Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has faced recent accusations that he sought to undermine former President Donald Trump’s military authority in the final days of the previous administration.
Now, the general appears to have acknowledged that he met with his Chinese counterpart behind Trump’s back in a move some critics say was treasonous, Breitbart reports.
“Body of intelligence”
As a new book on the final chapter of the Trump administration asserts, Milley promised to warn the top Chinese general in the event of a U.S. attack ordered by the then-president.
Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s book Peril was the subject of a line of questioning during Milley’s testimony on Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee. He admitted that he provided Woodward with information used in the book.
The following day, the House panel specifically asked if the book was accurate in its assertion that he forewarned a Chinese counterpart. Although Milley attempted to cast himself in the best possible light, he seemed to acknowledge that it was true.
He prefaced his response by citing a “body of intelligence” indicating that China was under the false suspicion of an imminent U.S. attack. For his part, the general said he remained “certain, guaranteed certain, that President Trump had no intent to attack,” describing it as his “task” to reassure China.
From that perspective, he attempted to explain away the controversial call to his Chinese counterpart, asserting: “As part of that conversation, I said, ‘General Li, there’s not going to be a war. There is not going to be an attack between great powers. And if there was, the tensions would build up. There’d be calls going back and forth from all kinds of senior officials.'”
“Two great powers”
Milley went on to admit telling General Li that he would “probably give [him] a call” before reiterating that America would not be launching an attack.
“These are two great powers and I am doing my best to transmit the president’s intent, President Trump’s intent, to ensure that the American people are protected from an incident that could escalate,” Milley concluded.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) subsequently pointed out that the general effectively confirmed that he promised to warn the Chinese military of any potential attack launched by the Trump White House.
“I understand your intent, but I think you are articulating that — that you would tell him you would give him a call, I think, is worthy of your resignation,” Hartzler said. “I just think that’s against our country that you would give our No. 1 adversary that information and tell him that.”
Of course, Biden has already signaled that he will not be firing Milley over his leadership during the botched troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Even if he did seek to undermine the Trump administration, it seems unlikely under the current political climate that he will be going anywhere anytime soon.