Trump says top US general should be 'tried for treason' for intervening to prevent a war with China

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  • Trump ripped Gen. Mark Milley and the journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in a new statement.

  • He accused Woodward and Costa of making up information in their blockbuster book "Peril."

  • He also said Milley should be tried for treason for calling his Chinese counterpart to avert a war.

Former President Donald Trump put out a statement on Friday saying that Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should be "tried for treason" — a crime punishable by death — for taking steps to prevent a war with China during the Trump presidency.

In his lengthy statement, Trump skewered the contents of the book "Peril" by The Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa and called Milley "one of the dumber generals in the military."

"Does anybody really believe that longtime Con Man Bob Woodward, and his lightweight lapdog assistant Robert Costa, are implying in their book of fiction that I was planning to go to war with China, but that one of the dumber generals in the military called the Chinese to tell them that he will inform them if this action proceeds further," the statement said. "Milley may have called, but if so, he should be tried for treason."

"I never had even a thought of going to war with China, other than the war I was winning, which was on TRADE," Trump added.

Woodward and Costa write that Milley made two phone calls to Chinese Gen. Li Zuocheng — one on October 30, 2020, and the other on January 8 in the wake of the Capitol siege.

The January call came amid a heightened sense of urgency because the January 6 insurrection "had not only stirred up China but also caused Russia, Iran, as well as other nations to go on high alert to monitor the American military and political events in the United States," the book says.

"Half the world was friggin nervous," Milley said, according to the book. The general was said to be on high alert and told the joint chiefs to keep an eye on things "all the time." He also told National Security Agency Director Gen. Paul Nakasone to keep his "needles up" following the phone call with Li and instructed CIA Director Gina Haspel to "aggressively watch everything, 360," the book says.

Trump first suggested Milley should be tried for treason in September, shortly after "Peril" was released.

"If it is actually true, which is hard to believe that he would have called China and done these things and was willing to advise them of an attack or in advance of an attack, that's treason," Trump said on the conservative news outlet Newsmax.

Milley defended his phone calls with Li after the book's release.

"I know, I am certain, that President Trump did not intend on attacking the Chinese," Milley testified to Congress, adding that his calls were motivated by "concerning intelligence" that China believed an attack was imminent.

In his statement on Friday, Trump accused Woodward and Costa of making up the anecdotes in their book and trying to "sell it to the public." The former president also focused on Woodward, who has published a series of damning books about the Trump presidency, saying: "I watched that craggy smug face of Woodward as he 'bullshits' the public and said to myself, 'I wonder if history will really believe this stuff?' How do you get your reputation back?"

Woodward is one of the most renowned journalists in modern American history because of his and Carl Bernstein's reporting on the Watergate scandal that ultimately sank Richard Nixon's presidency. Since then, Woodward has written a litany of books documenting both Democratic and Republican presidents' time in office and has written three books about the Trump presidency.

Trump personally sat down with Woodward for a series of interviews for his second book about the Trump era, titled "Rage." In it, Trump admitted that he purposely downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid scaring the public.

In his statement, Trump went on to say the US had been taken over by "Scammers and Hoaxsters, and we have to take it back."

Spokespeople for Milley and The Post did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider