Milley held secret calls with China, others as Trump pushed election lies – .

Milley held secret calls with China, others as Trump pushed election lies – .

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Mark Milley, pauses during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on August 18, 2021.
Youri Gripas | Reuters
WASHINGTON – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley made two phone calls to his Chinese counterpart in the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency to secretly reassure Beijing that the United States would not attack the country, a spokesperson for Milley confirmed on Wednesday.
The calls were first reported in the forthcoming book “Peril” by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

“His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these reassured duties and responsibilities in order to maintain strategic stability,” said spokesman Col. Dave Butler.

All of Milley’s calls were coordinated with the rest of the Defense Department and other relevant agencies, Butler added.

Milley did not speak to Trump about the calls.

Woodward and Costa describe how Milley learned in October 2020 that the Chinese feared Trump would preemptively attack China because Trump was losing the 2020 election and his rhetoric against China was becoming increasingly hostile.

Milley called his Chinese counterpart again on January 8, 2021, two days after the attack on Capitol Hill, to reassure him again that the US government was stable and did not pose an immediate threat to China.

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Milley’s spokesperson also appeared to confirm that Milley spoke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the days following the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol, to assure her that he there were safeguards in place to prevent Trump from launching nuclear weapons or ordering the military to try to keep him in power after losing the election.

He told Pelosi that “there is no chance of snowballing in hell this president, or any president can unlawfully, immorally, unethically launch nuclear weapons without certification. appropriate, ”according to the book.

After the call, Milley, who “had no absolute certainty that the military could control or trust Trump,” held a meeting with senior officers from the National Military Command Center to review weapon launch procedures. nuclear.

The revelations sparked outrage from some Republicans, including Trump, who suggested Milley committed a crime by going behind the then president’s back to communicate US policy to foreign adversaries.

But they don’t appear to have hurt Milley’s position with Trump’s successor, President Joe Biden.

When a reporter asked Biden on Wednesday whether Milley had done “the right thing,” Biden replied, “I have great faith in General Milley.”

“Peril” is expected to be released on Tuesday.

Dan Mangan of CNBC contributed to this article.


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