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President Donald Trump stops to speak to reporters as he prepared to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on January 19, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump stops to speak to reporters as he prepared to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on January 19, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

"You're Not a Dictator": Lawmakers and Experts Inform Trump He Can't Declare War via Tweet

"The Constitution doesn't allow presidents to declare war over social media."

Eoin Higgins

Democratic lawmakers, anti-war advocates, and legal experts rebuked President Donald Trump after he announced on Twitter that he would be using the social media platform as the medium by which he would inform Congress of hypothetical, future military strikes against Iran.

"The Constitution doesn't allow presidents to declare war over social media," tweeted Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Caif.).

Khanna, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Senate, introduced a bill Friday to block funding for the president's effort to continue the conflict with Iran which exploded on January 2 when Trump ordered a drone strike in Baghdad which killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani. 

"Congress must reassert its constitutional responsibility over war," said Sanders. "The Senate and House must vote to immediately defund unauthorized military action against Iran."

Trump announced Sunday that he would be making wartime declarations to Capitol Hill through Twitter.

"These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner," the president tweeted. "Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!"

Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), who left the Republican Party last year over the president's conduct, referred Trump to the constitutional limits of the presidency's powers.

"Such legal notice was provided in 1789 but is given here again nevertheless," tweeted Amash.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee also hit back against the president Sunday afternoon. 

"This Media Post will serve as a reminder that war powers reside in the Congress under the United States Constitution," the committee's official account tweeted. "And that you should read the War Powers Act. And that you're not a dictator."

Yale Law School professor Oona Hathaway pointed out that Trump's declaration "threatens to break several laws" by not notifying Congress in a correct way, refusing to consult with lawmakers before taking military action, and claiming there is no requirement for notification. 

"That any of this has to be said suggests just how insane this situation has become," said Hathaway.


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