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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The coordinated airstrikes on Syria Friday night resulted in a mixed reaction from Congress — some applauding a strong response to chemical weapons, and others calling it unconstitutional to go over Congress' head.

The bottom line: This was a big decision for President Trump, and many in Congress aren't happy about being excluded. We saw a split with top Democrats like Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi offering limited support, along with Republican Congressman Justin Amash calling them "unconstitutional, illegal, and reckless."

In favor of the strikes
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "The planning for this robust operation by the United States and our allies was clearly well-considered. It is evident that the President was provided with a number of options, and that our forces executed a challenging mission."
  • Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement: "The Butcher of Damascus learned two lessons tonight the hard way: weapons of mass destruction won't create a military advantage once the United States is done with you and Russia cannot protect its clients from the United States. President Trump ought to sustain the attacks if Assad doesn't learn these lessons."
Against the strikes
  • A bipartisan group of 88 members of Congress wrote a letter to Trump on Friday, requesting that he "receive authorization from Congress before ordering additional use of U.S. military forces in Syria."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement: "President Trump deserves credit for working with our allies and ordering this strike against Assad...But I fear that when the dust settled this strike will be seen as a weak military response...It's not the type of sustained, game-changing strategy that will lead to Assad, Russia, or Iran changing or reevaluating their strategy in Syria."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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