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Pelosi confers with top general on preventing 'unhinged' Trump from launching nuclear strike

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Hillicon Valley: Colonial pipeline is back online, but concerns remain | Uber, Lyft struggle with driver supply | Apple cuts controversial hire Ocasio-Cortez on Taylor Greene: 'These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time' MORE (D-Calif.) spoke with the nation’s top general about options for preventing President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE from launching a nuclear weapon during his final days in office, she said Friday.

In a letter to colleagues reflecting on the week when pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol, Pelosi outlined a call with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyOvernight Defense: Former Navy secretary reportedly spent .4M on travel | Ex-Pentagon chief Miller to testify on Jan. 6 Capitol attack | Austin to deliver West Point commencement speech Trump's Navy secretary spent over M on travel during pandemic: report Overnight Defense: US may keep training Afghan forces in other countries | Defense chief tight-lipped on sexual assault decision | 'Swift' return to Iran deal possible, US says MORE that she described as aimed at “preventing an unhinged president from using the nuclear codes.”

“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,” she wrote. “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.”

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Pelosi’s letter gave no indication on what Milley’s response or advice was.

Milley's spokesperson, Col. Dave Butler, said in a brief statement that Pelosi initiated the call and that the general "answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority.”

On Wednesday, rioters incited by Trump stormed the Capitol while Congress was meeting to certify Joe BidenJoe BidenFauci says school should be open 'full blast' five days a week in the fall Overnight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Immigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart MORE’s victory in the presidential election. Lawmakers were forced to shelter in undisclosed locations while police officers struggled to regain control of the building, and five people, including a Capitol Police officer, have died as a result of the mayhem.

The assault on democracy has led to increased calls for Trump’s removal from office before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, either through the 25th Amendment or impeachment.

House Democrats are slated to hold a conference call Friday afternoon to discuss the way forward, and they appear to be racing toward impeachment.

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Removing Trump through the 25th Amendment would require Vice President Pence and a majority of Cabinet officials to declare he is unable to fulfill his duties as president, and Pence is reportedly opposed to the idea.

Among the concerns fueling calls for Trump’s removal are what he could do with his authorities as commander in chief in the next two weeks, including his most destructive power — launching a nuclear weapon.

Presidents have sole authority to order a nuclear strike. Service members do not have to obey an unlawful order, but nuclear nonproliferation advocates have warned that is not enough of a check because military counsel leans toward a presumption of legality.

Ellen Mitchell contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:50 p.m.