House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats in a letter on Friday that she spoke with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to discuss President Donald Trump and the nuclear codes, as Democrats call for the President to be removed from office after a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
“This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi wrote in a letter. “The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy.”
After speaking with Milley Friday, Pelosi told her caucus that she has gotten assurances there are safeguards in place in the event Trump wants to launch a nuclear weapon, according to multiple sources on a caucus call.
“Speaker Pelosi initiated a call with the Chairman. He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority,” Colonel Dave Butler said in a statement.
The announcement from Pelosi comes one day after the House speaker called on Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment and warned that if that does not happen, Congress may pursue impeachment.
Since that time, calls from Democrats for the President to be impeached following the insurrection at the Capitol have only grown louder and it is possible the Democrat-led House could move toward a vote to impeach Trump for a second time as early as next week.
Pelosi’s letter is once again raising questions about what it takes to actually launch a nuclear weapon and whether military commanders can refuse an order from Trump.
Only the President of the United States has the authority to order the deployment of nuclear weapons.
But contrary to popular belief, the “nuclear football,” which always accompanies a President does not contain a button. Instead has the equipment and the decision-making papers that Trump would use to authenticate his orders and launch a strike.
The decision to launch a strike requires the President to work with military aides possessing the materials he needs to order an attack, as well as personnel at all levels, from top commanders all the way down to service members working in the missile silos.