It’s been quite some time since Donald Trump faced real bipartisan pushback from Congress, but the Senate offered him a rebuke on Wednesday after his strong campaign for support.
For the first time, the U.S. Senate just voted to advance a resolution withdrawing U.S. Armed Forces from an unauthorized and unconstitutional war.
Let us bring this catastrophic war in Yemen to an end, and help bring peace and humanitarian aid to this tortured country. pic.twitter.com/rbThxPXuEG
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 28, 2018
Every single Democratic senator, as well as 14 Republicans, voted to withdraw support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, in which 85,000 children have starved to death while the humanitarian crisis worsens by the day. Despite a delay in response, the recent torture and murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi seemed to sway Republicans to stand against the president.
‘The resolution failed 55-44 earlier this year, but after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Embassy in Turkey, and what many senators considered an inadequate response by the Trump administration, lawmakers have decided to push the measure forward. But while this is a rebuke of the White House’s desire to stand by Saudi Arabia, the resolution still needs to be debated on the floor. Meanwhile, the White House plans to veto the measure if it reaches the president’s desk.’
I’ve been at this for 3 years, and I am blown away by this.
By a big bipartisan margin, 63-37, the Senate just voted, for the first time, to move forward with a debate on ending American involvement in the Yemen war.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 28, 2018
Trump sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis to hold a closed-door briefing to the Senate in an attempt to swing the vote his way. CNN reports that their briefing only led to more backlash.
According to POLITICO:
‘Pompeo and Mattis briefed all senators in a rare classified briefing ahead of the chamber’s vote on a bid to endAmerican support for the Saudis’ side in the bloody Yemeni war. The Cabinet members’ pitch fell short for Republicans and Democrats alike who want President Donald Trump’s administration to take a harder line on Saudi Arabia after the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi — a murder linked to the highest levels of Riyadh’s government.’
I’m supporting @SenSanders bipartisan resolution that halts U.S. support for Saudia Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen unless there is Congressional approval. This is about following our Constitutional responsibilities in matters of war. pic.twitter.com/llgmsVWbjZ
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) November 28, 2018
Notably absent was CIA Director Gina Haspel, who the White House directed not to attend the briefing. The CIA issued a report on Khashoggi’s murder naming Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as having issued the order to murder the journalist. Trump has insisted, and both Pompeo and Mattis have supported the falsehood, that the CIA has not determined “definitively” that MBS was involved. That, however, is untrue.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) explained his position on the vote:
‘I found their briefing today to be lacking. I found that in substance we’re not doing those things that we should be doing to appropriately balance our relationship with Saudi Arabia between our American interests and our American values.’
Democratic Sen. Durbin says that Sec. Mattis and Sec. Pompeo told Senate in Saudi Arabia-Yemen briefing that CIA Dir. Haspel did not attend "at the direction of the White House." pic.twitter.com/fy2o6V2RqW
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 28, 2018
The resolution is not yet set in stone. Not only is there yet another process to make it final, Trump has already said that he plans to veto the resolution once it lands on his desk.
‘The Senate has to take another vote, expected next week, in order to formally open debate on U.S. policy towards the Saudis that seeks to punish them further for Khashoggi’s killing. But even the success of Wednesday’s initial vote was a jab at the White House — which is defending the Saudis ahead of the G20 summit that Prince Mohammad bin Salman will attend.’
Featured image via Twitter video