House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made a move this week that has legal scholars “perplexed,” according to The Washington Times, And, according to The New York Times, administration officials said that it could amount to “a military coup.”
Following the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday, Pelosi is seeking to have President Donald Trump’s access to the nuclear codes taken away.
Pelosi announced her plan in a letter to her congressional colleagues on Friday:
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 launch codes & 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.
A spokesman for General Milley, the highest-ranking military officer in the country, confirmed that Milley did speak to Pelosi, saying, “[Milley] answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority,” according to Breitbart.
Constitutional legal scholar Jonathan Turley was perplexed by Pelosi’s request.
“I know of no authority by which the nuclear codes can be withheld from the President absent a declaration under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment,” Turley tweeted Saturday. “Absent such a declaration, a denial of such access would be grounds for the removal of any military officer. The same is true for the exercise of other executive privileges and powers.”
Ilya Shapiro, the publisher of the Cato Institute’s Supreme Court Review, expressed a similar view.
“Until and unless the president is removed, either through the 25th Amendment or impeachment, he remains the commander-in-chief,” Shapiro said, according to The Washington Times. “Given Pelosi’s statement, either she’s proceeding with impeachment or she’s setting a dangerous precedent for disrupting the civilian chain of command.”
Here’s what Defense Department officials, according to The New York Times, had to say about Pelosi’s move:
Mr. Trump, they noted, is still the commander in chief; unless he is removed, the military is bound to follow his lawful orders. While military officials can refuse to carry out orders they view as illegal — or slow the process by sending those orders for careful legal review — they cannot remove the president from the chain of command. That would amount to a military coup.
Pelosi and others in Congress are urging Trump to resign, claiming he incited the violence that took place at the Capitol this week.
The speaker has made it clear that if the president chooses not to resign then she is prepared to pursue impeachment. This could happen as soon as the beginning of next week, Breitbart reported.
Pelosi has made it clear that she is using what happened at the Capitol to get revenge on the president and remove him from the political scene for good.