Milley downplays bombshell claims from new book after Trump accuses him of treason

According to recently released excerpts from the new book "Peril" by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley made two phone calls to his Chinese counterpart on Oct. 30 and Jan. 8 where he reportedly assured the Chinese general that then-President Trump would not launch a surprise attack against China.

The revelations enraged Republicans, who basically accused Milley of being a traitor. "General Milley has attempted to rationalize his reckless behavior by arguing that what he perceived as the military's judgement as more stable than its civilian commander," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said, calling it "a dangerous precedent" that "threatens to tear apart our nation's longstanding principle of civilian control of the military."

Appearing on Newsmax this Tuesday, Trump called for Milley to be arrested for "treason." Later that day, Trump released a written statement through his office, calling him "'Dumbass' General Mark Milley," adding that if the reporting is accurate, "I assume he would be tried for TREASON in that he would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the President's back and telling China that he would be giving them notification 'of an attack.'"

Responding to the backlash, Milley's spokesperson released a statement this Wednesday, saying that Milley "regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including China and Russia."

"These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflict," the statement read, adding that Milley's "calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability."

The full statement was shared to Twitter by journalist Kevin Baron.