Fears That Trump Might Launch a Strike Prompted General to Reassure China, Book Says

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In a sign of his concerns, the country’s highest-ranking military official also gathered to remind commanders of safety measures in nuclear launch procedures.

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WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff twice called his Chinese counterpart in the final months of the Trump administration to assure him that Donald J. Trump had no plans to attack China in an attempt to stay in power, and the United States was not collapsing, according to “Peril,” a new book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.


“Things may look untenable,” the president, General Mark A. Milley, told China’s General Li Xuocheng on January 8, as Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol to try to block the authentication of his election loss and Two days later in the second of two such calls. “But that’s the nature of democracy, General Lee. We are 100 percent stable. Everything is great. But democracy can be crooked sometimes.”

Yet despite his assurances, General Milley was so concerned about Mr. Trump that he called a meeting with top commanders later that day to remind him that his decision-making in the procedures for launching nuclear weapons would have to do with his Participation is required.

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The book also describes how Vice President Mike Pence struggled more than publicly known about how to navigate Trump’s demands that he retain election certification. Speaking privately to former Vice President Dan Quayle, who oversaw the certification of the 1992 election, in which he was on the losing ticket, Mr. Pence appeared open to going with Mr. Trump’s plan, putting forward the false claim. Enhanced that Arizona’s voting results were incorrect. And asked if there is any way he can delay the certification.

“Peril”, which is scheduled to be released next Tuesday, says its accounts are based on contemporary notes, documents and interviews with anonymous direct participants and witnesses. Received a copy of it.

Similar to other media reports and books released since Mr Trump left office, the book details how Mr Trump’s presidency inevitably collapsed in his final months in office, particularly after his election loss and After the start of his campaign to deny the consequences. Top aides – including General Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General William P. Barr – became convinced he needed to take drastic measures to prevent American democracy from crushing or international conflict setting in, and General Milley thought Mr. According to the book, Trump had a mental refusal after the election.

In less than half the book, Joseph R. The first several months of Biden’s administration are also included, as the president grapples with the pandemic, a faltering economy, Congress and the withdrawal of the military from Afghanistan.

“If the mission is to preserve the Ghani government, I will not send my son,” Mr Biden was quoted as referring to President Ashraf Ghani, an aide in his first few months in office during discussions about the return who at the time was trying to stop the Taliban from taking over the country.

But it’s the book’s details about the Trump administration that are likely to get the most attention.

The book reveals that in the days leading up to the 2020 election, US intelligence showed that the Chinese believed Mr Trump had planned to launch a military strike to create an international crisis that he was trying to defeat. could claim to be resolved as Joseph R. Biden Jr.

General Milley, who had become concerned about China’s growing military might and the possibility of a misstep to start a war between world superpowers, first called on General Li on a secret backchannel around that time. He wanted to reassure General Li and President Xi Jinping that the United States was not planning to attack China.

On the January 8 call, General Li suggested that Chinese leaders fear the United States government is unstable. During an hour and a half he pressed General Milley to see if the army was going to act.

Despite General Mille’s assurances, he feared Trump was trying to find a moment he could seize to remain in power on the same lines as Hitler. Exploitation of arson fire in the German Reichstag, 1933 The book states that to help establish emergency powers.

But even after the call, General Milley concluded that the situation was “grave” and that General Lee was “unusually upset,” the book reports.

Mr Trump, General Milley concluded, did not want war, but could order some sort of military strike to begin that would set off a chain reaction and lead to war.

“I reminded them constantly,” General Milley is quoted as saying, “depending on where and what you strike, you may find yourself in battle.”

Later that day, General Milley spoke to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was growing concerned that Mr. Trump would use military force.

“It’s bad, but who knows what he can do?” Ms Pelosi said. “He’s mad. You know he’s mad. He’s been mad for a long time. So don’t say you don’t know what his state of mind is.”

“Madam Speaker,” said General Mille, “I agree with you on everything.”

General Milley, who is not in the chain of command as the president’s top military adviser, attempted to reassure Pelosi that he could stop Trump.

“The one thing I can guarantee is that, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I want you to know that – I want you to know this in your heart, I want you to know 110 percent of the time.” I can guarantee that military, use military power, whether it is nuclear or any kind of strike in a foreign country, we are not going to do anything illegal or crazy,” he said.

“Well,” said Ms. Pelosi, “what do you mean, illegal or insane?”

“I can give you my word,” said General Mille. “The best I can do is to give you my word and I’m going to stop anything like that in the United States military.”

After talking to Ms Pelosi, General Milley convened a meeting with top military commanders in a Pentagon war room, telling them he wanted to go over the long-standing procedures for launching nuclear weapons . The general reminded the commanders that only the President could order such a strike and that General Milley needed to be directly involved.

“If you get calls,” said General Mille, “no matter who they are from, there’s a process, there’s a process. No matter what you’re called, you process. You process.” Do it. And I’m part of that process. You have to make sure the right people are on the net.”

The general added: “Strict procedures are explicitly designed to avoid unintentional mistakes or accidents or the nefarious, unintentional, illegal, unethical, unethical launches of the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

Then, he went around the room and asked each officer to confirm that they understood what he was saying.

Twelve days later, General Milley said, he thought he might be one of the happiest people at Biden’s inauguration since Mr Trump finally stepped down.

“We know what you did,” Mr Biden told General Milley shortly before the inauguration. “We know what you did.”

While much of General Milley’s views on Mr Trump were discussed, the book’s depiction of Mr Pence revealed for the first time that the Vice President clashed with calculations about his political future as his allegiance to Mr Trump and the advice of his colleagues and advisors to abide by the constitution.

In the days leading up to January 6, Mr. Pence called Mr. Quayle, the only surviving Republican vice president, forced to testify an election in which he was on the losing ticket.

Mr Pence told him that the president was convinced Mr Pence could annul the election results to keep himself in power.

“Mike, you have no flexibility on this,” Mr. Quayle said to Mr. Pence. “None. Zero. Let it be. Keep it away.”

“I know, that’s what I’m trying to tell Trump,” Mr. Pence said. “But he really thinks he can. And there are other people out there saying I have this power.”

Mr Pence then echoed Mr Trump’s false claims of election fraud. “Well, there’s some stuff in Arizona,” said Mr. Pence.

“Mike, I live in Arizona,” said Mr. Quayle. “There’s nothing here.”

Matthew Cullen Contributed to research.

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