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Sen. Mike Lee in March 2019. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) agreed to co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders' "No War Against Iran Act," CNN reports and Sanders confirmed Saturday on Twitter.

What's happening: The legislation seeks to deny funding from the Pentagon for use of military force in Iran, which it calls "unauthorized" in light of Congress not approving the lethal strike on top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

What he's saying: "War, generally speaking, is something we want to avoid," Lee said on Saturday at the Utah Eagle Forum, following the senators' announced partnership on the legislation.

  • "President Donald Trump has, in my view, been more respectful and more restrained in his exercise of his commander-in-chief role than any other president in my lifetime," Lee added on Saturday — couching his criticism of Wednesday's classified briefing on the Soleimani strike, led by Trump's top national security officials.
  • Lee told Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) he would support a war powers resolution which aims to "vote in Congress to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran," if Kaine removed language that criticized Trump, he said Saturday.

Background: Lee called Wednesday's Soleimani briefing the "worst" he's ever seen. He said it was "insulting and demeaning" that briefers instructed senators not to debate the appropriateness of further military action against Iran.

"As United States Senators, we often disagree on many issues. But standing up for the Constitution is not about partisanship. The Founding Fathers were absolutely clear. They wanted to ensure that our country avoided needless conflict and they understood that presidential war-making would be harmful to our democracy."
— the senators' joint Saturday statement to CNN

Go deeper: House passes war powers resolution condemning military action against Iran

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.