September 1, 2013

Kerry: US has evidence sarin gas was used in Syria

The Associated Press

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Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington. Kerry said in a series of interviews on news shows on Sunday that the United States now has evidence of sarin gas use in Syria through samples of hair and blood provided to Washington by first responders in Damascus.

The Associated Press

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"In the last 24 hours," he said, "we have learned through samples that were provided to the United States, that have now been tested, from first responders in east Damascus, and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin."

He was asked repeatedly what Obama would do in the event that Congress refuses to give its consent, Kerry said, "The president has taken his decision."

"I think this is a smart decision by the president. ... He is not trying to create an imperial presidency," Kerry added. "I believe that in the end, Congress will do what is right."

Administration officials have said that Obama appeared set on ordering a strike until Friday evening. After a long walk in near 90-degree temperatures around the White House grounds with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the president told his aide he had changed his mind.

These officials said Saturday that Obama initially drew pushback in a two-hour session attended by Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Klapper, CIA Director John Brennan, national security adviser Susan Rice and homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco. They declined to say which of the participants had argued against Obama's proposal.

Kerry appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press," CNN's "State of the Union," CBS' "Face the Nation," ''Fox News Sunday" and ABC's "This Week." Paul was on NBC, Rogers was on CNN and King was on Fox.

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