Andrea Mitchell Sounds the Alarm Over Trump’s ‘Unlimited’ Nuclear Authority

On Tuesday, NBC Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell used an upcoming Senate hearing reviewing President Trump’s authority to launch nuclear weapons as an opportunity to engage in overwrought fearmongering on the Today show. She warned viewers about the President’s “unlimited” ability to launch a nuclear strike and fretted that military personnel would be required to follow his orders in that unlikely scenario.

“Now to today’s unprecedented hearing on Capitol Hill, focusing on the President’s nuclear authority. It’s a discussion that hasn’t happened in Washington in more than 40 years,” co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed at the top of the segment. Mitchell followed up by hyping: “Well, for the first time since the height of the Cold War, the Republican-led Senate is raising the question of the President’s authority to launch nuclear weapons, which right now is unlimited.”

She eagerly promoted the congressional move: “President Trump is facing heat, even from some Republicans, wanting to examine his power to launch nuclear weapons after months of questioning his judgment.” Mitchell was of course referring to “Republican Senator Bob Corker, a one-time Trump ally turned fierce critic.”

Again emphasizing that the commander-in-chief’s decades-old nuclear authority was “something that has not been debated since the height of the Cold War,” Mitchell breathlessly described the current decision process:

Right now, if the President decides to launch a strike, he could consult briefly with military and civilian advisers, who might try to change his mind. But ultimately, the airmen in these Minuteman missile silos in North Dakota would have to follow the President’s orders, launching within minutes.

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Noting that “Today’s hearing comes as the U.S. faces a growing nuclear threat from North Korea,” the reporter worried: “That stark reality has not toned down Mr. Trump’s rhetoric.”

Mitchell insisted: “With the President lashing out at Kim Jong-un, alarming some former national security officials about a pre-emptive first strike.” A soundbite ran of Obama administration intelligence chief James Clapper decrying: “I worry about, frankly, access to the nuclear codes. If in a fit of pique he just decides to do something about Kim Jong-un, there’s actually very little to stop him.”

“As for those who believe Trump’s generals – Mattis, Kelly or McMaster –  could overrule the President, the law says they could not,” Mitchell explained.

Lauer was actually one of those who pushed the idea of military leaders being able to “tackle” the President and “lock him in a room” to prevent a war.

NBC’s repeated attempts to portray Trump as an unstable leader who must have his presidential authority revoked sets a dangerous precedent. If the liberal media oppose someone elected to office, they now feel comfortable undermining that person’s legitimacy to make vital national security decisions.

The biased coverage was brought to viewers by Weis supermarkets, Comcast Business, and Google Chromebook.

Here is a full transcript of the November 14 report:

7:11 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Now to today’s unprecedented hearing on Capitol Hill, focusing on the President’s nuclear authority. It’s a discussion that hasn’t happened in Washington in more than 40 years. NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell has more on this. Andrea, good morning.  

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Matt. Well, for the first time since the height of the Cold War, the Republican-led Senate is raising the question of the President’s authority to launch nuclear weapons, which right now is unlimited.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Debate Over Trump’s Nuclear Authority; Unprecedented Senate Hearing Taking Place Today]

Wherever the President goes, this black case is not far behind. Inside, the codes for America’s nuclear arsenal, ready at a moment’s notice. But now, President Trump is facing heat, even from some Republicans, wanting to examine his power to launch nuclear weapons after months of questioning his judgment.

SEN. BOB CORKER [R-TN]: The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of competence that he needs to demonstrate.

MITCHELL: Republican Senator Bob Corker, a one-time Trump ally turned fierce critic, convening a hearing today on something that has not been debated since the height of the Cold War – the process for launching a nuclear strike. First approved in 1946, when Harry Truman was president, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Right now, if the President decides to launch a strike, he could consult briefly with military and civilian advisers, who might try to change his mind. But ultimately, the airmen in these Minuteman missile silos in North Dakota would have to follow the President’s orders, launching within minutes.

Today’s hearing comes as the U.S. faces a growing nuclear threat from North Korea. With the latest estimates predicting a missile launched by Kim Jong-un could reach the U.S. within 30 to 40 minutes.

DONALD TRUMP [AUGUST 8]: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.

MITCHELL: That stark reality has not toned down Mr. Trump’s rhetoric.

TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

MITCHELL: With the President lashing out at Kim Jong-un, alarming some former national security officials about a pre-emptive first strike.

JAMES CLAPPER [FMR. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE]: I worry about, frankly, access to the nuclear codes. If in a fit of pique he just decides to do something about Kim Jong-un, there’s actually very little to stop him.

MITCHELL: As for those who believe Trump’s generals – Mattis, Kelly or McMaster –  could overrule the President, the law says they could not.

And this is an issue that Congress has not addressed for decades but is suddenly front and center as tensions rise between President Trump and an untested leader of North Korea’s rogue regime. Matt?

LAUER: Andrea Mitchell. Andrea, thank you.

This post originally appeared on NewsBusters

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