Sen. Cory Booker told MSNBC's Chris Hayes Monday night that even after attending a classified briefing in the Senate, he has no idea what legal justification the Trump administration used to give them authority to bomb the Syrian Air Force last week.
"What was the legal justification for the unilateral presidential use of power?" he wondered. "Nobody has showed me the legal reason why."
Booker suggested that they might cite the 2001 post-9/11 Authorization of Military Force Agaisnt Terrorists which granted the President authority to use "necessary and appropriate force" against those who "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, and those who protect them.
"If we're still using the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) from 2001 to justify this, that is an attack on a soveriegn state, which is what we did, we went after a soveriegn state... it is way off the rails."
CORY BOOKER: I'm not going to come out an celebrate this. I have some question if this was a justified use of presidential power... What I haven't heard is: What was the legal justification for the unilateral presidential use of power... I went to a classified briefing with incredbile military leaders... and nobody has showed me the legal reason why.
I think this is a terrible drift--
If we're still using the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) from 2001 to justify this, that is not an attack on a soveriegn state, which is what we did, we went after a soveriegn state, and a legitimate leader, but it is way off the rails.
For us not to be asking these constitutional questions. For me, as a member of [The Senate], not to ask, and call that out, is irresponsible...
What is your legal justification for a very serious strike on a sovereign country?
This is an administration that has shown no overall strategy-- they’re playing footsie with Russia.
I mean, I’ve seen more criticism of Nordstrom than I have seen of Putin.
If this is an administration not even willing to criticize Russia, who has attacked the United States with cyberattacks. But this is an important point. This is somebody that’s empowering Assad in doing what he is doing. This is somebody that represented to the previous administration that they were working with Assad to get rid of those weapons that were then just used in this attack.
So, this is an administration I don’t see having a coherent strategy. This is an administration that I don’t think it has at least produced a justifiable reason, and I worry that we’re going to be continuing to wade into a morass without an overall plan on how we’re going to deal with, what I think is one of the greater humanitarian crises of our lifetime.