Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was on the outs with former President Donald Trump for months before he left office, but their final interaction reportedly left things on an ominous note.
The New Yorker reports that Trump gathered Milley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other advisers for a Jan. 3 meeting about Iran, hoping to take military action. The national security team finally persuaded Trump against a missile strike, so Trump pivoted to chat about his upcoming rally on Jan. 6, the day Congress was set to certify his election loss. Trump, who had already promised a "wild" protest, reportedly commented: "It's gonna be a big deal ... You're ready for that, right?" It was reportedly the last interaction Milley had with Trump.
According to other reports, like an upcoming book by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Milley had been fearing for several months that Trump would attempt a coup to stay in power, calling it one of his two "nightmare scenarios" (the other being a war with Iran). Milley reportedly met repeatedly with the Joint Chiefs to urge them against taking unlawful orders from Trump, and reassured concerned lawmakers that "Trump might attempt a coup, but he would fail because he would never succeed in co-opting the American military," writes The New Yorker. Trump, for his part, said Wednesday that he's "not into coups."
Given Milley's state of "full-alarm mode," Trump's comments at the Jan. 3 meeting likely sounded perilous. He reportedly "told others on that awful day that what they had dreaded had come to pass: Trump had his 'Reichstag moment' after all." Read more at The New Yorker.