“Years of oversight have taught me this lesson. Evasive answers usually offer revealing clues about the truth,” says Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) called on Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to honor his word about answering to allegations that he usurped President Donald Trump after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
Speaking on the floors of the House and Senate on Thursday, Grassley and Banks reminded Milley that he promised Congress he would address stunning allegations from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s book Peril that could be considered treason.
“Milley allegedly placed military hands — his hands — on controls that belonged exclusively to the president. According to Peril, [he] summoned senior operation officers in the military command center to his office,” Grassley said, adding, “He had them take ‘an oath’ not to ‘act’ on the president’s orders without checking with him first,” Grassley said.
“These brazen words and actions, if accurate, strike at the heart of our democracy — civilian control of the military. They turn this guiding rule upside down and show utter contempt for the commander-in-chief coming from the nation’s top general. They are dangerous and contrary to military code 10 US Code 888,” he said.
Grassley went on to explain that he repeatedly sent handwritten requests to Milley to answer for the alarming allegations.
“After my third note, Gen. Milley responded with the same old smoke and mirrors routine: ‘I have never read the books.’ Years of oversight have taught me this lesson. Evasive answers usually offer revealing clues about the truth,” Grassley said.
From his speech on the Senate floor:
I think Gen. Milley knows better. He knows the score. If those books and all attendant press coverage of those books had contained gross misrepresentations, we would have heard about it a long time ago. He would have been hammered by the authors and corrected the record. However, to date, not a peep from the general. His silence speaks volumes. Something doesn’t smell just right. As a Pentagon watchdog, when I get a whiff of wrongdoing, I sink in my teeth and don’t let go.
So Congressman Jim Banks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and I upped the ante on April the 11th with 12 pointed questions. We gave Gen. Milley a second bite at the apple to clear the air. Now, two and a half months later, we still have no response. Gen. Milley, you said you were going to answer for Sen. Blackburn’s question. Honor your word and so the questions come clean with the American people. We are all ears.
Banks made similar remarks on the House floor:
Our Constitution is clear: the president is the commander-in-chief. Sidestepping the president and violating the chain of command is a grave crime.
According to Bob Woodward’s book Peril, Gen. Mark Milley directed senior military officers NOT to follow the president’s orders, unless Gen. Milley approved them first. When I asked Gen. Milley about Peril at an Armed Services hearing, he claimed he hadn’t READ it. Convenient. So Sen. Chuck Grassley and I sent a letter to Gen. Milley, asking him to verify or refute the books’ claims.
He hasn’t responded. I am calling on Gen. Milley to set the record straight. Gen. Milley is accused of secretly SEIZING the president’s military powers. That is the most serious crime. If he is innocent, he has a duty to say so.
The book Peril claimed Milley was worried that Trump could “go rogue” and convened a secret meeting with senior military leaders on Jan. 8, warning them not to follow any commands by Trump without Milley present.
“No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure,” Milley told them, Woodward and Costa wrote. “Milley considered it an oath.”
The book also claimed Milley established a secret back-channel with the Communist Chinese military unbeknownst to President Trump to assure them that they would be warned ahead of time of a U.S. surprise attack.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley allegedly said. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”
“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,” he said, according to the book.