Jun 20, 2019

House Dems vote to repeal 9/11-era law in hopes of deterring war with Iran

Mike Pompeo. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Democrats voted to repeal 2001's Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) on Wednesday, which originally gave then-President George W. Bush the power to go to war with al-Qaeda and any related organization after 9/11, and could now justify a new war with Iran, reports Vox.

The big picture: The repeal is in direct response to allegations by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Iran has ties to al-Qaeda, according to the New York Times. Bipartisan legislators are nervous that the Trump administration is closing in on war with Iran as tensions with the Gulf nation continue to escalate, says Vox.

  • The repeal is embedded in a $1 trillion funding bill crafted by House Democrats, and is unlikely to move forward in the Republican-led Senate, per Vox.

Context: For the last 18 years, presidents have used the 2001 congressional war authorization to justify military action throughout the Middle East. Three presidents have used the AUMF for dozens of engagements in 14 different countries, per the Huffington Post.

Why it matters: Congress is standing up to President Trump, and making sure he knows that he needs to get Congressional approval if he wants to take military action against Iran. Trump has overridden Congress on numerous occasions with executive orders, and that hasn't sat well with legislators.

Go deeper: Trump to send 1,000 troops to Middle East as Iran tensions escalate

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Virginia governor announces removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that the state will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue.

Why it matters: It's a watershed moment for Virginia, which has been at the center of a years-long national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be displayed publicly. That discussion reached a boiling point when protests about a statue of Lee in Charlottesville turned violent in 2017.

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.