Trump's authority to launch nuclear strike questioned by US Senate committee

Trump's authority to launch nuclear strike questioned by US Senate committee

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, continued to push for instituting limits on the White House's authority to launch a nuclear first strike Tuesday, contending that Congress - not the president - should have the constitutional power to declare nuclear war.

Democrats made clear they were concerned about Trump.

"Many interpret that to mean that the president is actively considering the use of nuclear weapons in order to deal with the threat of North Korea".

"This continues a series of hearings to examine these issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using USA nuclear weapons", Corker, who is from Tennessee, said in his statement. He said those comments are fueled by Trump's statements about North Korea, including his remark in August that the USA could respond to Pyongyang with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

"We are concerned that the President of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapon strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests", Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy said.

"While it's true that military personnel have an obligation to disobey illegal or immoral orders, how will the "operators" at the bottom of the chain of command - the young men and women tasked with flying our nuclear bombers and launching our deadly land- and sea-based ballistic missiles - determine a president's order to use those weapons is unjustifiable, especially when they are expected to execute those orders in just a few minutes and train constantly to do so?" he said. The basic legal principles of proportionality and necessity apply to the use of nuclear weapons, he said, and "if the order was considered to be illegal, the military is obligated to refuse to follow it".

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., still likened the process to simple technology. Mattis was asked whether the president could launch a first strike with nuclear weapons, without consulting Congress, against another nuclear-armed country preparing to attack the U.S.

Only three other Democrats have co-sponsored it. In recent months, lawmakers have insisted the president seek Congress's approval before revoking any sanctions against Russian Federation, and momentum is building for a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) to address the military's current and future operations against the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Corker has since been working with Sens. "That is frightening. And as the chairman pointed out, based on my understanding of the nuclear command and control protocols, there are no checks - no checks - on the president's authority". It does not have bipartisan support, however, and is unlikely to pass.

"Every single word that has been uttered this morning at this hearing is going to be analyzed in Pyongyang", said Republican Senator Jim Risch, who is in line to become chairman after Corker retires next year.

Democrats argued Trump is already confusing North Korea about the United States' intentions through his tweets.

"I would be very concerned about a miscalculation based on continuing use of his Twitter account", McKeon answered.

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