OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Legal watchdog organization Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to gain access to the contents of a phone call in January between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley.
Judicial Watch announced the lawsuit earlier this week, noting that the call between the California Democrat and the country’s top military officer to discuss the authorities of a current president — in this case Donald Trump — sets a “dangerous precedent” that could impact future commanders-in-chief.
The organization said it had already attempted to discover the contents of the Jan. 8 call in a request to the Defense Department on Jan. 11 but has not heard back from the Pentagon.
Shortly after the phone call with Milley, which came two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Pelosi discussed the intent of her call in a communique to congressional Democrats.
“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,” Pelosi wrote in her letter.
“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,” she added.
“As you know, there is growing momentum around the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses,” Pelosi added.
“Yesterday, Leader Schumer and I placed a call with Vice President Pence, and we still hope to hear from him as soon as possible with a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people,” she continued.
Without question, the phone call to the Pentagon chief to relieve Trump of his nuclear codes is unprecedented in the modern era, not to mention completely inappropriate considering Milley had no authority whatsoever to do so or negate Trump’s role as commander-in-chief any more than he can now do so regarding Joe Biden, who is obviously a candidate for the 25th Amendment.
And in fact, the Pentagon made that quite clear following the call.
“If Speaker Pelosi’s description of her conversation with General Milley is true, it sets a dangerous precedent that could undermine the president’s role as commander in chief and the separation of powers,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said.
“Our new lawsuit aims to uncover the truth about the call,” Fitton added.
The suit is requesting access to “any and all records” pertaining to the phone call, as well as “any and all additional records” of any communications they had between Nov. 1, 2020, two days before the election, and the present day.
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It’s not clear if Trump was ever actually denied access to the nuclear launch codes.
That said, on Jan. 13, the House — acting on the false claim that Trump ‘incited an insurrection’ — impeached Trump for the second time.
Judicial Watch filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the organization said.