Letter to President Donald J. Trump - Show Cause for Military Action in Syria


Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Walter Jones (NC-03) Friday sent President Trump a letter, signed by 37 other members, asking he provide legal reasons for the use of military force in Syria. It has been reported that the administration has a memo detailing the justification for the April 6, 2017 U.S. strikes against the Shayrat military airbase in Syria, and both representatives are requesting that this information be shared with Congress and the American public.

Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war, and the 1973 War Powers Resolution requires the president to report to Congress within 48 hours of introducing U.S. Armed Forces into hostilities if there has not been a formal declaration of war. Given Congress' constitutionally-mandated role, the Trump Administration should provide a copy of any existing documents so that Congress can assess the need for the continued use of force in Syria.

"I believe that, in sending troops to Syria without asking for Congressional authorization, President Trump has grossly overstepped his authority," said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR). "If there exists evidence to the contrary, I believe that the Trump Administration should share that information immediately with the American public. I criticized Presidents Bush and Obama for overstepping their constitutional authority in committing troops to the Middle East without congressional approval--and I will not hesitate to offer that same criticism of President Trump."

"Over the course of many presidencies, Congress has fallen into a bad habit of abdicating its Constitutional duty to debate and declare war," said Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). "It is way past time we reclaim this power, and ensure that the United States does not fall into any further unfounded military conflicts."

A recognized public watchdog of Congress's power to declare war, Rep. DeFazio has repeatedly introduced legislation clarifying the President's war-making authorities throughout his tenure in Congre