The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, took top-secret actions to prevent former President Donald Trump from using nuclear weapons, a new book claims.
General Milley took it upon himself, just two days after the 6 January Capitol riot, to limit Mr Trump’s ability to order a military strike.
Watergate journalist Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, both of The Washington Post, report in their new book Peril that General Milley was thoroughly disturbed by the attack on the Capitol and that he “was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies”.
Woodward and Costa also write that Gen Milley was worried that Mr Trump may “go rogue,” CNN reported.
The book says Gen Milley told his top staffers: “You never know what a president’s trigger point is.”
The top military leader reportedly hosted a secret meeting in his office at the Pentagon on 8 January to review the process for initiating military action, including the launching of nuclear weapons.
Gen Milley told the officials in charge of the Pentagon’s war room – the National Military Command Center – not to follow any orders unless he was involved.
According to Peril, Gen Milley told the officials: “No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure.”
He then asked each of the officers to verbally confirm that they understood as he looked them in the eye.
“Got it?” Gen Milley asked.
“Yes, sir,” the officials responded. Gen Milley “considered it an oath,” the reporters write.
The book is based on more than 200 interviews with people participating firsthand in the covered events as well as witnesses, and depicts an unhinged Mr Trump yelling at his senior staff as he tries to stay in office.
Gen Milley grew worried as he observed Mr Trump’s erratic behaviour and became even more concerned about US national security following the events of 6 January. The top military leader had had two phone calls with China’s top general, who had become uneasy at the unrest in the United States.
The authors write that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Gen Milley during a tense phone call: “If they couldn’t even stop him from an assault on the Capitol, who even knows what else he may do? And is there anybody in charge at the White House who was doing anything but kissing his fat butt all over this?”
“You know he’s crazy. He’s been crazy for a long time,” she added.
“Madam Speaker, I agree with you on everything,” the general replied, according to Peril. After the call, Gen Milley told his service chiefs to watch everything “all the time”.
He then called the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Paul Nakasone.
“Needles up … keep watching, scan,” he told General Nakasone.
“Aggressively watch everything, 360,” General Milley told then-CIA Director Gina Haspel.
“Milley was overseeing the mobiliz….