AP Debrief: Pelosi aims to curb Trump’s power
AP Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace explains House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s actions after she spoke to the nation’s top military commander about preventing President Donald Trump from ordering military actions in his last days as president. (Jan. 8)
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.
“We’ve seen a series of developments from House Democrats today really aimed at trying to control Donald Trump in his final days of office, or move to remove him from office,” Pace says.
Pelosi said Milley assured her longstanding safeguards 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. Trump has been making no such threats.
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.
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 could be prevented from running again for the presidency in 2024 or ever holding public office again. Trump would be the only 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 fewer Republicans are speaking out against his removal.
One Trump ally, Republican minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, said “impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more.”
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.
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.
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