Book: Top U.S. officer feared Trump could order China strike


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WASHINGTON — Fearing the actions of Donald Trump in his final weeks as president, the top United States military official twice called on his Chinese counterpart to reassure that the two nations would not suddenly go to war, a senior defense official said. said after talks on Tuesday. The following was described in excerpts from the book.

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Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told General Li Xuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the United States would not strike. There was a call on October 30, 2020, four days before the election that defeated Trump. The second call was on January 8, 2021, just two days after a rebellion in the US Capitol by supporters of the outgoing chief executive.

Trump said that if the report is true, then he should be tried for treason.


According to the book “Peril” by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley promised Lee that he would warn his counterpart in the event of a US attack. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the book. Details of the book, which is due to be released next week, were first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday.

“General Lee, I want to assure you that the US government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told him in the first call, according to the book. “We’re not going to attack you or do any kinetic operations.”

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“If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s no surprise,” Milley reportedly said.

According to the defense official, the message that Lee received on both occasions was reassuring. The official questioned the suggestion that Milley told Lee that he would call him first, and instead the president said that the United States was not going to make a sudden attack on China without warning – whether diplomatic, administrative or military. be through the channels.

Milley also spoke with several other defense chiefs around the world in the days following the January 6 riots, including military leaders from the United Kingdom, Russia and Pakistan. A readout of those calls in January refers to “several” other counterparts he spoke to with similar messages of assurance that the US government was strong and in control.

Trump responded in a scathing reply, dismissing Milley as “dumbass” and insisting he never considered attacking China.

Still, he said that if the report was accurate, “I think he would be prosecuted for treason, in which he would be dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the president’s back and telling China to ‘attack him’.” Will inform’. ‘ Can’t do that!”

“There must be immediate action against Millie and our military must include better generals, many of whom we have, so that another disaster in Afghanistan never happens again,” Trump said.

The second call was to allay Chinese fears about the events of January 6. But the book points out that Lee was not so easily pacified, even though Miley had promised him: “We are 100 percent stable. Everything is fine. But democracy can be sloppy at times.”

Milley believed the president suffered a mental decline after the election, agreeing with a view shared by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a phone call that took place on January 8, according to officials.

Pelosi said earlier that she had spoken to Milley that day about the “precautions available” to prevent Trump from launching military action or ordering a nuclear launch, and told aides he had been given unspecified assurances. That for a long time there were security measures.

According to the book, Milley called the admiral overseeing the US Indo-Pacific Command, the military unit responsible for Asia and the Pacific, and recommended the postponement of upcoming military exercises. He also asked senior officials to take an “oath” that Milley was to attend if Trump ordered the launch of nuclear weapons, according to the book.

In January and Tuesday, officials confirmed that Milley had spoken with Pelosi, which was made public by the speaker of the House at the time. Officials said the two talked about existing, long-standing security measures in the process of nuclear strikes. An official said Tuesday that Milley’s intention to speak with his staff and commanders about the process was not to undermine the president or his power, but to ratify the procedures and ensure that they understood by all.

It is not clear whether, if any, the military exercise was actually postponed. But defense officials said it was more likely that the military postponed a planned operation, such as freedom of navigation by a US Navy ship in the Pacific. Defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.

Milley was appointed by Trump in 2018 and later attracted the wrath of the president when he expressed regret for participating in a June 2020 photo op with Trump, when federal law enforcement opened fire on peaceful protesters near the White House. Cleared a park so Trump could stand in a nearby damaged church. .

In response to the book, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday urging him to sack Milley, saying the general had “actively undermined and contemplated the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces”. A seditious leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party ahead of a possible armed conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called the report “deeply concerning,” telling reporters at the Capitol: “I don’t know if the quotes are accurate, but if they are, it’s a gross violation of the chain of order.” I think the first step for General Mille is to answer the question of what he actually said.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he was not concerned that Milley had exceeded his authority, telling reporters that Democratic lawmakers “were observant in our language, but many of us did It made it clear that we were counting on him to save us. Disaster that we knew could happen at any moment.”

A spokesman for United Staff declined to comment.

Milley’s second warning to Beijing came after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mike Esper and filled several top positions with interim officeholders loyal to him.

The book offers new insight into Trump’s efforts to stay in power despite losing the election to Democrat Biden.

Trump refused to budge and offered false claims that the election had been stolen. He repeatedly pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, for refusing to certify election results at the Capitol on January 6, an event that was later interrupted by a crowd.

Pence writes the book, called by Dan Quayle, a former vice president and fellow Indiana Republican, to see if there is any way he can accede to Trump’s request. Quayle said not at all.

“Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away,” Quayle said according to the book.

Pence eventually agreed. He rallied Trump to confirm Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump was not happy.

According to the book, Trump replied, “If you don’t do that then I don’t want to be your friend anymore.” He later told his vice president: “You have deceived us. I created you.

“Peril” describes Trump’s tireless efforts to convince Attorney General William Barr that the election was stolen. Barr is quoted as telling Trump, “The Justice Department cannot take sides between you and the other candidate, as you know.” According to the book, Barr determined that allegations of rigged voting machines “were not panning out.” Barr also expressed hatred for Rudolph Giuliani and others and insisted that Trump had won, calling them a “clown car”.

Trump’s office did not immediately comment on the book.


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