US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told

US military commanders would refuse a presidential order to carry out a nuclear first strike that they thought was illegal, senators were told on Tuesday.

The assurances came at the first congressional hearings since 1976 on presidential authority to order the use of the US nuclear arsenal, against a background of mounting concern over North Korea’s nuclear programme – and Donald Trump’s emotional stability.

Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the chamber’s foreign relations committee, has expressed fears that the president is taking the country “on the path to world war III”.