Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied that Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed him that he had told his Chinese counterpart that he would alert the Chinese of any impending attack in the last days of the Trump administration, saying that if Milley had, it would have been ''a real problem.''
Pompeo's comments to ''The Megyn Kelly Show'' on SiriusXM satellite radio on Wednesday directly rebutted Milley's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, in which he defended reports in the book ''Peril'' about the final days of the Trump administration.
The book claimed that Milley called his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng, on Jan. 8 and — attempting to ease that country's concern about a possible military strike — told him he would notify him of any impending action.
Milley testified that Pompeo and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows were aware of the phone call.
''If he in fact said, 'We will not attack you until we warn you,' that's just nutty, right?'' Pompeo said. ''That's just … it's certain that he did not tell Chief Meadows or I that because — I don't know if he told us, he thinks he told us, on the same phone call, but I can promise you that Chief Meadows would have called me immediately and said, 'Hey, we got a real problem here.'
''And if I had of heard it, I would've gone high and right. I'd be very surprised if that's precisely how Gen. Milley told the Chinese that. I worked with Gen. Milley enough. But if he told [authors Bob] Woodward and [Robert] Costa that he said that, this is something he has to account for. That would be deeply inconsistent with his responsibilities.''
Pompeo also disputed the claim in a Yahoo story based on anonymous sources that the U.S. was concocting a plot to assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
While Pompeo acknowledged that parts of the story, such as that the U.S. government was working to prevent disclosure of classified information, were true, he denied that included plotting to kill Assange.
''Makes for pretty good fiction,'' he said. ''They should write such a novel.
''Did we ever engage in activity that was inconsistent with U.S. law? You know the rules here. You know precisely how the CIA operates, in the sense of we're not permitted by U.S. law to conduct assassinations.
''We never acted in a way that was inconsistent with that, nor did we ever circumvent — there's some suggestion in this article that we circumvented the lawyers to conduct these kinds of rogue campaigns.''
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