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Former SecDef Miller says he did not approve calls to China defense chief; says Milley should resign

The calls reportedly were revealed in a forthcoming book, "Peril," by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

Updated: September 15, 2021 - 5:25pm

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The former Pentagon chief on Wednesday said he did not authorize Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to directly contact China's top military commander - contrary to Milley's claims that his conversations with Beijing were approved by defense officials.

The calls reportedly were revealed in a forthcoming book, "Peril," by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. Milley took the unprecedented actions because he was afraid Trump might go rogue and launch a nuclear strike in order to remain in office, the authors wrote. 

Christopher Miller, who was Donald Tump's acting Secretary of Defense at the time of the calls, said he "did not and would not ever authorize" the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to hold "secret" conversations with the Chinese defense chief. In a statement to Fox News, Miller said the alleged calls were a "disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination." Miller added that the chairman should resign "immediately."

Milley acknowledged in a Wednesday statement that he made the calls, describing them as both standard procedure and above board, claiming that they were consistent with his duties to convey "reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability." The alleged reassurances were to assuage Chinese fears about America's stability, according to reports.

Milley issued the statement through his press office.

"All calls from the Chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated, and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency," the statement read.

Trump was not on record as having said he planned to order a nuclear strike.

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