Full Senate to be briefed Friday on Syria strikes

The Senate is set to be briefed on U.S. airstrikes against Syria at an all-Senate meeting on Friday before leaving town for a two-week recess, according to a senior Senate source.

Senators will meet behind closed doors in the Capitol with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, the source said.

The meeting comes as Congress is dividing in to several camps over Thursday night’s airstrikes against the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad. The strikes were in retaliation for Assad’s most recent chemical attack on his own people.

Congressional leaders in both parties have been largely supportive of the strikes ordered by President Donald Trump. Liberal Democrats and libertarian-minded Republicans have raised concerns about their constitutionality.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Hugh Hewitt on Friday he did not believe the cruise missile strikes required authorization from Congress.

“We passed one back in 2001 and 2002, I believe, and the previous president thought that it authorized what we were doing in that part of the world, and I expect this president thinks the same,” McConnell said.

McConnell was notified of the strikes on Thursday night by Vice President Mike Pence.

On Friday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urging Ryan to call the House back into session to debate an authorization for use of military force. The House began its two-week recess on Thursday.

“The President’s action and any response demands that we immediately do our duty,” Pelosi said.

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