On Sunday night, hours after the president doubled down on his threat to bomb cultural sites in Iran, Nancy Pelosi announced that the House will attempt to limit Trump’s authority to wage war in the Persian Gulf. This week, the House will vote on a War Powers Resolution “to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran,” the letter states. “It reasserts Congress’ long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days.”
Pelosi states that the resolution “is similar” to the one filed by Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine in the Senate, which reiterates that any declaration of war or authorization of force against Iran must be authorized by Congress. Unlike in the Senate — where Iran hawk Lindsey Graham will help enforce party lines to ensure the conflict will not de-escalate — the resolution should pass in the House, where it will be led by Michigan Representative Elissa Slotkin, a former Defense and CIA analyst who specialized in Shia militias, which are a likely conduit for Iranian retaliation in the region.
In an interview on Saturday, Slotkin said that Trump has abused the blurry distinction between “what was practiced as a matter of habit … like including Congress in things, or notifying Congress and allies, consulting oversight committees when big decisions had to be made” and “what is truly required by law.” Trump’s Sunday claim that a tweet counted as a notice to Congress of any further action against Iran probably falls within that concerning gray area addressed by Slotkin.
Over the weekend, other forces pushed back against the ramp-up of the burgeoning conflict. Arab states in the Gulf, likely settings for a proxy conflict between U.S. and Iran, are “working on multiple tracks to try to keep tensions between Tehran and Washington from building into a military confrontation,” according to a Bloomberg report. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will reportedly send the Deputy Defense minister, his younger brother Khalid bin Salman, to Washington this week to urge restraint. “We will be the first to pay the price for any military showdown, so it’s in our best interest not to see things get out of hand,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political-science professor in the United Arab Emirates, told Bloomberg.
Closer to home, Trump officials, working in an administration that forces the separation of migrant families and causes intentional climate damage, finally answered a common hypothetical: What does it take for staffers to push back against the president’s worst impulses? According to two senior officials who spoke with CNN, the answer is war crimes: “Nothing rallies people like the deliberate destruction of beloved cultural sites,” one official told the network, countering Trump’s criminal threat.