Ex-CIA lawyer: The Soleimani hit was a homicide under U.S. criminal law

Unchastened by impeachment, and emboldened by the Justice Department’s dusty old opinion that he cannot be indicted while in office, Trump nonetheless ordered the killing of Soleimani, a senior Iranian official, in Iraq, in violation of Section 1116. The Department of Justice has jurisdiction to prosecute a violation of that statute.

This killing cannot be justified under either the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force or the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. They are not blank checks cashed in whenever and wherever the president so desires. The 2001 AUMF applied to those responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The 2002 AUMF applied to the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. Trump’s drone attack was against an Iranian official who had nothing to do with 9/11 nor with the dead Iraqi leader’s regime.

Though he now sings a different tune, Defense Secretary Mark Esper stated before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearings that neither AUMF would allow military action against Iran.