A 2011 photo of Mullen. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said on ABC'S "This Week" that nuclear war has become "more probable than it used to be. And it scares me to death, quite frankly."

Mullen also said he has concerns about the fact that generals have taken such high-ranking and high-profile roles in the Trump administration, and that he was disappointed that John Kelly has shown he'll be "supportive of the president no matter what."

Full quotes:
  • On Kelly: I mean, certainly what happened very sadly a few weeks ago when he was in a position to both defend the president in terms of what happened with the gold star family and then he ends up — and John ends up politicizing the death of his own son in the wars. It is indicative of the fact that he clearly is very supportive of the president no matter what. And that, that was really a sad moment for me.
  • Does he recognize Flynn these days?: "No, I don't know the Mike Flynn that I have seen since he made a decision to endorse very strongly and publicly President Trump."
  • On nuclear war: "I think it's more probable than I it used to be. And it scares me to death, quite frankly. They're the most dangerous weapons in the world. And certainly if we have someone in North Korea that has a lethal legacy, is very, very unpredictable, and sees this as a way to solidify his future, that he could well not just attain them but potentially use them."
  • On refusing an order: "Well, I think any senior military officer always approaches it from the standpoint of we're not going to follow an illegal order. That said, the president is in a position to give a legal order to use those weapons. And the likelihood that given that order that it would be carried out I think would be pretty high."
  • On North Korea: "I still worry about the peninsula and the potential outcome there. I worry there is more uncertainty than there was a year ago, in principle because of the rhetoric that is there. I know that the Trump administration has addressed this issue from day one, so they're very serious about creating options and have created options. It's still a very difficult place to know what's actually going on."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 mins ago - Economy & Business

White House pushes to uphold TikTok ban

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday filed legal opposition to TikTok's request to delay a ban on downloading the app, with a judge expected to rule before the ban is set to go into effect Sunday.

Why it matters: The White House could have simply postponed the ban on its own for another week or two, as it did last Friday. This move suggests it's seeking to use the ban as leverage in ongoing negotiations.

15 mins ago - Podcasts

Substack and the future of media

Traditional media models, and even some of the digital ones, are either under pressure or outright broken. Some journalists have responded by going out on their own, leveraging a new group of startups that help them self-publish and monetize their work.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with Chris Best, CEO of Substack, which has more than 250,000 paying subscribers on its writer network.

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in state at Capitol

A bipartisan group of female lawmakers line the steps of the Capitol as Ginsburg's casket is carried to a hearse. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg laid in state at the Capitol on Friday, the first woman and the first Jewish person to receive such an honor.

Driving the news: After a ceremony in National Statuary Hall, Ginsburg's casket was carried down the building's steps — flanked by a group of bipartisan female lawmakers for a final farewell.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!