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Military

From left, Gen. Mark Milley, former Vice President Mike Pence and former President Donald Trump

Photo by The White House

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Previously released excerpts from I Alone Can Fix It, a new book by twoWashington Post reporters, indicated tension between members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Trump White House. However, additional material released by CNN takes this to a new and terrifying level. According to Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, senior military officers were so concerned that Donald Trump might drag the military into a coup, that they developed a plan to resign, one by one, rather than accept an order to take part in such a plot.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley appears to have been particularly concerned about the idea Trump might simply refuse to leave office, and that in his final days in power, he would use the military to carry out his schemes. Milley, who took part in Trump's Bible-waving stroll across Lafayette Square, was disturbed at how Trump inserted sycophants into key roles at the Pentagon following the election and saw this as a sign of an upcoming attempt to maintain power at the point of a gun.

According to the authors, Milley grew so concerned that he discussed the possibility not just with his friends, but with other generals and with members of Congress. "They may try, but they're not going to f**king succeed," Milley told his staff. "You can't do this without the military. You can't do this without the CIA and the FBI. We're the guys with the guns."

The book also indicates that Milley had specific concerns about Jan. 6. Trump's calls for supporters to come to D.C. for a "wild" event, and intelligence showing that militia members were planning to attend in numbers, left Milley fretting Trump was deliberately "stoking unrest" and that he was trying to create an incident that would justify the use of the Insurrection Act along with military force.

"This Is A Reichstag Moment"

Seeing Trump as a "classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose," Milley became convinced he'd seen this story before. With Trump calling for a "Million MAGA March" following his loss in November, Milley feared it "could be the modern American equivalent of 'brownshirts in the streets." In addition to referencing incidents in which Nazis had used violence to bring Adolf Hitler to power, Milley supposedly referenced the incident that Hitler had staged, then leveraged as a means of using violence against his enemies. "This is a Reichstag moment. The gospel of the Führer."

One of MIlley's colleagues, quoted anonymously, confirmed to him that "this is all real" and warned the general, "What they are trying to do here is overturn the government. ... You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff."

The book's revelations show a last minute scramble at the White House, with Trump clutching at every conspiracy theory and working to put in place those who might go along with a scheme to defy the outcome of the election. According to the authors, Milley was instrumental in preventing Trump from replacing FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, with Milley regarding both of those positions as pivotal to the success or failure of any coup.

According to the book, Trump's spiral into darkness was so severe that even Mike Pompeo came to Milley for a "heart to heart" talk in which he complained, "you know the crazies are taking over."

The incidents described in the book go beyond disturbing. They describe a nation well beyond the brink, with a White House actively working to position assets for an end of democracy and military leadership developing a pushback that was not at all certain of success. The revelations are terrifying enough that "shocking" seems an all-too-insubstantial term.

But there is one thing that isn't completely clear. Though the article states that the book developed from over a hundred interviews conducted by Leonnig and Rucker, it doesn't make clear when this information was known to them. If Washington Post reporters were aware in the final days of Trump's occupation of the White House, that he was plotting to keep control of the nation, shouldn't the nation have been made aware? And if there were reports that top military officials were convinced that Trump's actions following the election were intended to generate violence, shouldn't that information have been provided to case managers in Trump's second impeachment?

There are a number of upcoming books on the final awful days of Trump, and the revelations will continue. But the first question these books need to answer is why are we just hearing about this now?

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Former President Trump, left, shaking hands with General Mark Milley.

Photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret (Public domain)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump is not pleased with the reports about General Mark Milley's concern that he would attempt a coup after losing the presidential election to President Joe Biden. He lashed out at Milley in a bizarre new statement on Thursday, and it didn't take long for social media users to fire back at him.

In the statement, which included more than 400 words, the former president denied that he ever "threatened, or spoke about, to anyone, a coup of our Government," describing the allegation as "So ridiculous!"

"Sorry to inform you, but an Election is my form of 'coup,'" Trump said, "and if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley."

Trump's statement came shortly after excerpts of a forthcoming book were made public. The book, written by Washington Post writers Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, detailed Milley's alleged concerns and remarks about Trump's relentless push to overturn the presidential election. Christopher Miller, acting Defense secretary in the final days of Trump's term, has already publicly revealed that he was trying to avoid a coup in that period.

Milley likened Trump's rhetoric and falsehoods about the election to "the gospel of the Führer" and compared the former president's unwavering efforts to overturn the election as "a Reichstag moment" — referring to Adolph Hilter's 1933 attack on Germany's parliament building to solidify Nazi supremacy, according to Leonnig and Rucker's detailed report.

Trump's attempts to weaponize the military were also high on Milley's list of concerns. But despite Milley having legitimate concerns based on Trump's rhetoric and actions, the former president fired back with an insulting dig at Milley.

Taking a verbal jab at Milley's career and accolades, Trump claimed he only appointed the four-star Army general as Joint Chiefs chair "because the world's most overrated general, James Mattis, could not stand him, had no respect for him, and would not recommend him."

"To me," Trump said, "the fact that Mattis didn't like him, just like Obama didn't like him and actually fired Milley, was a good thing, not a bad thing. I often act counter to people's advice who I don't respect."

Trump's lengthy statement has caught the attention of lots of social media users. Some have even taken to Twitter to criticize the former president as they shared endless reasons why Milley's concerns were justified.