For first time in 40 years, Congress debates USA president's nuclear power

For first time in 40 years, Congress debates USA president's nuclear power

"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".

"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", Senator Chris Murphy said.

The Massachusetts Democrat continued to press the issue and urged support for legislation, which would bar any American president from launching a nuclear weapon without congressional approval, as the Senate Foreign Relations committee heard testimony on nuclear weapons authority. He will testify alongside General C. Robert Kehler, former commander of the United States Strategic Command, and Brian McKeon, former acting undersecretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Defense.

"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.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday on the president's authority to order a nuclear strike against another country.

Mr Kehler said if he were uncertain about its legality, he would consult with his own advisers.

One senator, Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, asked: "Then what happens?"

"I don't know", Kehler replied, to nervous laughter in the committee chambers.

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No Trump administration officials are testifying before the hearing, which is examining the nuclear command and control structure that has served all USA presidents.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from CT, said Tuesday that he believes President Trump is so unstable he may launch an ill-advised nuclear strike. The Tennessee Republican, who said he won't seek re-election next year, has had a public feud with Trump, calling the White House an "adult day-care center" and saying the US secretaries of state and defense are "the people that help separate our country from chaos".

Corker said a number of lawmakers have raised questions about the process and deployment of the US nuclear arsenal.

Ultimately, the panel warned against legislative changes to rein in the President's authority to exercise nuclear authority.

The Democrats have already drafted a bill that calls for the president to obtain a declaration of war from Congress before he or she can first launch a nuclear strike. The measures, though, have not advanced in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Can Trump launch a nuclear attack? Under current rules, a president could launch a nuclear strike by entering codes into a device known as "the football" - a briefcase that always travels with the president - and is not obligated to consult other government officials.

This is because an enemy ballistic missile launched from the other side of the world could hit the U.S. in barely 30 minutes. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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