Milley Defends His Calls to China During Trump’s Term

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, defended his actions within the tumultuous final months of the Trump administration, insisting that calls to his Chinese language counterpart and a gathering wherein he instructed generals to alert him if the president tried to launch a nuclear weapon had been all a part of his job duties because the nation’s most senior navy officer.

“My loyalty to this nation, its people, and the Constitution hasn’t changed and will never change as long as I have a breath to give,” he mentioned. “I firmly believe in civilian control of the military as a bedrock principle essential to this republic and I am committed to ensuring the military stays clear of domestic politics.”

Normal Milley used the ending of his opening remarks earlier than the Senate Armed Providers Committee to deal with the turmoil of latest revelations within the e-book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. He mentioned he was directed by Mark Esper, then the secretary of protection, to make a name on Oct. 30 to his Chinese language counterpart as a result of there was “intelligence which caused us to believe the Chinese were worried about an attack on them by the United States.”

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Normal Milley’s testimony was one other chapter within the story of the ultimate chaotic days of the Trump administration, with authorities officers on edge as they frightened about actions Mr. Trump may take within the final days of his presidency.

“I know, I am certain, President Trump did not intend on attacking the Chinese and it is my directed responsibility to convey presidential orders and intent,” he mentioned. “My task at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent: calm, steady, de-escalate. We are not going to attack you.”

Normal Milley additionally addressed the frantic cellphone name with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. A transcript of the decision within the e-book mentioned that the final agreed with Ms. Pelosi’s characterization of President Donald J. Trump as being “crazy.”

Chatting with the Senate panel, Normal Milley mentioned, “On 8 January, Speaker of the House Pelosi called me to inquire about the president’s ability to launch nuclear weapons. I sought to assure her that nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process. She was concerned and made various personal references characterizing the president. I explained to her that the president is the sole nuclear launch authority, and he doesn’t launch them alone, and that I am not qualified to determine the mental health of the president of the United States.”

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Later that afternoon, he mentioned, he known as the generals concerned in that course of to “refresh on these procedures.”

In an unintentionally humorous interchange with Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, Normal Milley acknowledged that he spoke with a collection of authors who’ve just lately written books in regards to the remaining months of the Trump presidency. The entire books current the final’s actions to test Mr. Trump in a good mild.

“Woodward yes, Costa no,” Normal Milley replied, when requested if he had spoken to the Washington Publish’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa for his or her e-book “Peril.” The overall mentioned he had not learn any of the books.

At that, Senator Blackburn requested him to learn them and report again about whether or not the books precisely portrayed his actions.