back to top

White House Makes Clear: We Can Attack Syria Without Congress

"He believes he has the authority."

Posted on

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated remarks from the White House counsel Monday that President Obama has the authority to order a military strike on Syria even if Congress votes against authorization.

"The president believes that congressional authorization enhances the argument. That it's important in this case because of the facts given in the assessment by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs that we can attack militarily in a day or a week or a month as the president said and have the desired impact that we seek," Carney said. "And therefore given that, he thought it was very important to get congressional approval, but he's also made clear he believes he has the authority as commander-in-chief and president to take action, but we are better and stronger if in these circumstances we receive authorization from Congress."

White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler had told The New York Times Sunday that the president striking Syria without congressional approval would be legal.

Ruemmler said that although a Syria strike "may not fit under a traditionally recognized legal basis under international law," the White House believed given the circumstances, limited strikes would be "justified and legitimate under international law."

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.