Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee left a classified Capitol Hill intelligence briefing on the situation in Iran held by the White House visibly angry Wednesday, saying he will now support a resolution to establish control over President Donald Trump’s military powers.
Both Lee and Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul addressed the media in the U.S. Capitol after leaving the briefing and criticized the way the briefing went. Lee at one point called it “the worst briefing I’ve seen, at least on a military issue.” Paul also said he would vote to support Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine’s War Powers Resolution.
This is a stunning statement from GOP Senator Mike Lee (Utah) who just left a classified intelligence briefing on the situation in Iran. pic.twitter.com/XmwscWV7ng
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) January 8, 2020
According to The Hill, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley went to Capitol Hill to give briefings to the House and Senate after Iran struck multiple bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq, leaving no casualties. (RELATED: US Bases In Iraq Attacked By Iran In Retaliation For Soleimani Death)
“What I found so distressing about that briefing was that one of the messages we received from the briefers was, ‘Do not debate. Do not discuss the issue of the appropriateness of further military intervention against Iran. And then if you do, you’ll be emboldening Iran,'” Lee said, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
“The implication being that we would somehow be making America less safe by having a debate or a discussion about the appropriateness of further military involvement against the government of Iran,” Lee went on. “Now, I find this insulting and demeaning, not personally, but to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold.” (RELATED: Liz Cheney: ‘Speaker Pelosi Is An Embarrassment And Unfit For Office’)
“It is not acceptable for officials within the executive branch of government, I don’t care whether they’re with the CIA, with the Department of Defense or otherwise, to come in and tell us that we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran,” Lee continued. “It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional and it’s wrong.”
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the missiles were fired as an act of retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 2, according to The Wall Street Journal.
President Trump addressed the nation just hours before members of Congress were briefed.