Penny Starr

U.S. lawmakers have not questioned a president’s authority to control U.S. nuclear weapons for more than 40 years, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — under the chairmanship of anti-Trump Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) — held a hearing on Tuesday to debate that issue.

“A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war-making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said in a statement when he announced the hearing last week.

“This continues a series of hearings to examine those issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons. This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue,” Corker said.

At the hearing Corker called going to war a “heavy responsibility” and the decision to use nuclear weapons the “most consequential,” Bloomberg reported, noting that Corker has “emerged as vocal critic of Trump’s foreign policy.”

Corker has made the claim that Trump could lead the U.S. into World War III.

Breitbart News reported last month that Corker confirmed to the New York Times the Republican establishment is focused on corralling Trump and his agenda.

In an interview with reporter Jonathan Martin, Corker said that most Republican senators realized that Trump was a threat to the general world order.

“[They] understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road,” Corker said.

Corker told the Times he was trying to send a message to “the good guys” — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and White House chief of staff John F. Kelly.

“As long as there are people like that around him who are able to talk him down when he gets spun up, you know, calm him down and continue to work with him before a decision gets made, I think we’ll be fine,” Corker said.

But on Tuesday Corker said the hearing was not focused on Trump.

“This is not specific to anybody,” Corker said at the hearing.