The White House is expected to brief high-ranking members of Congress of its plans for strategy in Syria on Thursday.
“Today, Senior Administration Officials will hold a briefing for Congressional leadership and the Chairs and Ranking Members of national security committees as a part of our continued consultations on Syria,” a White House official said in an email. “We will provide further details today as we can.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) tweeted about the briefing late Wednesday night, and said it would be by conference call. Cornyn, who just last year relinquished membership on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is presumably one of the briefing’s attendees.
POTUS planning to consult with Congress on conference call Thursday on his plans for Syria
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) August 29, 2013
The briefing comes as Obama takes more heat for his lack of consultation with Congress over possible military action in Syria — and as initial drums for strikes are losing steam.
On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner sent Obama a letter asking him for answers on 14 questions about the situation in Syria.
“I have conferred with the chairmen of the national security committees who have received initial outreach from senior Administration officials, and while the outreach has been appreciated, it is apparent … that the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation,” Boehner wrote in the letter.
In addition to Boehner, other lawmakers have raised concerns about Obama’s level of consultation on any military action. More than 100 lawmakers — 97 Republicans and 17 Democrats — signed a letter spearheaded by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) that urges Obama to seek Congressional authorization before any strike.
Meanwhile, intelligence officials told The Associated Press that the intelligence gathered — linking President Bashar al-Assad to a recent chemical-weapons attack — is not a “slam dunk.” Significantly, questions remain as to whether Assad ordered the strike or if it was the work of a rogue officer.
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