'It's Disputed by Our Founding Fathers': Paul Challenges Pompeo on Syria, Military Deployments
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) challenged Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo Thursday on whether President Trump can authorize strikes on Syria without approval from Congress.
Pompeo, the current CIA director and a former congressman, said at his Senate confirmation hearing that he believes the president has the authority to sign off on another attack on Bashar al-Assad's forces.
He said that power of the president has not been disputed by Democrats or Republicans for an "extended" period of time.
Paul disputed that, arguing the Constitution gives that power to Congress, not the executive branch.
"Actually it's disputed mostly by our founding fathers," he countered, adding he objects to the idea that a president can "go to war when he wants, where he wants."
Paul said when Pompeo was in Congress, he said then-President Obama needed congressional approval to strike Libya. He said millions of Americans voted for President Trump because he was against more U.S. military involvement around the world.
"We say we want to leave but when? We've been [in Afghanistan] 18 years. I think we won the battle. I think we should declare victory and come home. We literally did win. There is nobody left alive who plotted to attack us on 9/11. ... We're now sending people to war who weren't even born when 9/11 was," he said.
Paul argued the U.S. government now wants to keep pursuing radical Islamists around the world based on the authorization from Congress after 9/11.
He said he believes Trump has "good instincts" against these deployments, but his advisers are influencing him with the opposite view.
Trump has hinted in recent days that an attack is coming in response to a gas attack on Syrian civilians.
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
Watch the exchange above.