Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to discuss what he called "probably the worst briefing I've seen" in regard to Wednesday's congressional briefing on the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Iran's retaliatory missile attack.
"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 if you do, you'll be emboldening Iran,'" Lee told reporters on Wednesday.
"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. It's un-American. It's unconstitutional. And it's wrong," he added.
In this clip, Lee made it clear that he is not speaking out against President Donald Trump's decision to order the airstrike that killed Soleimani or his handling of the ongoing conflict with Iran.
"I commend the president. I support the president. This president has actually been the most respectful and the most restrained in his use of military power as commander in chief. More so than any other president in my lifetime. And I respect him for that," Lee said to Glenn on the phone.
"What I'm concerned about is where we go from here," he continued. "I want to make sure that any subsequent military action against Iran is carried out only through the constitutional formula, which is through a declaration of war or authorization for the use of military force. And I actually think the president wants the same. I think the president wants to follow the Constitution."
According to Article 2 of the Constitution, the president has the power to order a strike that is "discreet and necessary" in order to repel an actual or imminent attack, Lee said.
"But further actions, a sustained military effort, something that would qualify as an act of war, does, in fact, require congressional authorization. And that's what they need to obtain," he added. "I think the president agrees with me on that. I just think some of those surrounding him, advising him, and advising Congress on behalf of the executive branch yesterday are not adequately taking that into account."
Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:
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