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'I stand by every decision': Trump's Pentagon chief testifies on military response to Capitol riot

Miller was in charge of the Pentagon during the Jan. 6 breach.

Updated: May 12, 2021 - 11:03pm

Former President Trump's top Pentagon official on Wednesday defended before Congress his decisions during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. 

"I stand by every decision I made" that day, former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller told the House Oversight committee in an often contentious hearing to examine unanswered questions about the military and security response.

Miller told lawmakers that he wanted to avoid sparking fears of a military coup, and that he was concerned about a possible repeat of the National Guard shootings at Kent State University.

"My obligation to the nation was to prevent a constitutional crisis," Miller said. 

The Defense Department has “an extremely poor record in supporting domestic law enforcement,” including the Kent State incident of 1970, when members of the Ohio National Guard shot dead four student protesters, Miller said. 

"I was committed to avoiding repeating these scenarios," he said amid sometimes angry and aggressive questioning from Democrat lawmakers.

Miller appeared for the latest of a series of hearings designed to examine events of Jan. 6 at the Capitol. Hearings so far have cited failed intelligence, poor preparation, and a delayed and inadequate response to the chaos.

"Our hearing will provide the American people the first opportunity to hear from top Trump administration officials about the catastrophic intelligence and security failures that enabled this unprecedented terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol," the committee’s chair, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

Miller appeared along with former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee.