Trump’s classified nuclear briefing

Politico reports: If the recent past is a guide, Trump’s briefing [on how to destroy humanity] will occur at Blair House on Friday morning, where Trump plans to spend Thursday night. Like Clinton, Obama took his nuclear briefing on the morning of his 2009 inauguration, just before heading to an 8:30 a.m. church service.

The briefing itself does not involve grand nuclear strategy, nuclear experts and current and former U.S officials said. Presidents attend separate sessions in which military officials outline scenarios from all-out attack on Russia to war with China to limited strikes against rogue nations like North Korea.

Instead, Trump’s Friday briefing is meant to ensure that he understands how to quickly order a nuclear attack in the event of an emergency.

“The briefer is very, very military. It’s a military briefing,” Card said. “It’s not a briefing of the conscience. It’s by-the-book, it’s rote.”

“It’s kind of like how to use your remote control for the TV,” Card added.

The session guides a president in the use of the famous nuclear codes — which are not transmitted to missile silos, bombers and submarines but used, like a password, to verify the president’s identity when he sends a launch order to the Pentagon.

Timothy McBride, a former military aide in George H.W. Bush’s White House, said Scowcroft informed Clinton in their January 1993 briefing that he would be pulled aside in the U.S. Capitol building just after his swearing-in and presented with the nuclear codes.

Trump critics note with alarm that an American president does not need the approval of Congress, his cabinet or any other entity to order the use of nuclear weapons — although in theory, his defense secretary could refuse to transmit a launch order down the military chain of command. [Continue reading…]

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