Aug 2, 2017

Kaine: Trump administration "very open" to new AUMF

Andrew Harnik / AP

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons told reporters Wednesday that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "did not specifically reject" the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) Senators Tim Kaine and Jeff Flake have proposed in a classified Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the current AUMF. The proposed AUMF would address fighting ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.

Kaine said the administration is "very open to the idea of working towards an authorization."

Why it matters: The proposal would repeal and replace the 2001 AUMF approved under George W. Bush, which administrations since have been using as the legal basis for military activities in the Middle East. Critics have raised concerns about whether this gives the administration carte blanche to operate without restraint in the Middle East, but the balancing act, as Kaine put it, is "The executive shouldn't start a war without Congress authorizing…Congress...shouldn't micromanage."

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

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Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.