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House Jan. 6 panel seeking Pentagon records on Milley actions

U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
September 18, 2021

The select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has asked the Pentagon for documents on the actions of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and other Defense Department officials in the aftermath of the deadly attack by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters.

Milley has made headlines in recent days following revelations in a new book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that the Army general took steps to constrain Trump’s ability as commander in chief from launching nuclear weapons and to assure his counterpart in China about U.S. stability and intentions.

According to that book, Milley feared Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of his November 2020 election defeat.

“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,” the committee’s Democratic chairman, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, and vice chair, Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said in a statement Thursday.

They said the committee was already investigating Pentagon actions to protect the nation’s security both before and after the insurrection.

In fact, they note the committee had “sought records specifically relating to these matters” in an Aug. 25 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, including “all documents and communications relating to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” The 25th amendment lays out a process for removing a president who is unable to perform the duties of office.

“We expect the Department of Defense to cooperate fully with our probe,” Thompson and Cheney wrote.

The Woodward and Costa book also reports that Milley had engaged in back-channel phone calls with China’s top general, who was on high alert as a result of the chaos in the U.S. The revelation has prompted outrage from many Republicans and praise from some Democrats.

Thompson and Cheney have said the committee is dedicated to telling the complete story surrounding the events of Jan. 6 using first-hand testimony, contemporaneous documents, and other relevant materials.

That includes “all steps that led to what happened that day, and the specific actions and activities that followed between January 6th and January 20th, 2021,” they said in their statement.

Trump supporters are expected to rally at the Capitol on Saturday in support of people arrested Jan. 6. Trump issued a statement of support for those facing charges in connection with the insurrection, saying they are being “persecuted so unfairly” but made no mention of the rally.


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