Lawmakers Unswayed by White House Syria Case

When strike would occur remains unclear
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 30, 2013 2:14 AM CDT
Updated Aug 30, 2013 7:58 AM CDT
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gestures as he answers questions from reporters during his visit at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

(Newser) – The specifics of President Obama's plans for Syria don't seem much clearer after a conference call with Congressional leaders. The call didn't include information on when a strike would occur, Politico notes, nor did it appear to sway lawmakers who had doubts about military action. During the call, which involved top officials including John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and Susan Rice, the administration discussed an intercepted phone call it called proof the Syrian government used chemical weapons, the Wall Street Journal reports—though the call doesn't directly implicate Bashar al-Assad, the New York Times notes. The White House's goal is "preventing Assad from using chemical weapons again," a Democratic aide said.

As to the British vote against using force, the administration said that "the president will make a decision based on what is best for the US and not what other countries would do," said Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "I don't think the UK ought to have a veto on what the US does or doesn't do." Officials said Obama still hadn't settled on a course of action—but the Times says "all indications" suggest a strike on the heels of the UN's departure from Damascus tomorrow. But we may know more soon: A senior administration official tells CNN the administration will today release declassified intelligence supporting the claim that the Syrian regime launched a chemical attack. (Read more White House stories.)

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