On Thursday, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued the following memorandum opinion on the April 2018 U.S. airstrikes against three Syrian chemical-weapons facilities.
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When the United States uses military force, especially under controversial circumstances, it should explain the legal basis for its actions.
There is no apparent domestic or international legal authority for the airstrikes conducted in Syria on April 14.
Below is a transcript of President Trump's remarks announcing airstrikes in Syria this evening. The government has also released an assessment of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, also included below.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 13, 2018
Israel has officially acknowledged a September 2007 strike that destroyed the Al-Kibar nuclear reactor in Syria. The operation is a data point on state practice on preemptive self-defense against nuclear threats.
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Nearly one year after the Trump administration's April 2017 strike in Syria, Protect Democracy is still suing for public release of the legal justification behind the strike.
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In May 2017, the nonprofit Protect Democracy filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the Trump administration's legal justification behind the U.S. airstrikes in Syria during April of that year. The litigation produced proof of a seven-page legal memo analyzing the legal basis for the strikes, which the Justice Department has not yet released.
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