Legal experts: Military officials held back National Guard on Jan. 6 because they feared Trump would use them to seize power
Trump with Army Troops

On Tuesday, Just Security made the case that a key reason the National Guard took several hours to arrive during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is that senior military officials were afraid former President Donald Trump would re-direct them to help him seize control and block the peaceful transition of power.

"According to a report released last month, Christopher Miller, who served as acting Secretary of the Defense on Jan. 6, told the Department’s inspector general that he feared 'if we put U.S. military personnel on the Capitol, I would have created the greatest Constitutional crisis probably since the Civil War,'" noted Ryan Goodman and Justin Hendrix. "In congressional testimony, he said he was also cognizant of 'fears that the President would invoke the Insurrection Act to politicize the military in an anti-democratic manner' and that 'factored into my decisions regarding the appropriate and limited use of our Armed Forces to support civilian law enforcement during the Electoral College certification.'"

"It’s now clear that such concerns were shared by General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as former CIA Director and at the time Secretary of State Mike Pompeo," the report continued. "Before Nov. 3, Milley and Pompeo confided in one another that they had a persistent worry Trump would try to use the military in an attempt to hold onto power if he lost the election, the Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker reported. 'This military’s not going to be used,' Milley assured Pompeo."

Previous reports have suggested that experts believe a "lack of preparation" also played a role in the delay, as well as a desire to not repeat a controversial clash with protesters at the White House the year before.

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