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Thu Feb 13, 2020, 04:11 PM

As Trump grows more dangerous, Republicans face another big test.

Itís true that the basis for this new Senate measure ó the 1973 War Powers Act ó has generally proved to be a flimsy constraint on presidents. It has been regularly abused by presidents in both parties, including Barack Obama, helped along by Congressí regular abdication of its authority.

Itís also true that even if this measure does pass the Senate ó even without it getting gutted by Cottonís amendment ó Trump will veto it.

But it would nonetheless constitute a powerful statement for a majority of both chambers of Congress, including the one controlled by the presidentís party, to stand for the principle that Trump cannot exercise his warmaking authority without authorization. Forcing him to veto this would underscore for the country his dangerous efforts to consolidate his powers.

Right now, GOP senators are engaged in a massive exercise in excuse-making to explain away Trumpís latest abuse: his open and explicit command that Attorney General William P. Barr interfere in the case against longtime confidant Roger Stone.

This has focused intense attention on senators such as Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), all of whom have comically asserted in one way or another that they hope Trump has learned from his impeachment.


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