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Pelosi seeks to curb Trump's nuclear power, plans to impeach

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) and President Donald Trump (right). AP images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has spoken to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about preventing President Donald Trump from ordering a nuclear strike in his final days in office.

Posted: Jan 8, 2021 12:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she has spoken to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about preventing an “unhinged” President Donald Trump from ordering military actions including a possible nuclear strike in his final days and hours at the White House.

Pelosi said in a statement to colleagues that she spoke with Gen. Mark Milley “to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes" for nuclear war. She said Milley assured her steps are in place.

The president has sole authority in the U.S. government to order the launch of a nuclear weapon. But a military commander could refuse the order if it were determined to be illegal.

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

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

Pelosi told Democrats that the top military official assured her steps are in place to prevent a Trump nuclear launch.

Top lawmakers are sounding alarms that even though Trump is to leave office Jan. 20 when Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in, he could do great damage on his way out. And if Trump were to be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, he would be prevented from running again for the presidency in 2024 or ever holding public office again. Trump would be only the president twice impeached.

Conviction in the Republican Senate at this late date would seem unlikely. But it's a measure of his uncomfortable position that there has been a noteworthy lack of GOP statements attacking Democrats’ calls for his removal.

The final days of Trump’s presidency are spinning toward a chaotic end as he holes up at the White House, abandoned by many aides, leading Republicans and Cabinet members. He was tweeting again after his Twitter account was reinstated, reverting to an aggressive statement that his supporters must not be “disrespected" after he sent out a calmer Thursday video decrying the violence.

Calls are mounting for legal action following the Capitol attack, in which one protester was shot to death by Capitol police and Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick died. Three other people died from “medical emergencies” during the demonstration.

Strong criticism of Trump, who urged the protesters to march to the Capitol, continued unabated.

"Every day that he remains in office, he is a danger to the Republic,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

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

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

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

But action by Pence or the Cabinet now appears unlikely, especially after two top officials, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao suddenly resigned in the aftermath of the violence at the Capitol and would no longer be in the Cabinet to make such a case.

Trump had encouraged loyalists at a rally Wednesday at the White House to march on the Capitol where Congress was certifying the Electoral College tally of Biden's election.

Pelosi discussed the prospect of impeachment with her leadership team Thursday night, hours after announcing the House was willing to act if Pence and other administration officials did not invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment — the forceful removal of Trump from power by his own Cabinet.

Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat told CNN: “Everyone knows that this president is deranged.” One leading Republican critic of Trump, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, said he will “definitely consider” impeachment.

Schumer said he and Pelosi tried to call Pence early Thursday to discuss the 25th Amendment option but were unable to connect with him.

Most Democrats, and many Republicans, put the blame squarely on Trump after swarms of protesters bearing Trump flags and clothing broke into the Capitol and caused destruction and evacuations.

Three Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee began Thursday to circulate articles of impeachment. Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Ted Lieu of California wrote in the articles that Trump “willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.”

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

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

During a new conference Thursday, she challenged several Cabinet members by name, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“Do they stand by these actions?” Pelosi asked. “Are they ready to say that for the next 13 days this dangerous man can do further harm to our country?”

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

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 763915

Reported Deaths: 8581
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1526881914
Ramsey63091977
Dakota56699523
Anoka53591515
Washington33431329
Stearns28298252
St. Louis23444355
Scott21503159
Wright21099171
Olmsted18023118
Sherburne15420114
Carver1353254
Clay1016098
Rice9936131
Blue Earth960759
Crow Wing9396107
Kandiyohi830996
Chisago828062
Otter Tail7941104
Benton7454109
Beltrami645978
Mower642240
Douglas624689
Goodhue614784
Itasca608981
Winona608254
McLeod589270
Steele580825
Isanti565474
Morrison553566
Becker524662
Polk506377
Freeborn485242
Nobles480052
Lyon451456
Carlton443866
Nicollet431351
Pine424630
Cass420742
Mille Lacs411265
Brown405347
Todd397336
Le Sueur381831
Meeker354552
Waseca326130
Martin322834
Wabasha29095
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Roseau261026
Fillmore241012
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Houston230017
Renville226449
Faribault218530
Pennington215027
Sibley207312
Cottonwood195228
Kanabec190230
Chippewa189740
Aitkin181542
Watonwan170311
Pope15888
Yellow Medicine154720
Rock154519
Jackson145614
Koochiching137919
Clearwater135518
Swift134219
Marshall133419
Murray133210
Pipestone132327
Stevens124211
Lake108121
Wilkin101314
Lac qui Parle97524
Mahnomen87712
Norman8579
Big Stone7934
Grant7759
Lincoln7695
Kittson60322
Red Lake5869
Unassigned541124
Traverse5075
Lake of the Woods4614
Cook2460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 467281

Reported Deaths: 6685
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk73698716
Linn28680379
Scott24441271
Black Hawk20130355
Woodbury18854242
Johnson17800100
Dubuque15577228
Pottawattamie14073197
Dallas13894107
Story1275148
Warren763496
Webster6876111
Cerro Gordo6816107
Clinton6814100
Des Moines657893
Marshall635484
Muscatine6294113
Wapello5807136
Jasper571478
Lee560787
Sioux560276
Marion499791
Buena Vista489745
Plymouth459187
Henry378647
Jones365160
Washington362255
Bremer353867
Benton352056
Boone344837
Carroll341753
Crawford337345
Mahaska313656
Dickinson297651
Clay274631
Buchanan274239
Jackson270445
Kossuth269373
Hardin266448
Tama261476
Fayette253848
Delaware253444
Cedar246326
Page244827
Wright240945
Winneshiek230837
Hamilton228553
Floyd216744
Harrison215277
Madison214325
Clayton210058
Poweshiek206840
Iowa204229
Butler203237
Jefferson197340
Mills197227
Allamakee192952
Cherokee191943
Lyon190641
Cass190557
Winnebago185432
Hancock184739
Calhoun184115
Appanoose175950
Shelby174239
Louisa169651
Grundy167937
Emmet163842
Franklin163328
Humboldt161826
Mitchell161843
Union159437
Chickasaw156418
Sac156323
Guthrie154034
Palo Alto140831
Clarke140028
Montgomery138941
Keokuk137534
Monroe131534
Howard125422
Ida116641
Davis113825
Greene113712
Lucas112224
Pocahontas109323
Monona107436
Worth10678
Adair103634
Osceola91117
Fremont83711
Van Buren82721
Decatur81212
Taylor78612
Wayne72024
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Audubon64514
Adams4984
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