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Kaine Says Many Prior Military Actions to Protect Americans Were Illegal

• April 9, 2017 2:41 pm

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Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) said on "Meet the Press" Sunday that several prior military actions to protect Americans were illegal.

Kaine condemned President Donald Trump's decision to attack a Syrian airfield with missile strikes on Thursday in response to the Assad regime using chemical weapons on Syrian citizens. Kaine said Trump should have gotten approval from Congress first.

Host Chuck Todd wanted clarification on Kaine's stance and asked him about prior incidents in American history similar to this.

"Senator, in this case it's very limited, number one. And number two, there were American interests on the ground, we have U.S. soldiers, special operations forces that are on the ground very close to chemical weapons," Todd said. "If you're saying this action was illegal, then you must be thinking that the Libya action by President Obama was illegal, Grenada by President Reagan, that was illegal. Are you saying that all of those actions were illegal?"

Kaine replied "yes" to each of Todd's examples.

Kaine said he objected to former President Barack Obama's decision to fire missiles at air defense targets belonging to Libya's then-dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

"I agreed with the Republicans in the House that rebuked President Obama and said he exceeded his authority because the U.S. wasn't under imminent threat," he said. "That's the only circumstance where a Commander in Chief can use article two power without going to Congress, if there's an imminent threat to the United States."

Former President Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada in 1983 to protect Americans on the island during rising tensions from communist forces.