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For first time in 40 years, Congress debates U.S. president's nuclear power

For first time in 40 years, Congress debates U.S. president's nuclear power

"We are concerned that the president 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 said.

"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 weapon strike that is wildly out of step with USA national security interests", he added.

Another senator on the panel has drafted legislation proposing to curb the president's power to launch a nuclear attack.

"The military does not blindly follow orders", he told the committee.

"This continues a series of hearings to examine these issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using USA nuclear weapons", Corker, who is from Tennessee, said in his statement. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during a hearing Tuesday. Corker said the hearing was "not specific to anyone".

Kim, no stranger to verbal jousting, branded Trump a "dotard".

"Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old", when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?"

The escalating war of words has alarmed USA lawmakers. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said at the hearing Tuesday.

"If we were to change the decision-making process because of a distrust of this president, that would be an unfortunate decision for the next president", said Brian McKeon, who served as acting undersecretary for policy at the Defense Department during the Obama administration.

"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".




The three experts agreed there was no strict definition of "imminent", suggesting that a missile on a North Korean launchpad might qualify but that other scenarios might be less clear.

Kehler said the military could refuse to strike if the order were illegal. If the answer is no, the order would have to be considered illegal, he said.

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

Even so, he conceded that determining an order was illegal "would be a very hard process and a very hard conversation".

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

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.

The time may be ripe for Congress to look at the command and control system now used to determine whether or not to launch a nuclear weapon, Duke political science professor and former National Security Adviser Peter Feaver testified Tuesday.

The discomfort among some Republican senators was visible.

"Our adversaries are watching", he said.

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


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