Donald Trump denies asking to increase USA nuclear arsenal by tenfold

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was heard calling Trump a'moron after the July meeting where the president said he wanted the U.S. nuclear stockpile to grow back to Cold War numbers

Donald Trump denies asking to increase USA nuclear arsenal by tenfold

After suggesting last week that American media outlets should be investigated by Congress, President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to threaten NBC's broadcast license over the network's reporting on tensions between the President and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Trump has often called for increased military spending, and on the day after the July 20 meeting he signed an executive order directing a review about whether the country's military suppliers could keep the military stocked during war time.

His missive came shortly after he vehemently denied an NBC News report that he asked to dramatically expand the United States nuclear arsenal.

However, Trump took to Twitter Wednesday and denied the allegations, saying it's "pure fiction, made up to demean".

President Donald Trump's insults, threats and challenges to journalists have led to questions of whether the Commander-in-Chief respects the First Amendment.

Although US presidents have modernised weapon stockpiles over the years, any meaningful addition to the nuclear arsenal would violate treaty agreements.

Any increase in America's nuclear arsenal would not only break with decades of USA nuclear doctrine but also violate global disarmament treaties signed by every president since Ronald Reagan.

Trump lashed out at NBC News over a report indicating that he'd called for a drastic expansion of the USA nuclear arsenal.

"This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible", Mattis said, according to Reuters.

"The founders of our nation set as a cornerstone of our democracy the First Amendment, forever enshrining and protecting freedom of the press", Gordon Smith, the CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and a former Republican senator, told The Hill.

Trump has voiced inconsistent opinions on the nuclear arsenal, at one point expressing a desire to "greatly strengthen and expand [US] nuclear capability" and in other instances insisting he does not think the arsenal should grow in size.

"Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve", NBC News reported, adding that those present were surprised by the request.

The FCC is an independent United States agency that issues spectrum licenses to television broadcasters. But Trump's statement predictably raised hackles in media circles as it raised the spectre of government censorship of a news organisation.

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