Following revelations that Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, allegedly made two calls to his Chinese counterpart in the final weeks of the Trump administration assuring China the outgoing president would not attack them, the House Jan. 6 Select Committee has asked the Pentagon for all documents related to Milley and the matter.
“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,” Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) said in a Thursday statement. “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.”
Their statement comes days after tell-all book “Peril”, by Washington Post staffers Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, revealed Milley made several calls to Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army to assure him US stability.
Milley reportedly first called Li on Oct. 30 to reassure him that the US military “are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”
He reportedly reached out to Li again on Jan 8. in the wake of the deadly riot by Trump supporters at the US Capitol. During that conversation, Milley told Li that the US government was “100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes,” according to the book.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Joint Staff confirmed the calls took place and claimed they were “in keeping with [Milley’s] duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability.”
While Milley is scheduled to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee Sept. 28 to discuss the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, Republican lawmakers are demanding answers from the general on the new revelations.
“Looking ahead, we will carefully evaluate all the facts based on first-hand testimony, contemporaneous documents, and other relevant materials,” Thompson and Cheney added in their statement.
“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.”
The nine-member panel, which held its first hearing around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in July, began its investigatory process with the sweeping range of requests released late last month. Among the requests, the committee has asked 35 telecommunication companies and social media platforms to preserve the information of those who may have played a role in the riot.