Following reports indicating that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley had taken steps to proactively address the possibility of then-President Trump launching a military attack after January 6, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot has spoken out. In short, the committee’s chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) have reiterated the panel’s insistence upon uncovering the truth of circumstances connected to January 6 and its aftermath. Milley worked to shore up the nation’s defenses against Trump’s volatility in the wake of the January 6 violence.
The committee’s fact-focused approach is quite different from the relentless theatrics put on by Trump and other top Republicans following the reports about Milley’s actions. Saying that the “facts surrounding steps taken at the Pentagon to protect our security both before and after January 6th are a crucial area of focus for the Select Committee,” Thompson and Cheney added as follows:
‘Indeed, the Select Committee has sought records specifically related to these matters and we expect the Department of Defense to cooperate fully with our probe. Looking ahead, we will carefully evaluate all the facts based on first-hand testimony, contemporaneous documents, and other relevant materials. The Select Committee is dedicated to telling the complete story of the unprecedented and extraordinary events of January 6th, including all steps that led to what happened that day, and the specific actions and activities that followed between January 6th and January 20th, 2021.’
Milley’s actions included the conducting of “a secret meeting in his Pentagon office on January 8 to review the process for military action, including launching nuclear weapons,” CNN explains, and at this meeting, Milley “instructed” top officials who were present “not to take orders from anyone unless he was involved,” according to the same outlet. January 8, of course, was within days of the assault on the Capitol, when Trump — no matter his claims of innocence — directly incited deadly violence in his name and then did hardly anything to stop it. Eventually, he — as the then-president of the United States — directly sought to excuse what happened, writing on Twitter that “these are the things and events that happen” when an election is stolen, although election theft obviously didn’t take place as Trump claims.
Separately, Milley also twice got in touch with a top Chinese general to address potential concerns about the instability of the U.S. with Trump at the helm. Milley “sought to assure” the top general that “the United States was stable and not going to attack and, if there were to be an attack, [that] he would alert his counterpart ahead of time,” as summarized by Reuters. As Thompson and Cheney mentioned, the riot investigation committee has already requested a lot of potentially evidentiary materials — and they’ve also already received quite a bit.