Pro-Trump lawmakers in Congress are planning to put the spotlight on the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley should Republicans take control of the House in November’s midterms, inside sources tell NBC News.
“For our members, he is a big lightning rod,” said a Republican familiar with the House GOP plans. “Republicans want answers on a lot of things, and Mark Milley, because of his position and public comments, including in books, is the person to answer.”
Fox News' Tucker Carlson has also focused on Milley, calling him “stupid” and “a pig” and accused him of treason. And one Republican House candidate called for Milley to be executed on live television.
"Two defense officials said Milley is aware of the GOP plans to investigate his actions, though he isn’t taking any additional steps to prepare for the oversight. The officials said such investigations could escalate threats against him, as well as other military leaders," NBC News reported. "A spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the Pentagon would be part of investigations if the GOP wins in November, and the top Republicans on the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees have requested that the Biden administration preserve documents relating to the Afghanistan withdrawal."
As NBC News points out, Milley has been on the receiving end of death threats from Trump supporters.
Milley ordered aides to not act immediately on any move by Trump to use US nuclear forces, and he called a Chinese general to reassure Beijing, presidential chronicler Bob Woodward and co-author Robert Costa wrote in their tell-all book.
The Washington Post -- Woodward's and Costa's employer -- and other media on Tuesday reported excerpts from the book "Peril," depicting Milley as organizing the Pentagon and intelligence community to resist any move by Trump to ratchet up tensions with China or Iran after he lost the November 2020 presidential election.
Milley called Chinese counterpart General Li Zuocheng twice, on October 30 just before Trump's election defeat, and on January 8, two days after Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol, to reassure him that the Republican president's anti-China rhetoric could not translate into military action.
"General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay," Milley told Li in the October call, Woodward and Costa write.
"We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you," Milley said.
Two months later, Milley reportedly used the secret back-channel with Li again after the US Capitol riot, amid concerns both in Beijing and Washington that Trump was unstable.
Trump, in turn, has accused the general of treason.
"I assume that he would be tried for treason in that he would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the president's back," Trump said in a statement.
With additional reporting by AFP