General Mark Milley, the top U.S. military officer, on Tuesday staunchly defended calls with his Chinese counterpart that have raised Republican demands for his resignation, saying he had been aiming to ease tension with Beijing and not to "usurp authority."
"At no time was I attempting to change or influence the process, usurp authority, or insert myself into the chain of command," Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"I know, I am certain, that President [Donald] Trump did not intend on attacking the Chinese," Milley said.
Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called General Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army on Oct. 30, 2020 and again on Jan. 8. Milley said he sought to assure Li the United States was stable and was not going to attack following "concerning intelligence" indicating Chinese concerns of a possible U.S. strike.
This report contains material from Reuters.
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