Army General Mark Milley testified before the U.S. Congress for the calls he made to China and for which he has been called a “traitor.”
This Tuesday, September 28, Milley alleged that he knew that former President Donald Trump would not attack China, so he decided to call his Asian counterpart to “reassure” him.
“I know, I am certain, that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese. And it was my directed responsibility by the secretary to convey that intent to the Chinese” Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The general assured that his task was to “de-escalate” and that his message was consistent towards the Chinese: “Stay calm, steady, and deescalate. We are not going to attack you.”
The calls Milley made to General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, became known from the account of journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, in their book titled “Danger” where they claimed that the general was concerned about Trump’s “state of mind”, so he sought to reassure them that the United States was not suddenly going to go to war or attack China.
Some U.S. lawmakers have said Milley overstepped his duties and called on President Joe Biden to fire him; in fact, Trump lashed out at the general as treasonous: “He never told me about the calls that were made to China,” the former president said.
Milley said that the October 30 and January 8 calls were fully coordinated with the Secretaries of Defense at the time, as well as with other U.S. national security agencies.
He noted that the October call was made at the direction of then-Defense chief Mark Esper, and the second was made at the request of the Chinese and coordinated with then-Secretary Chris Miller’s office.
“At no time was I attempting to change or influence the process, usurp authority or insert myself in the chain of command, but I am expected, I am required, to give my advice and ensure that the president is fully informed,” Milley said.
According to Fox News, neither former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo nor former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien knew of any Intelligence information suggesting that Chinese officials believed the United States was planning an attack on the Asian country.
The alleged information was the basis for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to contact his Chinese counterpart.
Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who was in office during the 2020 post-election period through Inauguration Day, said he “did not and would never authorize” Milley to have such calls, and described the allegations in the book as a “shameful and unprecedented act of insubordination.”
Pelosi was “worried” about a nuclear attack
In his congressional testimony, Milley also spoke of a call he received from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“She called me to inquire about the president’s ability to launch nuclear weapons. I sought to assure her that nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process,” said Milley, who assured her that while the president is the sole nuclear launch authority, “he doesn’t launch them alone.”