- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 15, 2018

President Trump formally notified Congress Sunday that he had constitutional authority as commander-in-chief to order the military strikes against Syria Friday night.

In a letter, Mr. Trump said missile strikes against Syrian chemical-weapons facilities were “in the vital national security and foreign policy interests of the United States to promote the stability of the region, to deter the use and proliferation of chemical weapons, and to avert a worsening of the region’s current humanitarian catastrophe.”

Congressional Democrats, and some Republicans, have criticized Mr. Trump for ordering military action without seeking authorization from Congress, which has the constitutional responsibility to declare war.

Mr. Trump said the purpose of the missile strikes, carried out with combined British and French forces, was “to degrade the Syrian military’s ability to conduct further chemical weapons attacks and to dissuade the Syrian government from using or proliferating chemical weapons.”

The strikes hit three targets in Syria — a scientific research-center installation, a storage facility, and a bunker.

The allies said they were responding to Syria’s chemical-weapons attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus on April 7 that killed dozens of civilians. Syria and its patron, Russia, have denied that chemical weapons were used.

Mr. Trump said he sent the letter to Congress under the War Powers Resolution, and added, “I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.”

It’s not the first time that the U.S. military has engaged in the seven-year-old Syrian civil war. The U.S. has about 2,000 troops in Syria targeting the Islamic State extremist group.

And a year ago, Mr. Trump authorized U.S. forces to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at an airbase after a chemical-weapons attack.

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