Justice Dept: Trump had power to attack Syria without congress
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Justice Dept: Trump had power to attack Syria without congress

The United States launched an attack in Syria in April.CreditHassan Ammar/Associated Press
Orient Net
Date: 2018-06-02 10:28
More than a year after President Trump first ordered the American military to bomb Syrian government forces as punishment for using chemical weapons, the Justice Department has claimed that he wields broad constitutional power to order such limited acts of warfare without congressional approval.
In a(22-page legal opinion) disclosed late Thursday (May 31), the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel declared that Mr. Trump could lawfully and unilaterally direct airstrikes targeting Syria installations because he determined that doing so would be in the national interest, and because the attack would carry little risk of escalation.
“Given the absence of ground troops, the limited mission and time frame and the efforts to avoid escalation, the anticipated nature, scope and duration of these airstrikes did not rise to the level of a ‘war’ for constitutional purposes,” wrote Steven A. Engel, the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel.
Mr. Engel signed his memo on Thursday, but it said he had earlier orally given the same advice to Donald F. McGahn II, Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, before airstrikes on Syrian chemical weapons facilities in April 2018.


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