Before the U.S. Senate Armed Forces Committee on Tuesday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testified on the alleged phone call to China to warn them of potential attacks from President Donald Trump – a call that, if substantiated, could be considered treason.
“I know, I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese,” he said under oath, defending his call.
According to Politico, Gen. Milley continued that both phone calls, one made Oct. 30, and then Jan. 8, were meant to “de-escalate” the situation. Milley said that it was his duty to “deconflict military actions, manage crisis and prevent war between great powers armed with nuclear weapons.”
These phone calls were first reported in a book by the journalist who broke the Watergate story, Bob Woodward. His new book Peril, which examines the transition of the Trump administration to Biden’s, highlight these phone calls, which Milley says were “generated by concerning intelligence which caused us to believe the Chinese were worried about an attack by the U.S.”
Milley also said that the secretary of state at the time, Mike Pompeo, and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, were informed of these phone calls, and 11 people were present with him at the time of the phone call. He continued to mention that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was also concerned about the possibility that Trump might launch nuclear weapons.
According to Politico, Milley assured her that, “nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process.” He continued, “There are processes, protocols, and procedures in place and I repeatedly assured her there is no chance of an illegal, unauthorized or accidental launch.”
The hearings originally called to discuss the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has prompted several Republicans to call for Milley’s resignation, including Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., during Monday’s hearing. On top of the withdrawal, the news of the secret phone calls regarding China being fearful of President Trump attacking them, Milley has been urged to resign. Regardless of the backlash against Milley’s questionable actions, the Biden administration says it has “complete confidence” in Gen. Milley, according to Politico.
This was the first time that Milley has publicly addressed these phone calls before congress. The subject of the phone calls were also added to the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation, as well as records from the Department of Defense, the outlet added.