WASHINGTON – The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection called the Pentagon and Defense Department’s actions in the aftermath of the Capitol riot a “crucial area of focus” on Thursday following remarks from Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley about limiting former President Donald Trump’s military power after the attack.
Bob Woodward and Robert Costa revealed in their new book “Peril” that Milley, then a top military adviser to Trump, was afraid Trump created “his own alternate reality about election conspiracies” and took precautions to limit Trump’s ability to launch a military strike and deploy nuclear weapons, according to CNN.
The committee’s Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said the committee has sought records related to the security steps the Pentagon took around Jan. 6, according to a statement released by the committee.
“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,” Thompson and Cheney said in the statement.
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CNN reported Milley held a secret meeting with senior military officials two days after the insurrection when he reviewed the process for military action and launching nuclear weapons. In the meeting, Milley instructed those in the National Military Command Center to not take orders without his involvement. Milley then asked each official to verbally confirm they understood his orders, according to CNN.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., spoke with Milley over the phone that day and demanded to know the precautions in place to prevent an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or ordering a nuclear strike, The Washington Post reported.
“He’s crazy. You know he’s crazy…. He’s crazy and what he did yesterday is further evidence of his craziness,” she said, according to The Post.
“I agree with you on everything,” Milley replied.
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The Jan. 6 committee formed to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and collect evidence to tell a complete story as to what happened that day.
The insurrection started when a mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol while members of Congress met to count the electoral votes confirming President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. The mob overwhelmed police and ransacked the Capitol, leaving 140 officers injured and four people dead. A police officer died of a stroke the day after.
In an Aug. 25 letter to the Department of Defense, the committee requested documents and communications between Dec. 1, 2020 and Jan. 20, 2021 related to counting the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
The committee also requested communications and documents about the potential use of military force related to a peaceful transfer of power and documents related to defying orders from Trump, among other requests.
“Indeed the select committee has sought records specifically related to these matters and we expect the Department of Defense to cooperate fully with our probe,” Thompson and Cheney said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we will carefully evaluate all the facts based on first-hand testimony, contemporaneous documents, and other relevant materials.”