Defense & National Security — Former Pentagon chief disputes Jan. 6 claims

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Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said that then-President Trump gave no orders to deploy National Guard troops ahead of Jan. 6, 2021.

We’ll talk about Miller’s testimony. Plus, we’ll look at the Pentagon’s plan to allow wounded Ukrainian soldiers to be treated at a U.S. military facility in Germany.

This is Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. For The Hill, I’m Jordan Williams. A friend forward this newsletter to you? Subscribe here.

No orders given to prepare Guard ahead of Jan. 6

Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller told the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that then-President Trump gave no orders to prepare troops before that day.

In testimony shared by the committee Tuesday evening, Miller was asked about an assertion made by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that as many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be “on the ready” that day.

The claim: Miller was responding to a claim Meadows made in a Fox News interview a month after the riot, in which he implied that Trump was “very vocal” in making sure there were “plenty of National Guard.”

“As many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be on the ready by the secretary of Defense. That was a direct order from President Trump. And yet here’s what we see is, there’s all kinds of blame going around, but yet not a whole lot of accountability,” Meadows said at the time.

What Miller said: Miller said he was “never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature.”

  • “Obviously, we had plans for activating more folks, but that was not anything more than contingency planning,” he added. “There was no official message traffic or anything of that nature.” 

  • When specifically asked about whether there was a direct order from Trump to have Guard troops ready, Miller said there was not.

Why this matters: The testimony comes a week after the panel held its final public hearing of the summer, making the case that the former president chose not to act during more than three hours of the Capitol siege.

At the hearing last week the committee shared testimony from Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recalled how he felt about Trump not issuing orders to deploy the National Guard.

“You’re the commander in chief. You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America,” Milley said. “And there’s nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?”

Read more here.

Pentagon offers hospital to Ukrainian soldiers

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has allowed wounded Ukrainian soldiers to be treated at a U.S. military facility in Germany, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) told The Hill.

“Secretary Austin recently approved the use of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for the medical treatment of Ukrainian service members,” a EUCOM spokesperson said.

About Landstuhl: Landstuhl is a 100-bed Army commanded hospital located near Ramstein Air Base. It is the largest U.S. hospital outside of the country, as well as the sole military medical center for over 205,000 people in Europe, the Middle Est and Africa.

However, the EUCOM spokesperson said that no Ukrainian forces have been treated there to date.

“It remains available to Ukraine, along with other steps the United States and our partners and allies have taken to provide medical training, equipment, and supplies in support of Ukraine,” the spokesperson said.

The details: Austin verbally approved the guidance in late May and later formalized the plan in a June 29 memo, according to CNN which obtained the document.

The Pentagon’s plan allows for up to 18 wounded soldiers to be treated at the center at one time. Treatment would be allowed if there was no other facility available in Ukraine or nearby, CNN reported.

PELOSI INVITES LAWMAKERS TO TAIWAN

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has extended an invitation to members of Congress to join her on a planned trip to Taiwan, according to a House aide.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was invited to join the Speaker to visit Taipei but is unable to attend because of a previous commitment, his spokesperson Leslie Shedd confirmed to The Hill.

Shedd added that the congressman was disappointed not to be able to join the trip. “He also believes the Speaker or any other American official should be able to visit Taiwan if they would like to,” Shedd said.

Read more here.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

  • The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee: Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation will hold a hearing on “Countering Gray Zone Coercion in the Indo-Pacific” at 9:30 a.m.

  • The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a nominations hearing at 9:30 a.m.

  • The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on “Progress Made? Ending Sexual Harassment at The Department of Veterans Affairs” at 10 a.m.

  • The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing on “Click Here: Accessible Federal Technology for People with Disabilities, Older Americans, and Veterans” at 10 a.m.

  • The Center for a New American Security will hold a “Virtual Fireside Chat with General CQ Brown, Jr. Chief of Staff of the Air Force” at 1:30 p.m.

  • The United States Institute of Peace will hold a discussion on “Images From Central America’s Wars and Its Unfinished Peace” at 4 p.m.

WHAT WE’RE READING

That’s it for today! Check out The Hill’s Defense and National Security pages for the latest coverage. See you tomorrow!

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