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Senate committee questions Trump's nuclear authority

Some senators want legislation to alter the president's nuclear authority

Patricia Zengerle | Reuters 

Senate committee questions Trump's nuclear authority

A US committee on Tuesday held the first congressional hearing in more than four decades on the president’s authority to launch a strike, amid concern that tensions over North Korea’s weapons program could lead to war.

Senator Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, held the hearing as President Donald wrapped up a 12-day trip to Asia largely dominated by concerns about Pyongyang’s ambitions.

Corker acknowledged that senators, including and Trump’s fellow Republicans, have raised questions about Trump’s authority to wage war, use weapons and enter into or end agreements.

has traded insults and threats with North Korean Leader and used expressions like “fire and fury” to hint that any use of lethal force against North Korea would be overwhelming. On Sunday, he again insulted Kim by calling him “short and fat.”

Corker himself warned last month that might be putting the United States “on the path to World War Three.”

But on Tuesday Corker said the hearing was not intended to target “This is not specific to anybody,” he said.

made clear they were concerned about

“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 weapons strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests,” Senator Chris Murphy said.

During the hearing, retired General Robert Kehler, former commander of US Strategic Command, said the military can refuse to follow what it considers an illegal order, even a one. But it was not clear after questions from committee members how that process would work.

Some senators want legislation to alter the president’s authority. Corker said he did not now support that idea.

“I do not see a legislative solution today, but that doesn’t mean that over the course of the next several months one might develop,” he told reporters after the hearing.

Some senators seemed to bristle about the hearing’s tone, warning against comments depicting as unable to strongly retaliate for any attack.

“Every single word that has been uttered this morning at this hearing is going to be analyzed in Pyongyang,” said Republican Senator Jim Risch, who is in line to become chairman after Corker retires next year.

First Published: Thu, November 16 2017. 02:20 IST
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