LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky stepped out of a classified briefing from the Trump Administration to Congress concerning the Iran conflict Wednesday ready to side with Democrats.
"They have justified the killing of an Iranian general as being something that Congress gave them permission to do in 2002. That is absurd. That's an insult," said Paul. "Nobody in their right mind -- with a straight face, with an ounce of honesty -- can argue when Congress voted to go after Saddam Hussein in 2002 that that authorized military force against an Iranian general 18 years later."
He was joined by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who was also enraged; both calling the briefing a "stunt."
Lee explained, "I find it insulting and I find it demeaning to the Constitution of the United States to which we've all sworn an oath."
The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense were reportedly in the room with other national security officials when they delivered the briefing to Congress Wednesday.
Paul and Lee said after the briefing that they would support the Democratic-sponsored war powers resolution, which is expected to be debated in the House on Thursday.
"Every time someone writes that Congress needs to take back their authority on war, that's what we're here to do," Paul said. "Let's have the debate, and let's have some senators stand up and let's have, let's see if we can really, truly have a debate over who has the power to declare war."
The war powers resolution would force President Donald Trump to keep Congress informed of military action and give the legislative branch the right to suspend the operation.
Defense Secratary Mark Esper pushed back at lawmakers criticism of the briefing, saying most in Congress don't have access to the most compelling evidence for moving ahead with drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
"Our duty under the Constitution is for us to debate when we go to war. And we, for one, are not going to abdicate that duty," Paul stated.