Before and after the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6, America’s top general took action to prevent Donald Trump from going rogue and launching nuclear war or attack on China, excerpts from a new book show eagerly awaited from Washington. Post reporter Bob Woodward.
Trump’s third book on Watergate veterans, Peril, is written with Robert Costa, another Post reporter. It is due for release next Tuesday. A week before the day of publication, the Post and CNN posted excerpts.
After the first two books in the series, Fear and Rage, Peril covers the end of the Trump presidency and the start of Joe Bidens’ first term in the White House.
Woodward and Costa describe General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as certain that Trump had entered a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, which he insisted without evidence to correct.
Milley would have thought the president had gone almost manic, yelling at those responsible and building his own alternate reality on endless election conspiracies.
According to the authors, Milley feared Trump was becoming a thug and told senior officials: You never know what a president’s trigger point is.
The Post said Milley made two secret phone calls to his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng, to tell him Washington would not hit Beijing.
A call was reportedly made on October 30, 2020, four days before the election. The other took place on January 8, two days after Trump supporters attacked Congress, seeking to reverse that defeat.
During the first call, also sparked by tensions in the South China Sea and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, Milley reportedly told Li: I want to assure you that the US government is stable and that everything will be fine. We are not going to attack or conduct kinetic operations against you.
Milley also reportedly told the Chinese general that he would warn him if an attack was launched.
On the second call, after the Capitol riot, Milley told Li: We are 100% stable. Everything is fine. But democracy can sometimes be botched.
Trump was impeached a second time for incitement to riot, but was acquitted in a Senate trial. More than 600 people have been indicted for the attack, around which five people died. This weekend, supporters of the accused will gather in Washington. The Capitol police, overwhelmed on January 6, are preparing increased security.
While Trump maintains a firm grip on the Republican base and the party in Congress, a House committee comprising only two dissident Republicans continues to investigate the Jan.6 attack.
Milley was a central player and an apparent key source in a multitude of books on the Trump presidency that came out this summer.
In I Alone Can Fix It, by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Milley is portrayed before the attack on the Trumps-resistant Capitol requires the military to be used against anti-racist protesters while fearing a Reichstag moment , a coup by supporters of a president preaching the Fhrer’s gospel.
Milley is also shown assuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Trump would not be able to use nuclear weapons. Susan Glasser of the New Yorker, whose own book Trump will be released next year, reported that Milley worked to prevent Trump from attacking Iran.
Woodward and Costa report that Pelosi told Milley: What I’m telling you is if they couldn’t even stop him from attacking the Capitol, who even knows what else he can do? And is there anyone in charge in the White House who did anything other than kiss her fat ass all over the place?
You know he’s crazy. He’s been mad for a long time.
According to Woodward and Costa, Milley said: Madam President, I agree with you on everything.
Woodward and Costa also say the general was aware of parallels with the case of James Schlesinger, the Defense Secretary who in 1974 took action to guard against presidential abuse of the nuclear arsenal during the fall. Richard Nixon’s fall largely caused by Woodward. , in his work with Carl Bernstein investigating the Watergate scandal.
Woodward and Costa also report that concerns about Trump have spilled over to other senior national security officials. Gina Haspel, then director of the CIA, reportedly told Milley: We are on the way to a right-wing coup.
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