US President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters after making a video call to the troops stationed worldwide at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida, on December 24, 2019.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump said Sunday that a series of Twitter posts over the weekend serve as sufficient notification to Congress that he will strike back against Iran if the Islamic Republic retaliates over the death of one of its top generals.
Trump appeared to claim he was not legally required to notify Congress, but said his Twitter should serve as notification that he will strike back against Iran “perhaps in a disproportionate manner.”
On Saturday, Trump warned Iran that the U.S. would hit 52 Iranian sites if Tehran took revenge over the death of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad Thursday night.
The president said some of the targeted sites are important to Iranian culture, sparking outrage among leading Democrats and officials in Iran, who accused Trump of advocating war crimes. Under the 1954 Hague Convention, targeting cultural sites violates the laws of war. The U.S. is a signatory to that convention.
When asked on ABC’s “This Week” why Trump was threatening Iran with war crimes, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would act within the bounds of the law.
“We’ll behave lawfully, we’ll behave inside the system,” Pompeo told This Week’s George Stephanopoulos. “We always have and we always will.”
Leading Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have criticized the administration for not consulting with Congress before launching the strike that killed Soleimani.
Congress received formal notification about the strike on Saturday. Under the War Powers Act of 1973, the president is required to notify Congress within 48 hours of deploying U.S. military assets into combat.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., have introduced legislation to prohibit funding for offensive military force against Iran without prior congressional authorization.