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Nancy Pelosi urged Pentagon on safeguards against Donald Trump launching nuclear war

Pelosi Pressed Pentagon on Safeguards to Prevent Trump From Ordering Military Action
But short of the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment or impeaching and convicting the president, it would be unconstitutional to defy legal orders from the commander in chief, experts note.
NYT,  By David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, Jan. 8, 2021

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California on Friday took the unprecedented step of asking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about “available precautions” to prevent President Trump from initiating military action abroad or using his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons in the last days of his term.

In a phone call to the chairman, Gen. Mark A. Milley, Ms. Pelosi appeared to be seeking to have the Pentagon leadership essentially remove Mr. Trump from his authorities as the commander in chief. That could be accomplished by ignoring the president’s orders or slowing them by questioning whether they were issued legally.

But General Milley appears to have made no commitments. Short of the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment or removing Mr. Trump through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, it is unconstitutional to defy legal orders from the commander in chief.

Ms. Pelosi’s request, which she announced to the Democratic caucus as an effort to prevent “an unhinged president” from using the nuclear codes, was wrapped in the politics of seeking a second impeachment of Mr. Trump.

Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for General Milley, confirmed that the phone call with the speaker had taken place but described it as informational. “He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority,” he said.  …….

This was not the first time the issue has come up in American history, or in regard to Mr. Trump.

In the last days of Richard M. Nixon’s presidency, the defense secretary, James R. Schlesinger, quietly issued a set of orders that if Mr. Nixon sought to move or use nuclear weapons, commanders should route the request to him or Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. Mr. Schlesinger, describing his actions only after Mr. Nixon left office, said he was concerned that the president was drinking, or that he might lash out.

Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, said Mr. Schlesinger had told him a number of years ago that “he was worried about Mr. Nixon’s physical and emotional state and wanted to make sure there was no danger the nuclear arsenal would be abused.”……

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton also raised the issue of Mr. Trump’s suitability to command the nuclear arsenal. “Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” she said in her address at the Democratic National Convention. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

……….legally the military cannot deny the president access to the codes unless the 25th Amendment has been activated……..


January 11, 2021 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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