Former President Donald Trump said recently that the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, General Mark Milley, committed treason if he contacted a top Chinese military official during the final few months of the Trump presidency.
Allegedly, Milley took this step to “reassure” China that Trump would not launch military action against Beijing.
Reporter Robert Costa and longtime Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward claim in their soon-to-be-released book, “Peril” that Gen. Milley made calls to his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army on two occasions.
Woodward and Costa say that the first call occurred on October 30, 2020, shortly before the presidential election.
They also allege in “Peril” that the second call took place on January 8, 2021, two days after the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
According to the book, Milley told Li, “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”
Gen. Milley then told Gen. Li that if Trump did order an attack on China, “I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
In a statement, Trump stated that if the reporting of Costa and Woodward proved true, Milley “would be tried for TREASON in that he would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the President’s back and telling China that he would be giving them notification ‘of an attack.’ Can’t do that!”
However, Trump later said in the same statement that he believed the report to be “Fake News concocted by a weak and ineffective General together with two authors who I refused to give an interview to because they write fiction, not fact.”
He went on to state, “The people that fabricated the story are sick and demented, and the people who print it are just as bad. In fact, I’m the only President in decades who didn’t get the U.S. into a war — a well-known fact that is seldom reported.”
Trump concluded his statement saying, “Actions should be taken immediately against Milley, and better generals in our Military, of which we have many, should get involved so that another Afghanistan disaster never happens again. I never even thought of attacking China — and China knows that.”
Rubio seeks Milley firing
Ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., demanded Milley’s immediate firing.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, Rubio wrote that Milley had “worked to actively undermine the sitting Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces and contemplated a treasonous leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party in advance of a potential armed conflict with the People’s Republic of China.”
Rubio told Biden that, “These actions by General Milley demonstrate a clear lack of sound judgment, and I urge you to dismiss him immediately.”
He continued, calling Milley’s actions “simply unacceptable at best.” He further warned that the chairman of the Joints Chiefs actions, if true, set a “dangerous precedent that could be asserted at any point in the future by General Milley or others. It threatens to tear apart our nation’s longstanding principle of civilian control of the military.”
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the report was “deeply concerning.”
While at the Capitol, Cruz told reporters that, “I don’t know if the quotes are accurate or not, but if they are, that is a gross violation of the chain of command. I think the first step is for General Milley to answer the question as to what exactly he said.”