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Ret. Lt. Col. Vindman says Milley must resign over secret vow to warn China of US attack

Army Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, arrives at a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on October 29, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
September 15, 2021

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who rose to prominence for testifying against President Donald Trump during a 2019 impeachment hearing, said Gen. Mark Milley “must resign” if allegations that he sought to circumvent Trump and warn China of a potential U.S. attack are true.

According to excerpts from a new book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday, Milley held a pair of phone calls with a Chinese counterpart on Oct. 30, 2020 and again on Jan. 8, 2021 assuring he would provide forwarning of any potential U.S. attack on China. In one of the phone calls, Milley allegedly said, “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

Reacting to the Washington Post’s reporting, Vindman tweeted, “If this is true GEN Milley must resign. He usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military. It’s an extremely dangerous precedent. You can’t simply walk away from that. #dotherightthingintherightway.”

In his 2019 impeachment testimony against Trump, Vindman said he felt a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had included an improper request for Zelensky to investigate Biden’s connections to a Ukrainian gas company.

Responding to Vindman’s initial tweet, one Twitter user said, “I respectfully disagree. If true, this was an extraordinary situation that threatened the federal government.”

Vindman responded to that defense of Milley, tweeting, “The CJCS always has the ability to resign rather than implement a awful or unlawful order. What is described here is wrong. Also, no one person is indispensable. There are a half dozen Chief ready to step into that role. There is no ‘deep state’ but this narrative feeds into one.”

Other prominent figures have called for Milley to either resign or be removed from his position as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul said if Milley’s alleged actions are true, he should be court-martialed.

“I don’t care what you think of President Trump, the Chairman of the JCOS working to subvert the military chain of command and collude with China is exactly what we do not accept from military leaders in our country,” Paul tweeted. “He should be court martialed if true.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also called on Biden to fire Milley.

In a letter to the president, Rubio wrote, “I write with grave concern regarding recent reporting that General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 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.”