Republicans call Gen. Mark Milley 'traitor,' and say he should be fired or court-martialed for a report that he secretly intervened to avoid war with China

Republicans call Gen. Mark Milley 'traitor,' and say he should be fired or court-martialed for a report that he secretly intervened to avoid war with China
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General Mark Milley testifies in front of Congress.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • Milley reportedly sought to assure China that the US would not start a war with them following Trump's defeat.

  • Joining former President Trump, some Republican members of Congress accused the top general of treason.

  • A spokesman for Milley confirmed the calls, arguing that they were in keeping with his duties to "maintain strategic stability."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Following new reports that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley called his Chinese counterpart twice to assure him that the US would not start a new war with their country, some congressional Republicans are joining former President Donald Trump in accusing Milley of treason, while others are calling for his firing, resignation, or even for the top general to be court-martialled.

According to "Peril," a forthcoming book by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley called his counterpart Gen. Li Zuocheng on both October 30 and January 8, reportedly telling him in one call: "If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise."

A spokesman for Milley confirmed the calls on Wednesday, arguing that they were in keeping with his duties to "maintain strategic stability."

But Republicans said these reports show Milley had overstepped his authority as the top military advisor, and possibly even offered a tip-off to a top US adversary.

"The Chairman of the JCOS working to subvert the military chain of command and collude with China is exactly what we do not accept from military leaders in our country," wrote Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Twitter. "He should be court martialed if true."

A court-martial is a trial conducted in a military court of paneled by the accused's peers for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, in contrast with a civil court, which all Americans are otherwise subject to. The accused can be convicted by only two-thirds of panel's members, which in a civil trial would prompt a hung jury.

Paul was echoed by far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who simply tweeted, "Court-martial Mark Milley."

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida simply called for the top general to be fired, writing in a letter to the White House arguing that Milley had set a "dangerous precedent" through his actions and had "contemplated a treasonous leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party."

While other GOP senators such as Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Roger Marshall of Kansas have also called for Milley's firing, most GOP senators appear not to have commented on the matter yet.

On the House side, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida called for Milley's ouster, suggesting on Newsmax that Milley had "broken some very good laws.

Meanwhile, several other congressional Republicans called for Milley to be either fired or to resign, including Reps. Chris Stewart of Utah, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, and Doug Lamborn of Colorado.

Other Republicans went even further, accusing Milley of treason. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia falsely claimed Milley "conspired with a foreign power in a coup d'état," while Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona said that the general "should go down in history as a traitor to the American people." And Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida released a statement saying Milley's actions were "next to treasonist," apparently misspelling "treasonous."

Congressional Republicans aren't the only ones calling for Milley's removal. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in Trump's first impeachment and a long-time critic of the former President, said that Milley "usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military.

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