A retired Air Force general told the Senate on Tuesday that an order from President Donald Trump or any of his successors to launch nuclear weapons can be refused by the top officer at U.S. Strategic Command if that order is determined to be illegal.
According to the Post, the Pentagon letter also stated that a full discussion of U.S. capabilities to "counter North Korea's ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and to eliminate North Korea's nuclear weapons, located in deeply buried, underground facilities" is best suited for a classified briefing.
"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 strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests", said Sen.
The potential that Trump could use existing law to authorize the deployment of a nuclear weapon on his own is becoming the subject of frequent conversation - and bipartisan anxiety - on Capitol Hill.
"This is not a hypothetical question", Mr Cardin said, noting that a nuclear first strike on North Korea could be an alternative to a conventional military campaign that would produce mass casualties in Japan and South Korea.
Corker said after the hearing that he expects Congress to continue to review questions about the president's authority "because it is a sobering issue".
"As ISIS loses ground in the battlefield, we must remain vigilant about the threat posed by returning foreign fighters and terrorist operatives - within our borders, and seeking to cross our borders", he told the world leaders. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said at the hearing Tuesday.
"I would have said: I'm not ready to proceed", Kehler said. "That's a very thin reed on which to have the fate of the planet being dependent". "It's going to be a very robust period of time". When asked what would happen after that, he admitted he wasn't sure.
But even Corker has questioned Trump's 'stability' and 'competence' in the past. "There are no checks on the president's authority". The basic legal principles of military necessity, distinction and proportionally apply to nuclear weapons'. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTax Foundation: Senate reform bill would cost 6B GOP senators raise concerns over tax plan Dem House candidate apologizes for saying it 'shouldn't take brain cancer' for McCain to show courage MORE (R-Tenn.), has been seen as rebuke of President Trump, given Corker's fierce criticism of the president in recent weeks. "I think they can still realize that Donald Trump can launch nuclear codes just as easily as he can use his Twitter account, without the checks and balances of the United States Congress". "Unfortunately, I cannot make that assurance today".
"The military does not blindly follow orders", Kehler said.
At an Oct. 30 Senate Foreign Relations panel hearing, lawmakers pressed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about policies for using nuclear weapons.
"If there is an illegal order presented to the military, the military is obligated to refuse to follow it", Kehler said in response to Sen. Is the president waking up the military demanding a strike, or is the military waking up the president asking for action.
"Every member of the US military has sworn an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as commander and chief appointed over us", Swift warned.
In other words, that's all the Pentagon is going to say in public.
At the same time in terms of negotiations to avoid war, Trump offered the North Koreans not the slightest enticement to enter into talks, by firmly restating the U.S. demand for "the complete, verifiable and permanent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".