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Tim Kaine Interview About Senate War Powers Resolution - NPR

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The recent conflict with Iran has brought an issue about what the president of the United States whether it's Donald Trump or somebody else can and should be allowed to do when they face a problem overseas with or without the consent of Congress this is been on the mind of U. S. senator Tim Kaine for quite some time and he joins us now live on the air good morning to you Hey John good to be with you so tell me about the war powers resolution we've talked about it a little bit but it sounds like you are now competent you've got majority support from your colleagues in the Senate yes the you you let in in the right way that we're not supposed to be or without about a Congress and the basic rule is Congress gets to declare war and then once Congress declares it then we don't micromanage the commander in chief for the military they they carry out a war once declared but it's for Congress to initiate war the one exception is president able to defend the United States from imminent attack doesn't need congressional permission to do that we all agree you can argue about whether there's evidence of imminent attack or not but the principle is a solid one that the president can do it so we put in a resolution and it is bipartisan for Republicans have signed on to co sponsor the basically says US should not be engaged in hostilities with Iran except to defend against them intact unless Congress passes a new war authorization saying that that's what we should do it it's trying to reclaim this is constitutional power that frankly congresses of both parties under presidents of both parties have abdicated for many many decades and I've been working on this for about seven years I've got now majority vote it's a privilege vote in the Senate which means if I get majority that's enough I don't have to get up to sixty votes but many other Republicans are considering the bipartisan legislation and I think I mean going to get more votes yeah but you know if if if you and I hadn't talked several times about this in the past then I probably hammer you and say oh my gosh are you taking advantage of the situation Donald Trump found himself in right to be fair to you you have talked about this long before the Iran situation a came up most recently but aren't you kind of in sync I mean I know you you're not a fan of Donald Trump and you certainly personally have a reason not to be a fan of him but aren't you in sync with him he's he took out a terrorist that I think everybody agreed even if we talked a year ago they would've said this is a bad guy a guy absolutely and he's you know he's up the troop numbers but you don't think he actually wants to go into a full fledged conflict in our mind right I don't I don't think he does you know again I don't know him personally but my gut tells me that when he as a candidate says I want fewer wars in the Middle East not more I think use be insincere run and I night so I think that he would not prefer ideas some people around him who feel differently about it but I I think his his instinct is we should be in fewer wars in the Middle East the challenge with the with the striking and soul money bluntly John was less about soul money then try how when where was done when you do it in a rock you know a rock is an ally of ours and we've we've battle together to defeat ISIS but Iraq said you do not have permission to take military strikes in Iraq against Iran because we don't want to we don't wanna be turned into a football stadium where U. S. and around you geo politics at our expense so they objected to the strike we did it anyway we did another strike a week before that killed twenty five around Ian's over their objection and now they're parliament wants us to leave and if US troops leave around a rock precipitously in a weird way the winners will be around and isis and that's not the right thing to happen so this is delicate stuff but but it but it it's just an indication that that why did the framers want Congress to make the decision because they wanted a deliberate process with the debate in front American people and they wanted to protect the troops the troop shouldn't be ordered to rest their life and limb if Congress and have a debate and say Hey this is truly in the national interest now well the conflicts we've been in in the last twenty years they have all been appropriately approved right would would you agree with that there is a three administrations in a row believe that the bush administration the Obama administration in the trump administration I actually believe that and what they all do John as they used to two thousand one authorization and said go after the perpetrators of the nine eleven attacks as the all purpose authorization against terrorist groups I think that authorization has been used to properly I think when it's when it was used against ISIS which is a group didn't start until long after the nine eleven attack it's like online second I don't think you should be able to stretch that authorization to cover everything so so I argued against president Obama on and I said look you can defend the United States against ISIS they were threatening a consulate in Beale but once we protected US interests and you want to go on offense against ISIS I made the argument I did not succeed with my colleagues on this but I made the argument that president I'm you don't have a legal authority to do this you got to get a new authorization but Congress wanted to hide under their desks and not vote on a new authorization so that it but it is the case that at least three administrations in a row has said that the engagement since nine eleven have all been against non state terrorist groups and it's all been covered by a congressional authorization but there's no argument that that authorization applies to actions against the nation of Iran so let me put you on the spot here because I've always been told one of the worst things to do is get a high profile job where everybody looks to you for results but then you don't have the power to actually do what it takes to get the results that everybody expects so let's just say secretary Clinton had one and she was president of your vice president and maybe you're thinking about running at the end of her second term right would would the proposal that you've got out there which would you have a different attitude about this if you thought you know what out I might be in the oval office I can't have a whole bunch of yahoos S. who can't agree on you know the temperature for tea yeah dictating to me whether I'm going to be a successful president and whether people are gonna die Welt will John I'm sure the spot would cross my mind if I were president that there a lot of Yahoo's in Congress that would run in my mind but but I mean I took this position president Obama is a personal friend you know and I took this position against president writes a book you're my friend but but you cannot do this without Congress and and I had those conversations you know in the oval office with a look at him in the eye and and I don't it if I were president Hey I think I'd be a good president but I don't think I'm smart enough to decide when we should be a war on my own but would you know where the ready to wrangle these it would you be able to wrangle consensus from people who would and I hate to say it but everything so polarized either be there might be a lot of people who would say you want to heck with HIM a president Kane let's let's watch him fall here and then we win politically that's bad if I couldn't convince Congress and the American people that a war was a good idea then we shouldn't be in a war even if I thought it was a good idea if I couldn't convince Congress to the American public that a war was a good idea that we should be in the war and I've said this over and over and we ought to have the debate on the floor of the Senate about around or about any potential war if I vote yes but Congress votes no I might be disappointed but all except the outcome if I vote no but Congress votes yes I'll be disappointed bell except the outcome but but the real issue here is the troops I mean I think the troops deserve to know that the nation's behind them and a president can escalate rushes into something without there being a consensus that this is really in the national mission and then sacrificing it's not that you know members of Congress are hiding from votes are sacrificing it's it's people who are getting injured and killed I got you all right let's not by now we got to go but I want to ask you if you were governor and you were facing the I'm assuming you would be in support of some of the gun laws that are currently going through the channels are for either Franco's legislation yeah you yes Sir what would you her analysis be about protecting citizens in the capital I mean I seems like governor north and kind of step in and it on this state of emergency if he does that today well it's emit my understanding so I just read about this this morning right John and the the issue is that he's got Intel but he's worried about that he's looking at social media postings and things that are suggesting that you know obviously the vast majority people are gonna come today today the capitol square next one you're gonna be completely peaceful but if there are some who were not it can lead to great chaos and so I'm I don't have the benefit of what he's looking at a little bit bad guys are going to obey an order from the governor anyway do you think well you you're right but that the there can be situations where you reduce tension and reduce K. out the possibility for chaos by doing an order like this and but again I don't have the benefit of what he's looking at on the Intel side but over on the long side you know what I've been a long time supporter of background checks we learned to our to our pain at Virginia Tech that I will background check system was with loopholes and it is one that's kind of lead to bad things happening so background Jackson and these these laws that temporarily remove rights for people are dangerous to themselves or others I think these are provisions that I could support and I suspect some will get to the governor's task I sprung the question on you appreciate you stand for an exam and a talk about US senator Tim Kaine the democratic represents Virginia in DC from Richmond former governor and former mayor thank you

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