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Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday vetoed a war powers resolution that would have curbed his ability to direct military action against Iran without Congress' authorization.

Why it matters: The bipartisan measure came after Trump ordered a strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in January, bringing the two nations to the brink of war.

  • The Senate passed the resolution 55-45 in February. Eight Republican senators — Mike Lee (R-Utah), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) — joined Democrats in voting for the resolution.
  • The House passed the resolution 227-186 in March. It's unlikely that either chamber will have the two-thirds majority necessary to override Trump's veto.

What he's saying:

"Today, I vetoed S.J. Res. 68, which purported to direct me to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces in hostilities against Iran. This was a very insulting resolution, introduced by Democrats as part of a strategy to win an election on November 3 by dividing the Republican Party.  The few Republicans who voted for it played right into their hands.
In addition, S.J. Res. 68 is based on misunderstandings of facts and law.  Contrary to the resolution, the United States is not engaged in the use of force against Iran.  Four months ago, I took decisive action to eliminate Qassem Soleimani while he was in Iraq.  Iran responded by launching a series of missiles at our forces stationed in Iraq.  No one was killed by these attacks.  Further, the strike against Soleimani was fully authorized by law, including by the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 and Article II of the Constitution. 
Finally, S.J. Res. 68 would have greatly harmed the President’s ability to protect the United States, its allies, and its partners.  The resolution implies that the President’s constitutional authority to use military force is limited to defense of the United States and its forces against imminent attack.  That is incorrect.  We live in a hostile world of evolving threats, and the Constitution recognizes that the President must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response.  That’s what I did!
Congress should not have passed this resolution. "

Go deeper

Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. He will be replaced with Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who will serve in both roles.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.

7 mins ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.