Sen. Murphy: Trump So 'Unstable' He May Order Nuclear Strike

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A decades-old presidential authority to use nuclear weapons is suddenly coming into question as USA allies and some lawmakers from both parties want the Trump administration to assure them that President Donald Trump can not rashly launch a nuclear strike, according to multiple sources.

"We are concerned that the President of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, and 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 security interests", he said. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from CT.

"Let's just recognise the exceptional nature of this moment". The military would treat Trump as they would any other president ordering a nuclear strike.

Markey, from MA, started his time by saying that nuclear weapons are "for deterrence not war fighting", and that "absent a nuclear attack upon the United States or our allies, no one human being should have the power to unilaterally unleash the most destructive forces ever devised by human kind". "That is true of nuclear orders as well..." If the answer is no, the order would have to be considered illegal, he said.

What would happen next also remained unclear.

"Then what happens?" asked Sen.

Mr Kehler admitted: "I don't know".

The exceedingly rare hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came after Trump threatened North Korea with military force, including his declaration that Pyongyang would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

"We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea" if the U.S. is forced to defend itself, he said in a speech to the United Nations in September.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during the hearing was needed for Congress to explore "the realities of this system".

Marco Rubio, who ran against Trump in the Republican presidential primary a year ago, was among lawmakers who were quick to point out that the hearing should not be taken as a reduced USA nuclear posture.

And that, said Sen.

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"I don't think that the assurances that I've received today will be satisfying to the American people", Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey said.

Trump's aides can't control the president's "Twitter tantrums", the Democrat said in prepared remarks. "Unfortunately, I can not make that assurance today".

The administration is trying to soothe concerns by arguing the existing launch process that presidents have operated under for decades has sufficient checks in place that would discourage Trump from taking imprudent action.

Some of the witnesses agreed.

Other senators also focused on Trump's use of Twitter, especially his ongoing tweeted attacks at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump himself has had multiple briefings on the nuclear launch cycle and more conventional, non-nuclear alternatives. Feaver, who has served under two presidential administrations, was formerly on the National Security Council for President George Bush.

"It wouldn't be the president alone persuading a single military officer alone on the other side of the telephone", he said.

The committee heard testimony from Robert Kehler, former commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, who said in his role he would have carried out a presidential order to use nuclear weapons.

On Tuesday, former officials cautioned that adding Congress to the equation would hamper the United States response in a high-stress scenario without a lot of time.

"If we saw they were preparing to do so and it was imminent, I could imagine it", Mattis said.

Opening the hearing, Corker - who has recently been engaged in bitter exchanges with Trump over his fitness for office - noted that "the president has the sole authority to give that order, whether we are responding to a nuclear attack or not". Gerald Ford was president.

"It should be the congressional prerogative to declare nuclear war", added Markey, who has written a bill to ban the president from being able to launch a first nuclear strike against North Korea without the authorization of Congress.

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