Republican Senator Goes Off on Trump Administration After Sitting Through 'Worst' Iran Briefing

Fox News

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), a co-chairman of President Donald Trump's Utah Reelection Board, took the rare step of dissenting against the Trump administration after a Senate briefing on the merits of Trump's drone strike that killed top Iranian military official, Qasem Soleimani.

The briefing came just one day after Iran deployed retaliatory strikes on two Iraqi military bases where U.S. troops are stationed.

Most Republican Senators praised the President as they emerged from the 75 minute closed door hearing, but a furious Lee didn't hold back in expressing his dissatisfaction with top Defense Department officials' explanations for why Trump took the drastic step of killing Soleimani without notifying Congress.

Watch below.

After initially praising Donald Trump, Lee began to criticize the information (or lack thereof) given by defense officials during the briefing:

"I had hoped and expected to receive more information outlining the legal, factual, and moral justification for the attack. I was left somewhat unsatisfied on that front...This however, is not the biggest problem I have with the briefing, which I would add was probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate."

He went on to describe what really bothered him about the hearing.

"What I found so distressing about that briefing is that one of the messages we received from the briefers was, 'Do not debate, do not discuss the issue of the appropriateness of further military intervention against Iran,' and that 'if you do, you'll be emboldening Iran,' the implication being that we would somehow be making America less safe by having a discussion about the appropriateness of further military involvement against the government of Iran."
Lee was insulted by certain implications from the briefers
"Now, I find this insulting and demeaning, not personally but to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States to which we've all sworn an oath. It is, after all, the prerogative of the Legislative Branch to declare war."

Then, he dropped some news.

"I also want to make clear that I walked into that briefing undecided as to whether to support a resolution under the War Powers Act introduced by Senator [Tim] Kaine [D-VA]. Now, Senator Kaine and I have had some discussions. I've got some concerns with some of the language...and I can say that after briefing, that briefing is what changed my mind. That briefing has brought me on board. Together with the amendments Senator Kaine has agreed to make. I'm going to support it."

Senator Kaine was Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016, and now he's introduced a resolution aimed at limiting the President's ability to further escalate the situation in Iran.

According to a statement from Kaine:

"The resolution requires that any hostilities with Iran must be explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force, but does not prevent the United States from defending itself from imminent attack."

With Lee and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) likely supporting the resolution, only two more Republican Senators would be needed to pass it. It would almost certainly pass the House where it would even more certainly be vetoed by Trump, thereby going back to the Senate and requiring an all but unattainable supermajority to override the veto.

Lee directed his final comments to officials within the Executive Branch.

"It is not acceptable for officials within the Executive Branch of government—I don't care if they're with the CIA, with the Department of Defense or otherwise—to come in and tell us that we can't debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran. It's un-American. It's unconstitutional. And it's wrong."

People commended Lee for being one of the few Senators to speak out against Trump's hastiness.

Others reminded Lee—a fervent Trump supporter—of other atrocities and ethical breaches committed by the Executive Branch in the last three years.

The Senator from Utah isn't dissenting out of political gain either: Trump won Utah in 2016 by 19 percent.


As millions of Americans commemorated the legacy of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., presidential counsellor Kellyanne Conway railed against the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, set to begin in the Senate on Tuesday.

The President, who leaves for the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday night, has no public plans to commemorate Martin Luther King Day, prompting reporters to ask Kellyanne how he intended to celebrate.

Keep reading...

The long-awaited tenth season of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm premiered this week, and the show's creator Larry David wasted no time in skewering current events.

One of the premiere episode's standout moments came when Larry tried on a red Make America Great Again cap—the signature accessory for supporters of President Donald Trump

Keep reading...
Drew Angerer/Getty Images // Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's reaction to white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the aftermath of the Charlottesville riots hasn't been forgotten, even two years later.

The President infamously asserted that there were "very fine people on both sides" at the Unite the Right rally, where white supremacists protested the removal of a confederate statue. The ensuing violence resulted in the murder of counter-protestor Heather Heyer.

Keep reading...
ABC News

The Senate is gearing up for a historic impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, who withheld congressionally approved aid from Ukraine on the condition that its leaders announce investigations against his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Days after taking an oath of impartiality, some Republican senators are making the rounds to defend Trump's actions.

Keep reading...
Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu via Getty Images // Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Amendment 4—a Florida referendum restoring voting rights to former felons—passed in 2018 with 65% of the vote, paving the way for an additional 1.4 million voters in the swing state.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis immediately took steps to undermine the public will by signing into law a bill that would only restore voting rights to felons who fully pay all fees and fines imposed after leaving prison.

Under Florida law, court debts left unpaid after three months are referred to private debt collectors, who can then tack on a surcharge of up to 40%.

Keep reading...
John Sommers II/Getty Images

A day after Senators took an oath of impartiality in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, the President eagerly announced the team of lawyers who will be defending him.

Two names on the list stood out.

Keep reading...