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Milley Says Pelosi Attempted to Undermine Nuclear Launch Chain of Command After Capitol Breach

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley suggested during testimony on Tuewsday before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted to undermine or otherwise interfere with the established chain of command for launching a nuclear strike following the breach of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

During his testimony, Milley, a four-star U.S. Army general, also defended a pair of phone calls with his Chinese military counterpart, explaining they were made in an effort to “cool down” tensions between the two countries as rumors of a forthcoming attack from the U.S. reportedly swirled, though former President Donald Trump has said any notion that he would launch a strike was unfounded.

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In January, Pelosi announced that she had talked to Milley about nuclear launch procedures.

“This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to Democratic colleagues. “

The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” she added.

In their new book “Peril,” authors Bob Woodward and Robert Costa wrote about the incident:

Milley told Pelosi that there were “a lot of checks in the system” to prevent Trump from going rogue, the book said.

Pelosi reportedly then told Milley: “He’s crazy. You know he’s crazy.”

“He’s crazy and what he did yesterday is further evidence of his craziness,” Pelosi added, referring to the deadly Capitol riot.

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According to the book, Milley responded, “I agree with you on everything.”

On Tuesday, the Joint Chiefs chairman discussed the conversation and provided additional details.

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“Speaker of the House Pelosi called me to inquire about the president’s ability to launch nuclear weapons,” he said, confirming the reports. “I sought to assure her that nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process.

“She was concerned and made various personal references characterizing the president. I explained to her the president is the sole nuclear launch authority and he doesn’t launch them alone and that I am not qualified to determine the mental health of the President of the United States,” he added.

Pelosi, for the record, is second in line to the presidency (behind the vice president) and is currently serving her second stint as Speaker, which could lead some to question why she would not be more familiar with presidential authorities and the nuclear launch sequence.

In any event, Milley continued, adding, “There are processes, protocols, and procedures in place and I repeatedly assured her there was no chance of an illegal, unauthorized or accidental launch.

“By presidential directive, and Secretary of Defense directive, the chairman is part of the process to ensure the president is fully informed when determining the use of the world’s deadliest weapons. By law, I’m not in the chain of command and I know that. However, by presidential directive and DOD instruction, I am in the chain of communication to fulfill my legal, statutory role as the president’s primary military advisor,” he added.

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At another point in his testimony, Milley also noted that he did not believe that Trump had any intention of attacking China.

“I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese and it is my directed responsibility — and it was my directed responsibility by the secretary — to convey that intent to the Chinese,” he told the Senate panel.

“My job at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent: stay calm, steady, and de-escalate. We are not going to attack you.”

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