The top US general secretly called his Chinese counterpart a couple of times over concerns that the then-US President Donald Trump may initiate military action.
An upcoming book titled ‘Peril’ by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa claims that US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley made the first call to People’s Liberation Army’s chief General Li Zuocheng on October 30, 2020, just four days before the election. On January 8, 2021, General Milley placed a second call to Li, a couple of days after the outgoing president Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol.
The book claims that Milley wanted to assure his Chinese counterpart that the US was committed to stability and would not initiate any unwarranted attack. The claims suggest that the top US general even promised Li that if there was a possibility of an attack, he would alert his counterpart ahead of time.
It is also alleged that the then-CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Security Agency head Paul Nakasone also discussed their concerns with General Milley. They were wary of the possibility of Trump order any kneejerk action other top officials, including, the need to be vigilant amid concerns Trump could act irrationally.
The CIA Director Haspel was quoted as saying that they were in a “highly dangerous situation.”
In their book, Woodward and Costa say, “Some might contend that Milley had overstepped his authority and taken extraordinary power for himself.”
Milley’s office declined to comment.
Woodward and Robert Costa say that they conducted interviews with 200 sources adding the book is due to be released next week.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Trump called the story “fabricated.” He said if the story turns out to be true Milley should be tried for treason.
“For the record, I never even thought of attacking China,” Trump said.
Trump was the one who appointed Milley to the top military post in 2018. However, things turned sour between Trump and Milley, as well as other appointees and former staffers, after the Republican lost the election to US President Joe Biden in November 2020.