Senate committee considers Trump's authority to launch nuclear weapons

Professor Peter Feaver to testify in front of Senate committee regarding nuclear weapons

Senator Chris Murphy: We Are Concerned Trump 'Is So Unstable, Is So Volatile' He Might Order Nuclear Strike

"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 U.S. national security interests", Democrat Chris Murphy told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, did not criticize Trump during the two-hour session, and instead framed the issue as a review of Congress' war-making authority as prescribed in the Constitution.

"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 U.S. national security interests", Murphy explained. "If there is an illegal order presented to the military, the military is obligated to refuse to follow it". And by design, not the military officers who would be duty-bound to execute the order.

In such a situation, McKeon said, the president could replace the commander in question, or even the secretary of defense.

On Tuesday, former officials cautioned that adding Congress to the equation would hamper the USA response in a high-stress scenario without a lot of time.

And that, said Sen.

"I don't think that the assurances that I've received today will be satisfying to the American people", said Markey, a Democrat from MA.

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Some Democrats have introduced legislation to explicitly prevent the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war from Congress.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. quoted Trump's "fire and fury" comments and threats to "totally destroy" North Korea, saying many interpret the sharp rhetoric "to mean that the president is actively considering the use of nuclear weapons in order to deal with the threat of North Korea".

At an October 30 Senate Foreign Relations panel hearing, lawmakers pressed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about policies for using nuclear weapons. "It's basically one guy, who has a bad night and gets up and decides he wants to do something about it".

Trump's shifting posture on how to address nuclear threats has made lawmakers in both parties uneasy, particularly as the crisis over North Korea's ambitions escalates. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked the expert panel.

During Trump's 12-day trip to Asia, where Pyongyang's nuclear program was frequently discussed, Trump mocked the 33-year-old leader as "short and fat" and warned that misjudging American resolve as weakness would be "a fatal miscalculation". 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.

Senators trying to prevent President Trump from launching an unprovoked nuclear attack were stymied Tuesday, after a panel of experts warned them against rewriting laws to restrain a commander in chief many worry is impulsive and unpredictable enough to start a devastating worldwide crisis.

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