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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

NYT: Khashoggi's killers had paramilitary training in U.S.

A vigil for journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, following his killing in 2018 in Turkey. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Several Saudis who took part in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi had paramilitary training in the U.S. under a State Department contract a year before his 2018 death, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: While there's no evidence the department knew that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned Saudi officials to detain, kidnap and torture dissidents in 2017, the approval of such training underscores how "intensely intertwined" the U.S. has become with a nation known for human rights abuses, per the NYT.

U.S. attorney finalist trashes Labor secretary

Rachael Rollins and Marty Walsh. Photos: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images (Rollins); Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images (Walsh)

A finalist for U.S. attorney in Boston is publicly trashing the city's former mayor — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Why it matters: Rachael Rollins’ approach is perpetuating scrutiny of a troubled Cabinet secretary and fellow Democrat — and hints at the independence she may exhibit if tapped for top federal prosecutor for the eastern half of Massachusetts.

Parties pounce on China as midterm issue

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats and Republicans in purple states are already leaning into U.S. competition with China as a key issue in the fight to control the Senate in 2022.

Why it matters: American voters hold increasingly negative feelings toward the Chinese government, particularly around bilateral economic relations and following the nation’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.