The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, maintained his “absolute loyalty” to the United States on Tuesday and claimed that he informed top Trump government officials of conversations with his Chinese counterpart, in spite of reports to the contrary.
Milley addressed the Senate Armed Services Committee in its opening statements about the U.S. withdrawal. He said that he had “secret” conversations with Gen. Li Zuocheng, of the People’s Liberation Army, just days before the January 2021. riots.
Milley has faced calls to resign since the revelations were made public earlier this month. Robert Costa and Bob Woodward wrote “Peril”, claiming that Milley called Li following a review of intelligence suggesting that Chinese officials thought the United States planned to attack China during military exercises in South China Sea. According to the book, Milley called Li again after he reviewed intelligence that suggested Chinese officials believed the United States was planning an attack on China.
Milley addressed these allegations on Tuesday and stated that he had served the U.S. since 43 year.
” “My loyalty to the nation, its people and the Constitution hasn’t changed and won’t change as long as my breath can give,” Milley stated. Milley stated, “My loyalty to this nation and its people is unwavering. I won’t turn my back upon the dead.”
Milley then delivered a detailed rebuttal of the claims made in the book. He stated that he had “routinely communicated with” his counterpart, “with the coordination and knowledge of civilian oversight.”
” I am directed by Department of Defense Guidance, Policy Dialogue System to communicate with Chinese officials,” Milley stated. These military-to-military communications at the top are crucial to US security in order to manage crises, deconflict military action and avoid war with great power armed by nuclear weapons.
Milley explained that the calls, which took place on Oct. 30, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021, were “coordinated before and after” with then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller’s staffs, as well as the interagency. Milley explained that the specific purpose for the January and October calls were based on concerning intelligence, which led us to believe that the Chinese were concerned about an attack from the U.S.
Milley said: “I am sure, I know that President Trump didn’t intend to attack the Chinese. It is my direct responsibility to communicate presidential instructions and intent.
” My task was to reduce the tension. Milley stated that my message was constant: be calm, stable, and de-escalate. We aren’t going to attack your.
For the October 2020 call, Milley said it took place at Esper’s direction, and said “eight people sat in on the call with me.”
Milley said on Dec. 31, 2020, the Chinese requested a call with him. Milley stated that Milley was the deputy assistant to Defense for Asia Pacific Policy. He “helped me coordinate my call,” which was set for January 8.
” Milley stated that shortly after the end of my conversation with Gen. Li, he informed Secretary of State Pompeo as well White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows of the call and other subjects. Milley said that he attended an interview with Miller, Acting Secretary. He was briefed on the conversation.
Milley then addressed other allegations in the book regarding the conversations with Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), on Jan. 8. He said that Pelosi had called Milley on Jan. 8, to inquire about President Trump’s capability to launch nuclear arms after the Capitol Riot on Jan. 6.
“I tried to assure her nuclear launch is governed and controlled by a very precise and deliberate process,” Milley stated, noting that Pelosi had “concerned” and used personal references to characterize then-President Trump.
” I explained to her that President is solely responsible for nuclear launches, but he does not launch on his own,” Milley stated. Milley stated that there are protocols, procedures, and processes in place. He repeatedly assured her that there was no possibility of an accidental, illegal or unauthorized launch.
Milley said that as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he “is part of this procedure to ensure the president’s full information when it comes to deciding the use of some of the most deadly weapons in the world.”
” I’m not in the chain to command by law,” Milley stated. Milley said that he was in the chain for communication because of a presidential directive or DoD instruction. This is to ensure I fulfill my legal role as president’s primary adviser.
Milley said, following his call with Pelosi, he “convened a short meeting in my office with key members of my staff to refresh on these procedures, which we practice daily at the action officer level,” and added that he “immediately informed Acting Secretary of Defense Miller of her call.”
“I was not trying to influence or change the process or usurp authority. However, I’m expected to offer my opinion and make sure that the president is informed.” Milley stated.
Milley then offered lawmakers “a more thorough unclassified memo of my actions around these events” and suggested a classified meeting to discuss intelligence that “motivated these acts and the precise timeline”. Milley stated that he was happy to provide all email logs, telephone logs, memos, witnesses, and any other information necessary to understand the events.
“My oath is to support the Constitution of the United States of America, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will never turn my back on the oath,” Milley said. Milley stated that he believes in civilian control over the military, which is a fundamental principle of this republic. He also said that he was committed to keeping the military out of domestic politics.
Milley made these comments amid calls to his resignation from Miller, the former acting Defense Secretary. Miller said he “did not and would not ever authorize” Milley to have “secret” calls with his Chinese counterpart, describing the allegations as a “disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination,” and calling on him to resign “immediately. President Biden has stated that he trusts the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.