US House of Representatives speaker Hon Nancy Pelosi has written to members of Congress telling them that she has asked the chairman of the joint chief of staff to strip President Donald Trump of access to nuclear codes as he might launch strikes within a week.
Yesterday, President Trump launched an assault on Congress when he asked his supporters to invade parliament to disrupt a parliamentary debate that was confirming the results of last year’s presidential elections. Refusing to concede defeat, President Trump has been trying since November to overturn the results of the elections and has resorted to all kinds of tactics in his desperate bid.
With legal challenges failing, President Trump tried to get vice president Mike Pence to prevent yesterday’s debate from taking place but then that failed, he asked his supporters to invade Congress. They occupied it for several hours, during which time lawmakers were forced to flee and now there are plans to impeach the president over his impunity.
Speaker Pelosi, who is adamant that the president must be held to account for his actions, has asked Mr Pence to invoke Article 25 of the US constitution that allows a cabinet to remove a president from office on the grounds of diminished responsibility. If that fails to happen, Speaker Pelosi has made it clear that Congress will commence impeachment moves against President Trump.
Concerned that President Trump may become more erratic and do something dramatic if he is allowed to remain in office until January 20 when his tenure ends, Speaker Pelosi held a meeting with General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US joint chief of staff today. She asked him to prevent an unstable President Trump from launching a military conflict or using his assigned codes to launch America’s nuclear weapons.
In a letter to House members, Speaker Pelosi wrote: “This morning, I spoke to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike. The situation of this unhinged president could not be more dangerous and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy.”
Her letter was released minutes before she was to join her caucus on a telephone conference to discuss their options for impeaching President Trump. Five people have died so far after he urged his backers to fight to overturn the results in favour of president-elect Joe Biden.
Speaker Pelosi added: “As you know, there is growing momentum around the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to remove the president for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses. Yesterday, Leader Schumer and I placed a call with vice president Pence and we still hope to hear from him as soon as possible with a positive answer as to whether he and the cabinet will honour their oath to the constitution and the American people.”
“Nearly 50 years ago, after years of enabling their rogue president, Republicans in Congress finally told President Nixon that it was time to go. Today, following the president’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office immediately and if the president does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action.”
So far, President Trump has ignored calls demanding that he resign although he has finally conceded that he will have to leave the White House on January 20. In a video posted yesterday night he said there will be a smooth and orderly transition of power to Mr Biden but he has said he will not attend the inauguration in person.