President Obama told top members of Congress on Wednesday that he won’t need to ask for congressional permission for the next steps he will take on the crisis in Iraq, according to the Senate’s top Republican.
“The president just basically briefed us on the situation in Iraq, indicated he didn’t feel he had any need for authority from us for steps he might take, and indicated he would keep us posted,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after a White House meeting about Iraq.
While top Republicans had been highly critical of Obama earlier in the week for not providing a plan on Iraq, the tenor of their criticism has died down. McConnell characterized the meeting by saying they “had a good discussion.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had said Tuesday that the administration doesn’t “need any more authority than they already have to do whatever they need to do there.”
In a statement later, Reid said, “the President said he is not currently considering actions that would require Congressional approval but was very clear that he would consult with Congress if that changed.”
A senior Democratic aide briefed on the meeting said McConnell’s comments about congressional approval mischaracterized the substance of the meeting.
House Speaker John Boehner didn’t issue a statement on the meeting, but a House Republican leadership aide said there was no disagreement with how McConnell described whether Obama would seek congressional approval.
Despite no signs from the White House that it will formally ask Congress for authority to take any kind of military action, there are pledges to keep leaders informed. The White House said the president “asked each of the leaders for their view of the current situation and pledged to continue consulting closely with Congress going forward.”
“It was a good meeting. Everybody seems satisfied. The president is going to keep us as informed as he can as this process moves forward,” Reid said back at the Capitol on Wednesday.
While top Democratic leaders have asserted that Obama retains such an authority, some Democrats question it and want Congress to be able to weigh in. The administration could use the 2001 Authorized Use of Military Force resolution, for instance, but the legality of such a move is still unclear.
The leaders wouldn’t divulge what options the administration is weighing to respond to the violence in the region. Obama has already ruled out sending on-the-ground combat troops, which is something that congressional Democrats have stood against. The U.S. will be sending up to 275 armed forces to provide embassy security.
Earlier in the day, the Associated Press reported that Obama is moving away from military airstrikes as a response.
Obama updated congressional leaders on the U.S. response to diminish the crisis by “urging Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian agendas and to come together with a sense of national unity,” according to the White House readout of the meeting, and also briefed the lawmakers on American efforts to strengthen Iraqi security forces in their fight against the militants.
This story has been updated to reflect new comments about the meeting.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”