- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A pair of Democrats on the House Foreign Relations Committee is demanding the State Department provide a legal explanation to cite the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to justify any military action against Iran.

In a letter Wednesday to the department’s legal adviser Marik String, committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel of New York and Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida argued Congress has not given President Trump authorization to use military force as friction between Washington and Tehran rise.

“Given the life-and-death stakes of the current situation between the United States and Iran, we can think of no issue where it is more imperative for the Department to explain its rationale for, interpretation of, and limits upon the legal authorities that have been provided by the Congress … that the Constitution vests with the sole power to declare war,” the congressmen wrote.

The existing AUMF authorizes the president to use all “appropriate force” to target those who “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks on America. Both Presidents Bush and Obama used expansive interpretations of the 2001 measure to justify their policies as well.

Tensions have reached a boiling point in recent weeks with Tehran’s shooting down of an unmanned Navy drone over the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipping channel bordering Iran, and the U.S.’ response in the form of a sweeping cyberattack against the Iranian military.

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