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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with the nation’s top military general in an attempt to prevent President Trump from initiating military missions or accessing nuclear codes, calling the president “unhinged” in a statement released early Friday.
“This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi said in her statement to colleagues. “The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy.”
The move comes in the wake of the demonstration that turned violent on Capitol Hill Wednesday, after protesters forced their way through barriers and past law enforcement to breach the government offices in the Capitol building.
According to United States law, the president has the sole authority to authorize the use of U.S. nuclear weapons.
“This authority is inherent in his constitutional role as Commander in Chief. The President can seek counsel from his military advisors; those advisors are then required to transmit and implement the orders authorizing nuclear use. But, as General John Hyten, then the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), noted during his September 2016 confirmation hearing, his job is to give advice, while the authority to order a launch lies with the President,” a report from the Congressional Research Service stated.
Ankit Panda, the Stanton Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said there is not legal way for Pelosi to prevent the president from issuing military orders.
“Short of removing Trump from office, there is no legal remedy that either CJCS or the Speaker of the House can take to prevent the president from issuing a valid and legal order to use nuclear weapons,” Panda tweeted.
President Donald Trump released a statement Thursday night condemning the “heinous attack” on the United States Capitol where protesters turned violent.
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem,” President Trump said in a recorded video message from the White House. “I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is and must always be a nation of law and order.”
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump continued. “To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction: you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”
Also in the statement to her colleagues was another call for the immediate removal of President Trump.
“As you know, there is growing momentum around the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses,” Pelosi stated. “Yesterday, Leader Schumer and I placed a call with Vice President Pence, and we still hope to hear from him as soon as possible with a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people.”
Pelosi went on to compare President Trump to former-President Nixon, referring to him as a “rogue President.”
“Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office – immediately. If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action,” the speaker said.