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Milley says Trump officials knew of scrutinized calls to China

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley alleged that key Trump officials were notified of his controversial calls to his Chinese counterpart.

Milley’s two phone calls with Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army right before the 2020 presidential election and after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot have garnered calls for his firing and led to accusations of treason, though he has maintained that the calls were "routine" and within his job description.

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The chairman, who, along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Frank McKenzie, the U.S. Central Command chief, testified on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that he made the first call on Oct. 30 at the direction of then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and that eight people were on the call with him.

Milley also informed the senators on the Armed Services Committee that the Chinese requested the second call, doing so on Dec. 31. That call took place on Jan. 8, and 11 people were in on that call. He also explained that he "personally" told then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while later briefing then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.

The calls first gained notoriety when it was reported in the book Peril, written by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa. They reported that the chairman made the calls in part because he was fearful of possible military action from then-President Donald Trump during the final period of his presidency.

A day after the excerpt from the book was published, Meadows, whose knowledge of the call was previously unknown, said on social media: "General Milley needs to answer questions immediately — under oath — about whether he subverted a sitting President of the United States and colluded with an adversary. Not tomorrow. Not eventually. Immediately. If it’s true, firings and resignations should be just the start."

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During the conversation with the Chinese general, Milley reportedly said: “I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay. We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you," adding, “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

Critics have accused Milley of usurping Trump's power by promising to warn a foreign country of an impending attack.

Austin and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that both he and the president continue to have confidence in Milley.

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Tags: News, China, Mark Milley, Pentagon, National Security, Defense

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: Milley says Trump officials knew of scrutinized calls to China

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