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Former nuclear launch officers call Trump a "clear and present danger"

North Korea nuclear tensions
North Korea nuclear tensions 02:23

A group of 17 former nuclear launch officers are calling on Congress to rein in President Trump's power to use nuclear weapons, saying he "poses a clear and present danger to the country and the world." Global Zero, an international nuclear disarmament advocacy group, sent the letter to Congress on Thursday, following a similar letter written after Mr. Trump won the 2016 presidential election. 

"Every American president has absolute authority to order the first use of nuclear weapons. No one – not the secretary of defense, not the attorney general, not Congress – can veto that order. There are no reliable safeguards in place to contain this power," the officers wrote.

The letter references Mr. Trump's recent tweets comparing the size of his nuclear button to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's, calling the comments "dangerous and risks catastrophic miscalculation."

"Threats of 'fire and fury' and total destruction of the Kim dictatorship undercut diplomatic efforts and increase the likelihood of stumbling into conflict," they said.

The officers said there are a "number of good proposals" before Congress that can rein in the president's power to "order the first use of nuclear weapons."

"Whether it's assigning the defense secretary and attorney general a role in certifying a launch order, requiring a Congressional Declaration of War before the first use of nuclear weapons, or ending the policy of nuclear first use entirely, any of these
common-sense measures would reduce the risk we now face. All are backed by top experts and worthy of consideration," the letter states. "Whichever path we take, it is essential officials on both sides of the aisle come together to reform the system."

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