Functionally that is exactly what is going on. Consider this quote from Lindsey Graham.
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) is now dismissing concerns about the need for Congress to reassert its warmaking authority as “emboldening the enemy.”
Apparently there is nothing too bizarre for the Trump loyalists (aka royalists). Consider what happened in a congressional briefing Wednesday by Team Trump.
GOP senator who erupted over Iran briefing shares awful new details about the Trump administration’s willingness to wage war without Congressional consent. So reports Greg Sargent in the Washington Post.
If President Trump made the decision to assassinate the supreme leader of Iran, would he need to come to Congress to get authorization for it?
The Trump administration won’t say.
That remarkable claim is now being made by a Republican senator — Mike Lee of Utah. He offered it in a new interview with NPR, in which he shared fresh details about why he erupted in anger on Wednesday over the briefing Congress received from the administration on Iran.
As you know, Lee’s comments went viral Wednesday after he ripped into the briefing given to lawmakers about Trump’s decision to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
Lee, echoing the complaints of many Democrats, blasted the briefing on the intelligence behind the assassination as the “worst” he’d ever seen. He also fumed that officials refused to acknowledge any “hypothetical” situations in which they would come to Congress for authorization for future military hostilities against Iran.
Now, in the interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin, Lee has gone into more alarming detail. Lee reiterated that officials “were unable or unwilling to identify any point” at which they’d come to Congress for authorization for the use of military force. Then this exchange happened:
MARTIN: What kind of hypotheticals were you putting to them in hopes of understanding when the administration sees a need for Congressional authority?
LEE: As I recall, one of my colleagues asked a hypothetical involving the Supreme Leader of Iran: If at that point, the United States government decided that it wanted to undertake a strike against him personally, recognizing that he would be a threat to the United States, would that require authorization for the use of military force?
The fact that there was nothing but a refusal to answer that question was perhaps the most deeply upsetting thing to me in that meeting.
Obviously, this was an extreme hypothetical. But the point of it was to discern the contours of the administration’s sense of its own obligation to come to Congress for approval of future hostilities. And it succeeded in doing just that, demonstrating that they recognize no such obligation.
In the NPR interview, Lee also disclosed that at one point in the briefing, an official “discouraged us from even having a debate on the Senate floor” about whether Congress should pass new measures constraining Trump’s authority to launch future military actions without authorization.
“That might somehow embolden the Iranian regime in future attacks against the United States,” Lee said, characterizing the argument the official made.
Our system is now functionally that one person makes these extraordinarily consequential decisions. Plainly, the person in question is not fit to do so.
Indeed, in this case, you’d think the starkness of the situation would get Congress — or, more precisely, congressional Republicans, since virtually all Democrats will do the right thing this time — to reassert its authority.
Trump has threatened war crimes, has boasted about the size of his missiles and just ordered an assassination of a senior military leader in a sovereign country without alerting Congress or seeking its approval, based on intelligence that is dubious at best and on rationales that have fallen apart.
But Trump’s tweet calling on “all House Republicans” to vote against the new war powers measure now means that being loyal to Trump is synonymous with giving him unconstrained warmaking authority, despite all the madness we’ve seen. And so it shall be.
BTW: On my understanding, “unconstrained warmaking authority” is a characteristic of a dictatorial monarchy. All hail the King.