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Friday Jan 08 2021

Nancy Pelosi urges military to keep Donald Trump from nuclear codes as impeachment looms

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to reporters a day after supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump occupied the Capitol, during a news conference in Washington, U.S., January 7, 2021
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement comes just before congressional Democrats began a conference call to discuss Trump's impeachment
  • The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, says Pelosi
  • Pelosi says she discussed the matter with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley 

WASHINGTON: House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she spoke to the United States' top general 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 US 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 speaker said she had discussed the matter with Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Read more: Who are the US Capitol Hill rioters?

While US 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 US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that any use of nuclear weapons is a highly deliberative process.

Read more: Calls for Donald Trump's impeachment grow in Washington after violence at Capitol Hill

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!!!”

Read more: US records deadliest day of coronavirus pandemic amid chaos at Capitol Hill

Trump also confirmed he would not attend Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, departing from a time-honored tradition that typically sees the outgoing president escorting his successor to Capitol Hill for the ceremony. The practice is seen as an important part of the peaceful transfer of power.