Pelosi warns Trump against war in Mideast; Dems demand info
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today said the U.S. must avoid war with Iran, and she declared the White House has "no business" moving toward a Middle East confrontation without approval from Congress.
Pelosi's remarks to House Democrats came amid growing concerns in Congress over President Donald Trump's approach to Iran and mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf region over the administration's claims of unspecified threats linked to Iran.
Top leaders in Congress are expected to receive a classified briefing from the administration Thursday, but Pelosi said the administration has resisted a wider briefing for all lawmakers and congressional requests for more information.
"We have to avoid any war with Iran," Pelosi told her colleagues, according to a person in the room, who was granted anonymity to discuss the private caucus meeting.
Pelosi warned the administration cannot rely on the last use-of-force authorization approved by Congress nearly 20 years ago for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since last week, House leaders have been asking for a classified briefing for lawmakers on the situation with Iran, but Pelosi said the administration indicated it couldn't come together "that fast."
"They have no business declaring a war without the consent of Congress," she said. "The very idea that they would say that they would use the authorization of the use of military force that is 18 years old" she said is "not appropriate in terms of its scope, its geography, its timing for any actions they might take."
The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also warned the administration against any action without approval from lawmakers.
"Congress has not authorized war with Iran, and the administration, if it were contemplating military action with Iran, must come to Congress to seek approval," said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., in a statement at a committee hearing.