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Like many books on the Trump administration before, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s latest book on the cacophony in the last White House has caused some controversy – this time over a reported incident in which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley appointed a lead General of the Chinese military and informed his counterpart that the outgoing president would not attack the country during his waning term in office. The controversy goes beyond the outrage at the party and journalists sticking with facts to promote their work, unlike other scandals involving Trump reporters writing Trump books. The Peril controversy has been under scrutiny by Woodward and Costa. Conservatives are calling for General Milley’s arrest on charges of high treason. Here’s everything you need.
According to Woodward, Costa and the Washington Post, Milley defied Trump’s authority and called General Li Zuocheng from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army October 2020 and January. He informed him that there would no U.S. strike on the nation’s largest standing army. Milley Li claimed that Milley Li would call Milley “early” if there was an attack.
Milley Li allegedly received the calls after he learned that Chinese officials were worried about a possible pre-emptive strike amid an escalated trade war. The first contact took place days before the election, the second two days after the uprising, when Milly feared Trump might become a “villain”. Peril stated that any president can fire nukes illegally, immorally, and unethically without proper certification. Milley also summoned senior military personnel to the Pentagon on the same day as the second call. Milley asked them to ignore his orders and not follow his instructions. He allegedly stated that he was going through the process regardless of what he told him. “You are doing the process. I am part of this process.
Republicans demanded that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is charged with treason over his alleged act of disobedience.
In a press conference, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed Milley and Li’s conversation in January, saying the couple were discussing “to maintain strategic stability.” When asked about his dismissal, he said “Oh my God” and added that these calls were a “function for the job.” He suggested that the exaggerated coverage was due to the extreme nature Milley’s range.
David Butler, Joint Staff spokesperson, stated that all calls from the Chairman of the Joint Staff to his colleagues, even those reported, are staffed and coordinated with the Department of Defense.
When asked about the allegations on Wednesday, President Joe Biden told reporters he had “great confidence” in the general, who remains chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Milley, who has denied any wrongdoings, will also testify before Senate Armed Forces Committee September 28.
The initial outrage surrounding the incident focused on Milley’s alleged act in undermining President Obama. However, the matter is now back to the sender. Politico reported Wednesday that a defense official familiar with the calls had called Woodward’s portrayal as being “grossly mischaracterized” by Costa. This official confirmed that foreign military leaders were often involved in coordination, just as the Pentagon spokesperson did. An ex-defense official denied that Milley was acting alone. He actually sought permission from acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller before calling the Chinese general. Miller received a briefing of the contents from Milley after the call. Miller admitted to Politico that he was unable to recall the details. He said that it was “pretty superficial/routine”.
Woodward and Costa stated that they stand by their reporting in a statement to Politico.
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