Should President Trump Have the Sole Power to Launch Nuclear Missiles?

US President Donald Trump in Washington

"Making the decision to go to war of any sort is a heavy responsibility for our nation's elected leaders", Senator Corker said.

That was the message Tuesday from an extraordinary, first-time-in-four-decades hearing convened by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker ― who last month said he anxious that Trump could "start World War III" and called the White House an "adult day care center". Corker, who has emerged as vocal critic of Trump's foreign policy, said he wanted to explore the "realities of this system" that allows the president to use nuclear weapons.

"If we are under attack from a nuclear state using nuclear weapons, that's a different question and the president would have the authority under Article II to respond", he said. Bob Corker, said members of the Senate from both parties had raised questions about the role of the executive and legislative branches in authorizing the use of nuclear weapons.

Mr Corker, the Tennessee senator who chairs the committee, last month engaged in a Twitter spat with Mr Trump, likening the White House to "an adult day care center".

Brian McKeon, a top Pentagon official under former President Barack Obama, acknowledged under questioning from committee members that an officer in the chain of command who refused to comply with a presidential order would face removal.

In August, Mr Trump vowed to unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on North Korea if it continued to expand its atomic weapons programme.

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He said the nuclear doctrines were worked out during the Cold War, when the president was given sole authority to order a nuclear strike. "That is frightening", Cardin said.

"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.

The hearing comes at a time of high tension between the United States and North Korea.

"Even if time is compressed, there are circumstances I can envision where I would have said the same thing, which is 'Wait, stop". And days after calling on Kim to enter peaceful negotiations, he spoke before South Korea's parliament and listed a litany of alleged human rights abuses against the North Korean leader, calling him a "deranged tyrant" presiding over a "cult".

Corker publicly questioned Trump's decision-making abilities last month when he expressed concern over the president's heated rhetoric that, in his view, undermined USA diplomatic efforts with foreign adversaries and put the country "on the path to World War III". "It's not the only tool in the toolkit to try to address something like that", Mattis said. In recent months, lawmakers have insisted the president seek Congress's approval before revoking any sanctions against Russian Federation, and momentum is building for a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) to address the military's current and future operations against the Islamic State and other extremist groups. "I think that we have to keep trust, keep faith in the system that we have that has proven effective now for decades".

"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.

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