Sunday, March 26, 2023

Pelosi pushes for impeachment with Democrats increasingly concerned about Trump’s access to nuclear codes

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday she spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to prevent a “deranged” President Donald Trump from ordering military actions, including a possible strike nuclear in its final days and hours at the White House.

Pelosi said in a statement to her colleagues that she had met with General Mark Milley “to discuss the precautions available to prevent an unstable president from launching military hostilities or accessing launch codes” for nuclear war . She said Milley made sure her footsteps were in place.

The President has the exclusive power of the US government to order the launch of a nuclear weapon. But a military commander can refuse the order if it is deemed illegal.

Pelosi said the situation of “this deranged president could not be more dangerous.”

Pelosi was meeting with the Democratic House caucus on Friday to consider impeachment proceedings against the president as early as next week after a deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob that shocked the nation and the world.

Pelosi told Democrats the senior military official assured his measures were in place to prevent a nuclear launch from Trump.

Major lawmakers are sounding the alarm that even if Trump is due to step down on January 20 when Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in, he could do big damage by stepping out. And if Trump were to be impeached by the House and sentenced by the Senate, he would be barred from running for president again in 2024 or resuming public office. Trump would only be the twice impeached president.

A conviction in the Republican Senate at this late date seems unlikely. But it’s a measure of his uncomfortable stance that there has been a noticeable lack of GOP statements attacking Democrats’ calls for his impeachment.

The final days of Trump’s presidency turn to a chaotic end as he finds himself in the White House, abandoned by many aides, prominent Republicans and Cabinet members. He tweeted again after his Twitter The account has been restored, reverting to an aggressive statement that his supporters should not be “disrespected” after posting a calmer video on Thursday denouncing the violence.

There are growing calls for legal action in the wake of the Capitol Attack, in which a protester was shot dead by Capitol Police and Capitol Policeman Brian Sicknick died. Three other people died from “medical emergencies” during the protest.

Strong criticism from Trump, who urged protesters to march to Capitol Hill, has continued unabated.

“Every day that he remains in office he represents a danger to the Republic,” said Representative Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Schiff, who led Trump’s impeachment in 2019, said in a statement that Trump “lit the fuse that exploded on Capitol Hill Wednesday.”

Articles of impeachment are expected to be introduced on Monday, with a House vote as early as Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the planning and on condition of anonymity to discuss it.

Pelosi and Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to force Trump out of office. It’s a process of removing the president and installing the vice president to take over.

But action by Pence or the Cabinet now seems unlikely, especially after two senior officials, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, suddenly resigned following the violence on Capitol Hill and would no longer be to Cabinet to make such a case. .

Trump had encouraged loyalists at a White House rally Wednesday to march on Capitol Hill where Congress was certifying the constituency count of Biden’s election.

Pelosi discussed the prospect of impeachment with his management team on Thursday evening, hours after announcing the House was prepared to act if Pence and other administration officials did not invoke Article 4 of the 25th amendment – Trump’s forced removal from power by his own cabinet.

Rep. James Clyburn, the No.3 House Democrat, told CNN: “Everyone knows this president is deranged. One of Trump’s main Republican critics, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, has said he will “definitely consider” impeachment.

Schumer said he and Pelosi attempted to call Pence early Thursday to discuss the 25th Amendment option, but were unable to contact him.

Most Democrats, and many Republicans, blame Trump squarely after swarms of protesters wearing Trump’s flags and clothes burst onto Capitol Hill and caused destruction and evacuations.

Three Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee began circulating articles of impeachment on Thursday. Representatives David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Ted Lieu of California wrote in articles that Trump “has voluntarily made statements that have encouraged – and presumably resulted – in looming lawless action on Capitol Hill.

The House impeached Trump in 2019, but the Republican-led Senate acquitted him in early 2020.

Pelosi said “a threshold has been crossed of such magnitude” that Trump should not be allowed to make decisions.

At a new conference Thursday, she called out to several Cabinet members by name, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“Do they support these actions?” Pelosi asked. “Are they prepared to say that for the next 13 days this dangerous man can harm our country even more?”

Pence has not publicly addressed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment.

Associated Press editors Alan Fram and Alexandra Jaffe contributed to this report.

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