On CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said it was “very difficult” and “impossible” to say “mission accomplished” in Syria because “we won't know until we see whether the regime continues to use chemical weapons.”
King also said he was not aware whether the administration had presented “definitive evidence” that Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, had used chemical weapons in Douma.
Following the Friday airstrikes in Syria, President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday morning, "A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!” (https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/cnsnewscom-staff/trump-mission-accomplished)
“I think it is very difficult to say mission accomplished if the mission is to deter the use of chemical weapons,” King said. “We hope that will be the case. But we did a strike a year ago for that same purpose, and it was deemed a success, but the chemical weapons have continued to be used.”
“So, I think it is impossible to say at this point that the mission has been accomplished,” he added. “They had -- it was a more significant strike than a year ago. They hit three sites, instead of one, more missiles. It was accomplished apparently with the precision that our military is capable of. But saying that it has been a success, we won't know until we see whether the regime continues to use chemical weapons.”
King said the Trump administration notified congressional leaders on Friday, but was “unaware” that they presented “definitive evidence” of the use of chemical weapons.
“They did notify the leadership of the Congress on Friday before the strike, but I'm unaware that they presented definitive evidence of what the use of the chemical weapons was,” King said.
“We got updated briefings over the weekend from the Defense Department about the strike,” he said. “And they indicated they had confidence that their -- the chemical weapons had been used, but they didn't supply the evidence.”
“Now, there are going to be some classified briefings this week,” said King. “I'm sure we will have more information. But, certainly, they believe that they had the evidence that these chemical weapons had been used.”