Nov 19, 2017

Nuke chief would stand up to POTUS

Gen. John Hyten. Photo: Nati Harnik / AP

The top U.S. nuclear commander stirs an online ruckus by saying he'd resist a commander-in-chief's order for a nuclear strike if it were illegal.Why it matters: Needless to say, this isn't normal. The fact that this is even a topic of conversation reflects Trump anxiety among many former national-security officials, including some Republicans.The backdrop, via CNN: The "remarks come after a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this week on the President's authority to launch nuclear weapons — the first such ... hearing in more than 40 years."Speaking yesterday at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada, Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which oversees nukes and missile defense, said what would happen if he were ordered to launch a nuclear strike (CNN, AP, Reuters):

  • "I provide advice to the President ... He'll tell me what to do, and if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm gonna say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.'"
  • "Guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works. It's not that complicated."
  • "I think some people think we're stupid. We're not stupid people. We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?"
  • "If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life."

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
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  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

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