Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, concerned then-President Donald Trump could "go rogue," called a secret meeting at the Pentagon two days after the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol to limit Trump's ability to launch nuclear weapons or order a dangerous military strike, according to a new book from journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
"You never know what a president's trigger point is," Gen. Milley told his members of his senior staff, the authors wrote in the new book "Peril," noting Milley, who was shaken by the violence of that day, "was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election" and was "now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies," CNN reported.
Milley told senior military officials in charge of the Pentagon's war room Jan. 8, the National Military Command Center, they were not to take orders from anyone unless he was "part of the procedure."
"Peril," which will be released Sept. 21, is about Trump's final days in office and is based on more than 200 interviews with witnesses and firsthand participants, and includes exclusive reporting about the events leading up to the incidents of Jan. 6.
It also reveals new details about the showdown between Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 5, the day before Congress was to vote on approving the Electoral College's ballots confirming President Joe Biden's victory.
Woodward and Costa used numerous records, including documents, calendars, diaries, emails, meeting notes, transcripts in the book.
It also examines the first six months of Biden's presidency, his decision to seek the White House again, and his push to pull troops out of Afghanistan.
According to the book, Milley feared Trump's behavior, and that was magnified by the Jan. 6 events. In addition, the authors write, the general already had spoken twice with China's top general, who was on high alert over the United States.
He also called the meeting after speaking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to a transcript of the call revealed he tried to assure her the country's nuclear weapons were safe.
"What I'm saying to you is that if they couldn't even stop him from an assault on the Capitol, who even knows what else he may do?" Pelosi said, according to the transcript. "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."
And, the book says, Milley told Pelosi he agreed with her "on everything."
He then called on National Security Agency Director and CIA Director Gina Haspel to watch everything.
"Milley was overseeing the mobilization of America's national security state without the knowledge of the American people or the rest of the world," Woodward and Costa write.
The book also reveals Milley learned Trump, just after losing the election, had signed an order to pull all troops out of Afghanistan by Jan. 15, 2021, before he left the White House. The memo was drafted by Trump loyalists, but after that, Milley was concerned Trump had tried to bypass his military advisers.
Woodward and Costa also said, after Jan. 6, Milley felt there was "no absolute certainty" Trump could be controlled or trusted by the military.
The book also has an account about how Trump refused to concede the November election, even though his closest adviser tried to calm him, and notes, after the president called loyalists, he started embracing election fraud conspiracies.
"Peril" also claims Trump pressured Pence during their Jan. 5 meeting in the Oval Office, when Pence told him he would not want any one person to have the power to overturn the election.
Trump reportedly told Pence, "I don't want to be your friend anymore if you don't do this," and then called Pence the morning of Jan. 6, telling him that if he didn't stop the confirmation, "I picked the wrong man four years ago."
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