Fox News Legal Expert Says Trump 'Complied With His Duty to Uphold the Constitution' By Withdrawing from Syria Because Congress Didn't Authorize War

Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said on Wednesday that President Donald Trump had "complied with his duty to uphold the Constitution" by pulling back U.S. forces in Syria, pointing out that Congress had never authorized U.S. involvement in the war.

Napolitano, who previously served as a New Jersey Superior Court judge and has routinely criticized the president for violating his constitutional power, defended the president's controversial decision to withdraw the American forces from northern Syria during his Fox News digital show Judge Napolitano's Chambers. He explained that the justification by the Trump administration to enter the Syrian conflict back in 2017 relied on a resolution approved by Congress back in 2001, following the tragic September 11 terrorist attacks.

"That's the one that was written to fight the people that caused 9/11," he explained, "even though those people are no longer around, and those governments no longer exist."

Napolitano then lauded Trump for changing his mind about the Syrian war. The president "recognized that sending American troops to Syria is not in the best national security interest of the United States, and is not authorized by the Congress, and therefore is not proper under the Constitution," he said.

As Napolitano also highlighted, Trump has faced significant opposition from Republican, as well as Democratic, lawmakers due to his decision. Even prominent GOP lawmakers who are typically loyal to the president, such as Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have harshly criticized the withdrawal. They have warned that the move could embolden ISIS, while also being advantageous to American foes, Iran and Russia.

Many are concerned for the fate of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whom the U.S. military has backed in their fight against the Islamic State (or ISIS). Trump's decision to withdraw troops allowed for Turkey to move in to take control of the northern border region. While the U.S. is formally allied with Turkey through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), both countries interests have often appeared at odds in Syria. Turkey also has a long history of tensions with the Kurds, and the SDF has vowed to fight against any Turkish aggression.

Donald Trump with General
President Donald Trump speaks as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army General Mark Milley looks on after a briefing from senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room at the White House on October 7 in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty

But legally speaking, Napolitano stated his opinion that Trump had acted in the best interest of the Constitution. "He complied with his campaign promise, and he complied with his duty to uphold the Constitution," the former judge asserted. The Fox News legal expert then argued Congress was going against the Constitution by opposing Trump's decision, suggesting the legislative branch should pass a new war resolution if they wish for the U.S. to remain in the conflict.

However, many lawmakers appear to disagree with Napolitano's assessment.

"If I hear the president say one more time, 'I made a campaign promise to get out of Syria,' I'm going to throw up," Graham told Axios on Tuesday evening.

"He took an oath of office to protect the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. There's no bigger enemy to our nation than ISIS," the Republican senator said.