The leading Democrat in the U.S. Congress, Nancy Pelosi, said she spoke to the nation’s top general on Friday about taking precautions to prevent an “unhinged” President Donald Trump from accessing nuclear launch codes in the final days of his term.
Pelosi’s statement came just before congressional Democrats began a conference call to discuss whether to impeach Trump for an unprecedented second time, two days after his supporters – inflamed by his false claims of election fraud – stormed the U.S. Capitol, smashing windows, sending lawmakers into hiding and leaving five dead.
“The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous,” Pelosi said. The House of Representatives speaker said she had discussed the matter with Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
While U.S. presidents have access to the codes needed to fire nuclear weapons 24 hours a day, no top military or national security official has expressed any concern publicly about Trump’s mental state with regard to nuclear weapons.
Milley’s office said that Pelosi had initiated the call and that the general “answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority.”
A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that any use of nuclear weapons is a highly deliberative process.
In opening the conference call, Pelosi called Trump “an insurrectionist” and said the members were there to discuss “how we go forward,” according to a source on the call.
A day after an uncharacteristically subdued Trump promised in a video to ensure a smooth transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, he returned to a more pugilistic tone.
On Twitter, he praised his supporters and said, “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
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