House Dems Grill Trump’s Iran Rep. over War Authorization

HeadlineJun 20, 2019

During a tense hearing before House Democrats Wednesday, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, was grilled about the president’s authority to declare war. This is California Congressmember Ted Lieu questioning Brian Hook.

Rep. Ted Lieu: “So, under our Constitution, does the president have the power to declare war?”

Brian Hook: “On—I think this is a discussion about”—

Rep. Ted Lieu: “It’s not a trick question. Under our Constitution, does the president have the power to declare war? It’s just a yes or no.”

Brian Hook: “Um, we are”—

Rep. Ted Lieu: “OK, all right. Let me make it really easy for you. Under the Constitution, Congress has the power to declare war. Correct? It’s not a trick question, sir. Have you read the Constitution?”

Brian Hook: “We will do everything we are required to do”—

Rep. Ted Lieu: “Mr. Hook, have you read the Constitution?”

Brian Hook: “I have read the Constitution.”

Rep. Ted Lieu: “OK. Under the Constitution, the Framers gave Congress the power to declare war. Correct? Just a yes or no.”

Brian Hook: “This is—my understanding is that we’re here to talk about Iran foreign policy, which I can do.”

Special Representative Hook did not respond to the question.

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