The House committee probing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack is vowing to home in on senior Pentagon officials’ response to the assault following reports that Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured China that former President Donald Trump would not authorize a strike against the country.
“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,” Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said Thursday in a joint statement.
Their comment follows the release of details from “Peril,” the forthcoming book by the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, outlining extraordinary steps Milley took to head off potential crises caused by a then-president he had come to view as unstable. Milley reportedly contacted military counterparts in China to head off concerns that Trump might stoke a military conflict in the waning days of his presidency.
Milley also, according to Woodward and Costa’s book, held a secret Jan. 8 meeting designed to limit Trump’s ability to take military action in the waning days of his presidency. The Jan. 6 committee had already sought documents from the Pentagon covering the time period in question, but their request took on heightened significance amid the new reporting about Milley’s actions.
The panel is in the process of obtaining and reviewing documents from across the federal government connected to the Jan. 6 attack, but it’s unclear if Trump will attempt to shield any of his old White House documents from review.
Cheney and Thompson’s comment also came as Trump renewed his public effort to whitewash the events of Jan. 6, issuing a statement calling the Capitol breach defendants “persecuted” and reiterating false claims about the results of the 2020 election.
In a separate interview with the Federalist, Trump urged supporters to avoid a Sept. 18 rally at the Capitol in support of the Jan. 6 defendants, calling it a “setup.”