Trump's power to launch nuclear strike under scrutiny

Trump's power to launch nuclear strike under scrutiny

"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 weapons strike that is wildly out of the step with U.S. national security interests", Murphy said.

Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said it's time to review the president's authority to launch a nuclear strike.

Corker publicly questioned Trump's decision-making abilities last month when he expressed concern over the president's heated rhetoric that, in his view, undermined USA diplomatic efforts with foreign adversaries and put the country "on the path to World War III".

"And the decision to use nuclear weapons is the most consequential of all".

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"I don't know", Kehler replied, to nervous laughter in the committee chambers. The order from the president would unleash the world's most powerful nuclear arsenal either through a fleet of strategic bombers or missile-launching submarines or land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"I would be very anxious about a miscalculation based on continued use of his Twitter account with regard to North Korea", Brian McKeon, a former acting undersecretary of policy at the Pentagon, testified. Feaver, who has served under two presidential administrations, was formerly on the National Security Council for President George Bush.

"It wouldn't be the president alone persuading a single military officer alone on the other side of the telephone", he said.

For the first time in more than 40 years Tuesday, federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill held a hearing to question the sole authority of a United States president to order a nuclear strike.

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Kehler acknowledged, however, should the military reject a nuclear strike order that would result in a "very hard conversation".

"Even Gen. Kelly, the president's chief of staff, can't control the president's Twitter tantrums", Markey said.

Adding the extra layer would lead to "conflicting signals" that "can result in loss of confidence, confusion or paralysis in the operating forces at a critical moment", Kehler said.

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. Gerald Ford was president.

Under the USA constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war, but the president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has the authority to respond to an actual or imminent threat.

"I think if we were to change the decision-making process in some way to - because of a distrust of this president, I think that would be an unfortunate precedent", testified Brian McKeon, a former undersecretary of defense under Barack Obama.

As former Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Hayden put it, the current system "is designed for speed and decisiveness, it's not created to debate the decision".

"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 weapons strike that is wildly out of step with USA national security interests", Murphy said. Indeed, a military aide shadows the commander in chief day and night, carrying the black briefcase commonly referred to as the "nuclear football", packed with attack options and other information needed in a national emergency. Much of the Senate committee hearing was taken up by discussion of what constituted an imminent threat and who could make that determination. Asked whether he was comfortable with the system in its current form, he curtly answered "Yes, I am". Tuesday, he said Congress needs to examine "the realities of the system".

"One of the things that voters think about" in U.S. presidential elections, Rubio said, "is whether or not they want to trust him with this capability".

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