Sens. John Cornyn and Rand Paul on Wednesday called for Gen. Mark Milley to answer questions on Capitol Hill and face possible consequences over a report he secretly communicated with China’s top general.
Sen. Cornyn, a Texas Republican on the Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Washington Times that Gen. Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, “needs to explain himself before Congress.”
Mr. Cornyn said he wanted to hear from Gen. Milley directly “before rendering any judgment” on whether the general should resign.
According to “Peril,” a new book by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Gen. Milley undermined then-President Donald Trump‘s powers after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, including unilaterally and secretly restricting Mr. Trump from ordering a military strike or launching nuclear weapons.
The general also contacted a Chinese military commander to reassure him that Mr. Trump would not launch an attack on China.
Sen. Paul, Kentucky Republican, also demanded the general testify.
“It should be investigated immediately, today, he should be questioned under oath, if not with a polygraph test, on whether it happened. If it happened, he should be immediately relieved of his duties and court-martialed,” Mr. Paul, a member of the Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees, said on Fox News’s Fox and Friends. “You have to find out if it’s true. This is innuendo and rumor and propaganda perhaps. But, if it is true he absolutely immediately needs to be removed.”
The call for Milley to testify came one day after Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to President Biden calling for Gen. Milley‘s dismissal.
“I write with grave concern regarding recent reporting that General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, worked to actively undermine the sitting Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces and contemplated a treasonous leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party in advance of a potential armed conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC),” Mr. Rubio wrote. “These actions by General Milley demonstrate a clear lack of sound judgment, and I urge you to dismiss him immediately.”
The report also raised eyebrows among Democrats, though they were quick to give Gen. Milley the benefit of the doubt in his dealings with Mr. Trump.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat who serves on the Armed Services Committee, said she had “real concerns” about Gen. Milley’s conduct but doubted he crossed the line.
“I’m a strong proponent for civilian control of the military. That’s what our entire system of government is based on. I don’t think at any point from the reports that I’ve read, he actually ordered subordinates to betray the president’s orders,” Ms. Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, said in an interview. “I think what he said was to make sure that, ‘I’m in the loop. And then carry out your duties.’ I think that’s appropriate, but I have some real concerns.”
Others were less forgiving, including at least one of Mr. Trump’s harshest critics.
Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness who testified against Mr. Trump during his first impeachment, called for Gen. Milley to resign if the reporting about him was true.
“If this is true GEN Milley must resign. He usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military. It’s an extremely dangerous precedent. You can’t simply walk away from that,” Mr. Vindman tweeted Tuesday.
Messrs.Woodward and Costa also wrote that Gen. Milley, who was Mr. Turmp’s top military adviser, claimed Mr. Trump’s behavior was erratic and the events of Jan. 6 amplified concerns about his state of mind.
• Kerry Picket can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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