There's No Legal Way To Stop Trump From Launching Nuclear Weapons

US President Donald Trump in Washington

US President Donald Trump in Washington

"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 explained.

The hearing is being closely watched, not only due to the grave nature of the topic, but also because of Mr Trump's vocal critics on the panel - some of whom come from the Republican president's own party, the BBC reports.

"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", said Sen.

When the military wakes the president, there is a significant possibility of an imminent strike and the president must quickly decide whether or not to deploy a nuclear counterstrike.

"I do not see a legislative solution today", Corker told reporters.

"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.

"But you'd have a real constitutional crisis on your hands", McKeon said.

The witnesses described teams of legal advisors working for the Commander of Strategic Command General John Hyten and in the office of the Secretary of Defense James Mattis who would advise the chain of command on the legality of a hypothetical order to use nuclear weapons.

President Trump, who wrapped up a 13-day trip to Asia, previously called Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions a global threat and once warned Kim Jong Un that if North Korea threatened the U.S., America has "military solutions" "locked and loaded".

For the first time in more than 40 years the Senate examined Tuesday the American president's authority to launch a nuclear strike on a foreign enemy.

Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, said he's been receiving "more and more questions" during town hall meetings with constituents about whether the president can order a nuclear attack without any controls. 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.

Just a few days after Trump's inauguration, Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu introduced a bill to prohibit the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war from Congress.

The committee's Democrats also expressed concerns about whether the military could refuse to obey an order to launch nuclear weapons.

Republican Senators said second approval may get in the way of taking down a nuclear missile sent from an enemy state, noting that in the Cold War it could take only 30 minutes for a missile from Russian Federation to reach the U.S.

On Monday, Mattis was directly asked about the hearing and its implications.

"I'm the president's principal adviser on the use of force", he said. "I think that we have to keep trust, keep faith in the system that we have that has proven effective now for decades".

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