Trump Will Get 'Sobering' Nuclear Briefing This Morning

He is about to get the 'nuclear football'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2017 2:59 AM CST
Updated Jan 20, 2017 6:26 AM CST
Donald Trump Is About to Get the 'Nuclear Football'
Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he speaks during a leadership luncheon at Trump International in Washington on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump has got a busy schedule before his swearing-in as president Friday, with events including a prayer service, coffee with President Obama, and being briefed on having the power to destroy the planet as we know it. At some point Friday morning, the military officers in the Strategic Command will tell Trump how to launch a nuclear strike using hardware contained in a briefcase known as the "nuclear football," NBC News reports. The briefcase, which holds communications tool, war plans, and launch codes in a device nicknamed the "biscuit," will be carried by a military aide who will discreetly move from Obama's side to Trump's after Trump takes the oath of office, the BBC reports.

Officials are tight-lipped on exactly when and where the nuclear briefing will take place, though past presidents have been briefed at Blair House, the presidential guesthouse where Trump will spend Thursday night. "It's a sobering moment. It defines the ultimate obligation that you might have," Andrew Card, George W. Bush's former chief of staff, tells Politico. Trump's card containing the nuclear codes will be activated the moment he's inaugurated, giving him control of more than 4,000 nuclear warheads. A nuclear proliferation analyst tells the Independent that in theory, "the president has full discretion over authorization of nuclear use," though others in the chain of command could mutiny and disobey the order to launch. (A retired general says Bill Clinton lost the nuclear codes for months.)

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