In the days following the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley held a top-secret meeting with senior military officials to take action against then Commander-in-chief Donald Trump, blocking the president from potentially launching nuclear weapons and ordering staff to ignore all orders except Milley’s, a new book entitled “Peril” by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa revealed, as reported by CNN on Tuesday.
Prior to taking action, Milley had multiple phone calls with China’s top general and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The two journalists wrote that Milley “was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies.”
Milley was reportedly concerned the president could “go rogue.”
In the secret meeting, Milley ordered the officials in charge of the National Military Command Center not to take orders from anyone except him.
“No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure,” Milley ordered, according to the book. The general then moved around the room and received verbal confirmation from each person.
“Got it?” Milley asked, the book said. The authors wrote that Milley considered the order “an oath.”
According to the book, Milley engaged in two back-channel phone calls with China’s top general and promised he would warn the nation of an attack.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley said. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”
“General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years,” Milley added. “If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
Milley also received a frantic phone call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“What I’m saying to you is that if they couldn’t even stop him from an assault on the Capitol, who even knows what else he may do? And is there anybody in charge at the White House who was doing anything but kissing his fat butt all over this?” Pelosi reportedly said.
“You know he’s crazy,” she continued. “He’s been crazy for a long time.”
Woodward and Costa wrote that Milley simply responded, “Madam Speaker, I agree with you on everything.”
After the calls, Milley ordered his top service chiefs to monitor everything “all the time,” contacted Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency, and said, “Needles up … keep watching, scan,” and told then-CIA Director Gina Haspel, “Aggressively watch everything, 360.”
“Milley was overseeing the mobilization of America’s national security state without the knowledge of the American people or the rest of the world,” the book states.
According to CNN, “Peril” is based on over 200 interviews with witnesses and firsthand participants, as well as documents, calendars, diaries, emails, meeting notes, transcripts and other records.