for the chemical attack against Syria earlier this week.
A White House official asserts that at least two dozen members of Congress were briefed by the administration prior to the missile strike. But many members of Congress and the Senate today are tweeting and issuing statements which suggest that was not enough, even stating that Donald Trump broke the law.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued the following statement.
“We feel that the strike itself was proportional, because it was targeted at the facility that delivered the most recent chemical weapons attack. There was a thorough examination of a wide range of options, and I think the president made the correct choice and made the correct decision.”
Congress member Rep. Adam Schiff tweeted a statement this morning, noting his concern that the Syria strikes occurred without congressional approval.
“This strike will not hasten an end to the Assad regime, but it may deter its further use of chemical weapons. Nevertheless, this missile strike and the military action of our forces already in Syria, have yet to be authorized by Congress. I will be re-introducing an authorization for use of military force against ISIS and al Qaeda when Congress returns to session.”
Rep. Adam Schiff also called for a concern for the United States to “redouble efforts to provide humanitarian relief to the millions of Syrian refugees who have fled their homes.”
Congress member Rep. Barbara Lee called the Syria strikes an act of war in a tweet last night. She said that she was the lone vote against 2001 AUMF, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists act. She also said that the Syria strikes are “far beyond the scope of this war authorization.”
She called for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to bring a vote, adding that “anything less is an abdication of our responsibility.”
Congress member Rep. Jerry Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee echoed the sentiments on Twitter as well, saying, “Assad’s chemical weapons use/other atrocities are pure evil. But, Constitution requires Pres. To come to Congress for authorization. Period.”
Democratic whip Senator Dick Durbin also issued a statement on Twitter.
“My preliminary briefing by the White House indicated that this was a measured response to the Syrian nerve gas atrocity. Any further action will require close scrutiny by Congress, and any escalation beyond airstrikes or missile strikes will require engaging the American people in that decision.”
Senator Rand Paul also noted the legalities, or lack thereof, in last night’s Syria strikes and did not support Donald Trump.
He said on Twitter, “While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked. The President needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution.”
Congress member Rep. Ted Lieu of the House Judiciary Committee agreed with Senator Rand Paul, saying, “War against Assad regime without congressional approval is illegal. AUMF from last decade does not apply.”
Rep. Ted Lieu also noted concern for American troops now being put in harm’s way and at risk for attack by the Assad regime as a consequence to the Syria strikes.
With members of Congress and the Senate noting their disapproval and questioning the legality of Donald Trump’s Syria strikes, members of the public have increased their calls for a Trump impeachment.
Donald Trump attacking Syria without congressional approval deserves impeachment.— Rogue POTUS Staffer (@RoguePOTUStaff) April 7, 2017
RT to impeach!
It is the War Powers Clause and Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11, of the Constitution that determines the powers Congress has in acts of war. Congress is the only body that has the right to declare war. This is where many are saying Donald Trump crossed the legal line.
Although Donald Trump has not officially declared war, many are saying what he did without congressional approval was an act of war. According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has only declared war 11 times against enemy states, in five separate wars, and has not done so since World War II. That Donald Trump notified Russia and not the American people first, has not gone unnoticed by the American people.
It’s a fact of the matter that some members of the public believe only strengthen the case for unauthorized Syria strikes resulting in Trump impeachment.
In September of 2013, Republicans hinted they would impeach President Obama if he engaged in Syria strikes without Congressional approval.
The Washington Times reported in September of 2013 when Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter said the president should be impeached for Syria strikes without congressional approval.
“I think he’s breaking the law if he strikes without congressional approval. And if he proceeds without Congress providing that authority, it should be considered an impeachable offense.”
Market Watch reports that American University Professor Chris Edelson said that the president does not have the power to unilaterally attack Syria without Congress approval. He said it is legal when the United States is defending itself, but that this is not the case in this situation.
“We live in a constitutional democracy, not a monarchy or an autocracy. The framers of our Constitution rightly divided national security powers between the president and Congress, assigning Congress the power to decide when to authorize military action outside of an emergency scenario….It is essential to make clear that Donald Trump doesn’t possess unilateral power to decide when and where to make war.”
If Trump ever violates the Constitution, it sets cause for a Trump impeachment, and the Syria strikes could fall under that line say many experts. Long before the strikes, Trump impeachment was already a part of everyday conversation in America.
Robert Reich, a chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Secretary of Labor for the Clinton Administration, was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the most effective Cabinet members in the 20th century. He recently penned an article on his website identifying four, possibly five, grounds for Trump impeachment before the Syria strikes.
The first reason for impeachment is the vow a president takes to “faithfully execute the laws and the Constitution” in Article II, Section 2. Robert Reich says that accusing President Obama of an impeachable offense, such as wiretapping, is an impeachable offense. Today, many members of Congress are saying Trump violated Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution by ordering the strikes in Syria without authorization.
Robert Reich also says grounds for Trump impeachment are found in Trump’s actions that violate Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution that forbids officials from taking gifts or “things of value” from foreign governments. Reich cites many areas where Trump has violated this clause.
He also says that Trump’s travel ban was unconstitutional and violated the First Amendment that prevents any law that would ban the “respect an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Trump’s chronic abuses of the, press Reich, says are also a violation of the First Amendment, and specifically calling the press “the enemy of the people” is a violation of the Constitution and an impeachable offense.
But Reich also notes that the Trump Russia scandal and investigation could yield even another reason to set grounds for a Trump impeachment. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution defines “treason” as “adhering to their enemies and giving them aid or comfort.” Trump vowed to protect American from enemies foreign and domestic, and thus if evidence comes out supporting allegations he colluded with Russia, he could be in a lot of trouble, says Robert Reich.
The Hill reports that Trump’s approval ratings will have a big role in any possible Trump impeachment or even a Trump resignation. The Hill notes that the only reason Trump has survived so far after such a chaotic start to his administration is that “because his base is still with him.” However, “as soon as his base recognizes they are not going to get what he promised on the campaign trail, they will eventually stop supporting him and his approval ratings will sink to an unprecedented low.”
The Inquisitr reported today that many Trump supporters are unhappy with the Syria strikes. Also, the Twitter handle that has been collecting #TrumpRegrets has been very busy collecting tweets of Trump voters who are very unhappy in the wake of the Syria strikes. Here is a list of a sampling of disappointed Trump voters.
@Annakhait said, “You said you wouldn’t get involved in Syria and I voted for you. Disappointed is an understatement.”
@Generaldelivry said, “Good luck getting re-elected Mr. President. You just lost your base. I was very proud to have voted for you last November, not now.”
@capefearboy65 said, “I didn’t leave anything in Syria. Who the hell are you. Cruz next time. You Stink. I can’t believe I voted for you.”
@tominwa007 said, “You delivered alright. 50 Tomahawk missiles. It hurts to think I voted for you. Sad sad day.”
Whether the Syria strikes lead to Trump impeachment remains to be seen. But as Robert Reich noted, even if they don’t, there are many grounds in play for a Trump impeachment already. What is your response to the Syria strikes?
[Feature Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]