House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with the United States’ top military commander on Friday about taking precautionary measures to ensure that President Donald Trump cannot launch hostilities or order a nuclear strike during his remaining days in office.
Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic lawmakers that she spoke with Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about the measures available to curb Trump.
“The situation for this unharmed president could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced attacks on our country and our democracy,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues.
The president later said in a conference call with the House Democrats that Milley assured her that there were steps in place that would prevent Trump from firing nuclear weapons, according to a source familiar with the conversation.
The move came two days after rebels owned by Trump’s false allegations of electoral fraud stormed the US capital amid chaotic scenes that shocked the world and triggered demands for the president to be fired.
While Pelosi’s letter highlights concerns among lawmakers about what Trump could try to do during his remaining tenure, there are questions about what Milley or someone could actually do to prevent a president from using nuclear weapons.
“There is no legal way to do this. The president has the sole, unlimited power to order the use of nuclear weapons without a ‘second vote’ required,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. .
However, a US official who spoke anonymously told Reuters that all use of nuclear weapons is a very deliberate process.
Milley’s office said Pelosi had initiated the conversation and Milley “answered her questions regarding the nuclear power process”, without elaborating further.
Democrat-elect President Joe Biden will take office on January 20. Trump said earlier on Friday that he would not attend the inauguration, which violates a long tradition in US presidential transitions.
Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, also said she had not heard from Vice President Mike Pence whether he would agree to the top Democrats’ request that he invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office “for his call for insurgency. and danger he still poses. “
She said that “we still hope to hear from him as soon as possible with a positive response”.
Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, have said that if Pence does not accept the request, Democrats were prepared to accuse Trump for the second time.
Articles on the indictment are expected to be introduced on Monday, with a vote in the House as soon as Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the planning and granted anonymity to discuss it.
( Jowharwith REUTERS, AP)