Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley released a statement through a spokesman that confirmed the reporting in the new book Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that stated Milley had two conversations with his counterpart in the Chinese military that undermined President Trump and also a meeting Milley had with military leaders to insert himself into the nuclear launch command to subvert Trump’s authority as commander-in-chief after the January 6 riot at the Capitol.
Milley’s statement confirms the phone calls to China, but does not provide the substance. His comments on the nuclear launch command meeting confirms most of the book but does not deny any of the reporting. Milley asserts everything he did was legal, by the books and was “within his authority in the lawful tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution.”
Statement released by Joint Staff spokesman Col. Dave Butler:
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia. These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflict.
His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability. All calls from the Chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency.
Also in keeping with his responsibilities as senior military advisor to the President and Secretary of Defense, General Milley frequently conducts meetings with uniformed leaders across the Services to ensure all leaders are aware of current issues. The meeting regarding nuclear weapons protocols was to remind uniformed leaders in the Pentagon of the long-established and robust procedures in light of media reporting on the subject.
General Milley continues to act and advise within his authority in the lawful tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution.”
Milley responds to reaction to statements attributed him in new book via spox
“General Milley continues to act and advise within his authority in the lawful tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution.” pic.twitter.com/9nftecsEo8
— Howard Altman (@haltman) September 15, 2021