WASHINGTON — Members of the House Armed Services Committee spent the better part of Wednesday afternoon questioning American’s top military minds about Afghanistan and the waning days of their service under President Trump.
Indiana Rep. Jim Banks (R) was among those who grilled Army General Mark Milley, who served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Trump and continues in the role under President Biden.
Banks’ line of questioning centered around references to Milley in Bob Woodward’s latest book “Peril” which focuses on President Trump’s last days in office and the transition of power to President Biden.
Milley said several times during the hearing that he has not read the book.
“Are you embarrassed by the portrayals (of Milley) in the book,” Banks asked Milley. “No doubt you are aware of them.”
“Embarrassed? No,” Milley responded. “I’m concerned that there are mischaracterizations of me becoming very politicized as an individual, and my willingness to become politicized, which is not true.”
Milley is said to have spoken with Chinese military leaders in the last days of Trump presidency to assure them that the U.S. is not unstable, especially after the January 6th riots, and that the U.S. will not attack China.
Milley is said to have assured Chinese leaders that protocols are in place to prevent an unauthorized use of nuclear weapons. Woodward’s book alludes to a conversation between Milley and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over that very subject.
“Did you tell the Speaker that you agree with her on everything,” Banks asked?
“What I was referring to when I said that was that I agree that we need to have the processes and procedures in place to make sure we don’t have an illegal or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons,” Milley clarified.
Many Republicans have viewed Milley’s intentions in those procedures as an undermining of President Trump’s authority.