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Tag: mark milley

The 'Catastrophic' Order That Proves Trump Knew He Lost In 2020

Details, details, details and even more details. That’s what we got from the House Select Committee’s final hearing yesterday. Members of the committee were called on, one by one, to give opening statements essentially summing up what we have learned so far. Each member explored a different aspect of the committee’s long investigation, at times adding new information developed since its last hearing.

All the stuff committee members reminded us about today was based on testimony by witnesses and other evidence the committee had been able to gather. They really drilled down on testimony given by White House and campaign aides who had told Trump repeatedly that he lost the election way back in November of 2020; some aides even testified that Trump appeared to acknowledge that fact, although none were able to present documentary evidence because of Trump’s life-long allergy to saying anything in texts, emails, or in writing that could later get him in trouble.

This was part of the committee’s effort to show that throughout the months of November and December of 2020, right up until January 6 itself, Trump had known he was lying about the election having been stolen from him -- thus all his attempts to overturn the results of the election were nothing but a naked grab at power. He knew he lost, but he wanted to remain as president anyway. But as before, the committee lacked a so-called smoking gun proving it.

They’ve got one now, however. It turns out there is a document proving that Trump knew he lost the election.

It is in the form of a memo Trump signed on November 11, just eight days after the election, ordering the withdrawal of all American forces from Afghanistan and Somalia by January 15, six days before Joe Biden would take the oath as the next president of the United States.

Axios reported last year that two Trump loyalists who had nothing to do with the Department of Defense and were nowhere near being in the military chain of command drafted the memo: John McEntee, Trump’s so-called “body man;” and Douglas Macgregor, a retired lieutenant colonel once described by Washington Post columnist Max Boot as "a racist crackpot who is pro-Russia, anti-Merkel, anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican." Macgregor was nominated by Trump to be ambassador to Germany in July, 2020, but the outrage was so loud, the nomination was quickly withdrawn.

Back to the memo: Trump had promised as long ago as the primary campaign in 2016 that he would end the war in Afghanistan and withdraw all our troops engaged in conflicts overseas. He had been steadily dissuaded from doing so throughout his presidency, but not this time. Trump had been claiming he was the winner since the night of the election on November 3 and would continue his utterly unsupported claim that he had won by a landslide for the next two months.

But on November 11, 2020, exactly four days after the networks called the election for Joe Biden, obviously realizing that he had lost, Trump threw a temper tantrum and called on two untested aides to draw up his order ending our military engagements in Somalia and Afghanistan. McEntee and Macgregor were so unfamiliar with such orders, they had to consult the National Security Council to get the wording right. “Memorandum for the Acting Secretary of Defense: Withdrawal from Somalia and Afghanistan,” the memo began. “I hereby direct you to withdraw all US forces from the Federal Republic of Somalia no later than 31 December 2020 and from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan no later than 15 January 2021. Inform all allied and partner forces of the directives. Please confirm receipt of this order.”

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, who uncovered the existence of the memo while researching their book Peril, reported that when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and the newly appointed acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller saw the memo, Milley blew a gasket. “This is really fucked up and I’m going to see the President. I’m heading over. You guys can come or not,” Peril quotes Milley as telling Miller and Kash Patel, who had just been appointed chief of staff to the defense secretary. The two joined Milley at the White House, where they confronted National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and showed him the president’s order. “How did this happen?” Milley asked O’Brien, according to Peril. “Was there any process here at all? How does a president do this?”

“I have no idea,” O’Brien replied.

After Milley and Miller expressed more outrage and even discussed whether the order could be a forgery, O’Brien took the memo to the Oval Office and told Trump he had to involve “the principals” and speak to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretary of defense, at which point, Trump withdrew the order.

The committee today played testimony by Milley calling the order “odd…it is nonstandard. It is potentially dangerous. I personally thought it was militarily not feasible nor wise.” The former national security adviser to Vice President Pence, General Keith Kellogg, told the committee the memo was “catastrophic…a debacle,” referring to the consequences of Trump’s order if it had been carried out.

About 8,000 U.S. troops were still serving in a combat capacity in Afghanistan, and about 1,000 were engaged in sporadic contact with rebel forces in Somalia at the time Trump “wrote” his memo ordering all U.S. forces out of both countries. We shouldn’t be surprised that Trump would risk the lives of American soldiers, sailors, and airmen and women by ordering them to abruptly quit their stations overseas in service of his own dreams of glory, and it may be true as many military experts have observed that there is no good way to end a war you have failed to win, but still…

Woodward and Costa reproduced the memo in their book, Peril, so we know Trump’s order to pull completely out of Afghanistan and Somalia exists on paper. It’s real. It happened. At the hearing today, they even showed a witness they asked if Trump had really signed it, or had it been signed by an auto-pen. The witness had been in the Oval Office and watched Trump sign it himself.

Trump had told aides he wanted to go down in history as the president who ended the war in Afghanistan and got us out of overseas conflicts. On November 11, 2020, he knew he had a little over two months left as president, so he stomped his feet and he waved his hands and he called into the Oval Office a couple of nincompoop amateurs who had never seen a memo to the secretary of defense in their lives, and he did it. He ordered the withdrawal from Afghanistan Joe Biden would later accomplish – and for which he would be excoriated by Trump and the entire Republican Party to this day.

Although the 1/6 Committee didn’t show the memo today at its final hearing, it’s right there in black and white, all the evidence we need that Trump knew he had lost the election as early as November 11, 2020, when he threw his tantrum and signed his order.

Then he proceeded with his lies about the election, the most recent of which he bellowed at an adoring crowd of MAGA loons in Nevada four days ago. Now we can wait to see if Trump will agree to testify before the committee, where he would be under oath and doubtlessly be asked about his legion of lies, that an election was stolen from him he knew he had lost almost two years ago.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Reprinted with permission from Lucian Truscott Newsletter

Russian War Crimes 'Cannot Be Hidden,' Says Milley At NATO Meeting

By Phil Stewart

TALLINN (Reuters) -The top U.S. general on Friday said war crimes in Ukraine cannot be hidden, as Kyiv leveled fresh accusations against Russia following the discovery of a mass burial site in northeastern territory recaptured from Russian forces.

U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he would reserve judgment as media reports emerged indicating that at the site in Izium, some bodies were found with hands tied behind their backs.

"In terms of the totality of the scale (of potential war crimes), I don't know. But I would tell you that the world will discover that. War crimes cannot be hidden, especially things like mass graves," Milley told reporters traveling with him after arriving in Estonia for a NATO gathering.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Reuters in an interview that the mass burial site in Izium was proof of Russian war crimes and evidence was being collected.

"There is some evidence, and assessments are being conducted, Ukrainian and international, and this is very important for us, for the world to recognize this," he said.

Moscow has not commented on the mass burial site in Izium, which was a Russian frontline stronghold before Ukraine's counter-offensive forced its forces to flee.

The head of the pro-Russian administration which abandoned the area last week dismissed the accounts and accused Ukrainians of stage-managing atrocities.

Milley's visit to Estonia followed a trip to Israel, where, earlier in the day he visited Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial to the six million European Jews murdered in World War Two.

Milley said he was not comparing the Holocaust, in all of its enormity, to events unfolding in Ukraine.

"But having said that, war crimes, if the evidence is there, then that's necessary to discover. And it's just a poignant reminder to us, because all of us were on a trip to Israel that I don't forget -- and no one should," he said.

Kyiv's biggest European supporters, such as Baltic states like Estonia which have long called for more military aid for Ukraine, say Ukraine's battlefield successes in its counter-offensive have demonstrated the case for more support.

But the mass burial site has also raised questioned about what other discoveries may await Ukrainian troops, who hope to seize more Russian-held Ukrainian territory.

Milley lauded Ukraine's military for seizing the "strategic initiative" from Russia -- terminology suggesting that Ukraine had momentum in a war now well into its seventh month.

But Milley was cautious about making predictions. Asked whether Ukraine would be able to retake all its territory, Milley said: "The offensives are in the early stages. We're only looking at probably about two weeks so far."

"And it remains to be seen how far the Ukrainians can press this fight. So I think we'll have to wait and see how the fighting develops," he said.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; editing by Mark Porter and David Gregorio)

When Melodrama Drives News Coverage, The Truth Is Obscured

This just in: Breaking News!

If you haven't noticed, the news business thrives on melodrama: It's hardly original to observe that cable TV programming in particular runs on Showbiz values.

Two cases in point:

Some on the left have been complaining about outsized attention given the Gabby Petito murder. Why all the hubbub over a missing blonde? Media moralists demand to know. What about the many Native American women gone missing in Wyoming?

As it happens, a Governor's Taskforce on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons determined that such cases do get disproportionately less coverage in Wyoming media. But it's nothing to do with poor Gabby, whose body was found there in a National Forest campground, as virtually every media outlet in the USA has reported.

But why? Simple: Petito and the fugitive creep who seemingly killed her were already minor celebrities. They'd been posting videos of their cross-country camping trip on YouTube and Instagram. So there was plenty of video footage. Utah police who interviewed the couple after a roadside altercation provided even more.

The footage was riveting. Sad to say, the cameras loved her. Gabby Petito exuded a winsome vulnerability that people responded to. The boyfriend projected a kind of TV movie-of-the-week menace: weak and controlling, the kind of guy who hits women.

Second, her anguished family lives in New York, his in Florida, both major media markets. After he returned home without her and then vanished, a sorrowful drama was set in motion. Viewers responded emotionally, and the story acquired a momentum of its own. It's still not over.

But it's when the conventions of melodrama drive national political stories that the real trouble starts. Often enough, they too turn upon dramatic video. Consider the vexing question of "Who lost Afghanistan?" evoked by deadly chaos at the airport in Kabul—a responsibility shared by four U.S. presidents and every general who testified before Congress last week.

Footage of desperate Afghans hiding in the wheel wells of what they feared would be the last plane out, and then plunging to their deaths has dominated coverage for weeks. Millions of Americans incapable of finding Afghanistan on a world map were shocked.

As the debacle took place on Joe Biden's watch, there's no denying his responsibility. But his responsibility for what? A tougher question, all but impossible to reduce to a 15-second news clip.

Too often, creative editing comes to the rescue. Everywhere you looked last week, troubled anchors were nattering about whether Biden lied about his conversations with Pentagon advisers regarding leaving Afghanistan.

One CNN panel led by Ana Cabrera concluded that he'd denied that Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised him to keep 2500 U.S. troops there, and that was a lie.

The alleged falsehood was documented by a brief video clip from an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos:

"So no one told—your military advisers did not tell you, 'No, we should just keep 2500 troops. It's been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that'?"

"No" Biden said. "No one said that to me that I can recall."

The same truncated quote appeared many times on CNN and was employed by the New Yorker's Robin Wright to make the same point. Biden's words were in "stark contrast" to Pentagon officials' sworn testimony.

So would it shock you that the interview transcript shows that moments earlier, Biden said his advisers had been "split" about keeping solders in Kabul? In context, the president was clearly responding to the second part of the question, about keeping the country stable with 2500 troops.

Indeed, he continued directly to say "Look, George, the reason why it's been stable for a year is because the last president said, 'We're leaving.'"

And that's just a fact. In the 2020 Doha agreement, Trump promised to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan on May 1, 2021 if the Taliban would quit attacking Americans, which they did.

It also appears that none of Biden's Pentagon advisors thought Afghanistan could be pacified with so small a force. If the U.S. failed to withdraw, Gen. Milley testified, the Taliban would have restarted the fighting, "we would have needed 30,000 troops" and would have suffered "many casualties."

And that's precisely the outcome Biden told Stephanopoulos he was determined to avoid: endless war. Something Pentagon brass, in his experience, are all too fond of.

"I was present when that discussion occurred and I am confident that the President heard all the recommendations and listened to them very thoughtfully," Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of Central Command, testified. "That's all any commander can ask."

"The idea that somehow there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing," Biden also told Stephanopoulos, "I don't know how that happens."

Judging by their testimony, neither did anybody else.

Testimony By Military Chiefs Vindicates Biden's Afghan Decisions, Evacuation

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Top military leaders appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, taking questions from lawmakers about, among other topics, President Joe Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden has faced heavy criticism for the chaotic evacuation and has seen his approval numbers decline since it was carried out. But despite much of the media's framing and the Republicans' spin, Biden's actions and choices were largely vindicated by the day's testimony.

CNN, for one, didn't see it that way. It aired a segment Tuesday afternoon focusing on the fact that officials testified that they advised Biden to leave 2,500 troops in Afghanistan rather than pull out completely at the end of August, as he did. Host Jake Tapper said this contradicted Biden's remark in an ABC News interview that he hadn't acted against the generals' advice.

Since the withdrawal, many commentators in the media concluded that the chaos that resulted must be blamed on Biden. Backed by military hawks, many of whom helped launch the disastrous War on Terror in the first place, pundits grasped for concrete failures they could pin on Biden. CNN and Tapper seemed happy to latch on to this one: Biden didn't listen to the generals. And to make it worse, he lied about it.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz seized on this issue too:

But this framing of the hearing was superficial and misleading.

When Biden was asked by ABC News about reports about the generals advising him to leave troops in Afghanistan, he gave a defensive and admittedly confusing answer. At one point, he said he couldn't recall anyone giving him this advice. But he also said that the generals were "split" on the issue, directly implying that some of them had, in fact, given this advice. It was a squirrelly answer, to be sure, but it's not a major cover-up.

And the reality isn't a mystery at all. In fact, the central narrative of Biden's decision to pull out of Afghanistan was precisely that he was going against the mainstream views of the hawks in the national security community and the top military brass. Many argued that this was what made the decision bold and difficult for Biden, and it's why Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama before him were never able to leave the country, despite their stated desires to end such conflicts. Biden finally stood up to the generals.

After all, the general's advice to leave behind 2,500 troops wasn't a piece of tactical wisdom that Biden ignored. They were asking him to abandon his central policy objective on Afghanistan, which was to get out. They were also asking him to abandon the deal Trump had made in 2020 to finally leave the country.

For the media to latch on to this criticism is to give away the game so many of Biden's critics in the commentariat have played. It was a constant refrain from critics during the withdrawal that Biden's choice to leave — a highly popular position among voters — wasn't the problem; the problem was the way Biden did it. That argument completely collapses if one takes the position that the thing Biden could have done to withdraw better was not withdraw at all.

Indeed, despite the fact that so many of Biden's critics were desperate to say he botched a withdrawal that, in theory, could have been run properly, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley gave testimony completely contradicting this view.

"From an operational and tactical standpoint, [the evacuation] was successful. Strategically, the war was lost. The enemy is in Kabul," Milley said. "It was a logistical success but a strategic failure."

This is precisely what many in the media and the GOP refuse to acknowledge. The evacuation actually went off remarkably well, given the conditions it was carried out under. The military didn't expect the Afghan government to collapse as quickly as it did, but once it fell, the U.S. implemented a high-stakes plan to evacuate more than 100,000 people from a hostile country with impressive agility.

The strategic failure, such as it is, also isn't Biden's. It was a failure of the war itself, which began 20 years ago. But that fault doesn't lay with the Biden presidency. He came in with the Trump administration's agreement to leave the country already in place and with an American people who were ready to see the war end. And under his leadership, the military carried out a successful evacuation from a dismal situation.

Milley even admitted that, had the president followed his and others' advice to leave in 2,500 troops, the Afghan government wouldn't have been able to sustain itself when U.S. forces withdrew.

"The end-state probably would've been the same, no matter when you did it," he said.

And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin admitted that, had the U.S. stayed behind past August, it would have reignited the war and required more troops to be sent in:

These facts effectively demolish the mainstream criticisms of Biden on Afghanistan. The evacuation was a logistical success. The main alternative Biden was presented with by the generals was leaving 2,500 troops behind. That would've reignited war with the Taliban, required more troops, and it wouldn't have fortified the Afghan government to better resist the Taliban in the future. It would've just been kicking the can down the road, and whenever the U.S. finally decided to pull out for real, the "end-state probably would've been the same."

But Biden's critics refuse to learn these lessons, even when they're presented under oath.

There is one major criticism of Biden on Afghanistan that does have merit, though, but Republicans and members of the media rarely raise it. He was much too slow in issuing Special Immigrant Visas that were already in the pipeline for Afghans who had helped the U.S. military and wanted to leave. And he should've made it much easier for refugees of all kinds to leave the country and come to the United States. Biden was far more permissive of accepting Afghan immigrants than the Trump administration was, but not nearly to the extent demanded by the circumstances and justice.

That's a very different story from the one we're hearing. But it's what the public should know.

Hands Off General Milley — He Did Nothing Wrong

What Gen. Mark Milley has learned during his most recent years of service is what most Americans have now come to understand about former President Donald Trump. He was always a highly dysfunctional and dangerous leader, or as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi succinctly told the general, "crazy." Treating him as a "normal" president would involve unacceptable risk.

That knowledge had to be a stunning realization for a military leader raised in our country's traditions of strict civilian control of the armed services. When the civilian in control has lost control of himself — and struck many around him as unstable from the beginning — then the burden of averting disaster inevitably falls heavily on flag officers at the pinnacle of the command structure. As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appointed by Trump himself, Milley confronted the conundrum in the frenzied final days of Trump's misrule.

Anyone who judges what the JCS chairman did must take into account the ominous context of his actions.

According to Peril, the aptly titled new book by the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, tensions with China increasingly spooked top officials in the Pentagon as Election Day approached in the fall of 2020. Intelligence suggested that the Chinese military feared a U.S. military strike, ordered by Trump, who was screaming about "kung flu," which could erupt into a catastrophic conflict. Not only Milley but also then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper sent calming messages to their Chinese counterparts, urging them not to "over-read" Trump's belligerent threats during the presidential campaign.

It isn't clear whether Esper or Milley told the irrational Trump about those contacts. Milley has described the calls as "routine" and "perfectly within the duties" of his job.

The effects of their soothing outreach dissipated in the election's aftermath, when Trump's mad and bad behavior attempted the ultimate destabilization of the American order, climaxing in the attempted coup of January 6. Observing the potentially lethal mischief of a deranged president, the Chinese government went on red alert.

Woodward and Costa report that on January 8, as the full dimensions of Trump's assault on our political system emerged, Milley reached out to the Chinese leadership again. He offered assurances that Trump would not attack China and therefore China need not contemplate the launch of any preemptive or defensive attack on the U.S. The Post reporters write that Milley promised to deliver a secret warning to the Chinese if any such attack was imminent — although Axios reports a slightly different version, in which the JCS chairman says, "We'll both know if we're going to war ... there's not gonna be some surprise attack and there's no reason for you to do a preemptive strike."

At the same time, Milley sought to reinforce the safeguards within the U.S. chain of command, which are designed to prevent a nuclear strike by a crazed president who attempts to act unilaterally. Milley reiterated to top generals and admirals that they were not to undertake any military action outside those protocols that he feared Trump might attempt, perhaps through a lower-ranking officer.

Unsurprisingly, Trump is enraged by the revelation of his top general's profound sense of responsibility, which has put on public display again the utter disrespect and mistrust he engendered in every experienced official he appointed. They all knew firsthand that he was absurdly unqualified to be president, his incapacity exceeded only by his frightening arrogance. Beyond the forced displays of toadying by his Cabinet, not one person who observed him close-up thought he was competent or rational.

In Trump's cartoon presidency there were endlessly embarrassing and outrageous moments — and then there were other moments when an unstable narcissist with access to the nuclear codes could have become a threat to the world. If Trump had turned into such a menace, Milley's choices were very narrow indeed.

Milley upheld his oath out of patriotism to the highest degree, contrary to the right-wing banana republic chorus that ludicrously claims he committed "treason." Milley aimed to preserve stability and avoid crisis by following all the protocols. He retains the full confidence of President Joe Biden, for good reason.

Our flag officers are not about to follow the impulses of a real traitor like former Gen. Michael Flynn, the convicted criminal pardoned by Trump, who urged that Trump institute martial law. Gen. Mark Milley did his duty and performed under pressure with composure and honor. He is owed thanks, not insults.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

Psaki Bomb Burns Gen. Milley’s Attackers -- Including Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was bombarded by at least six reporters wanting to know if President Joe Biden has confidence in General Mark Milley, after news about a soon-to-be published book claims the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the end of the Trump presidency contacted his counterpart in China to promise the U.S. would not wage war against that country.

Donald Trump accused Gen. Milley of committing "treason" in light of the reports, and Republicans in Congress and others have demanded his resignation.

Psaki effectively nuked all the attacks on Chairman Milley, repeatedly assuring White House reporters that President Biden has "complete confidence" in his Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

But she also made certain reporters understood that while Milley was not acting beyond his role, Donald Trump was president and was "fomenting an insurrection."

"This president, this current president, who follows the Constitution, who's not fomenting an insurrection, who follows the rule of law, has complete confidence in Chairman Milley and him continuing to serve in his role."

She also smacked down the question from one reporter who asked if Milley could continue serving given how Republicans are attacking him.

"I don't think," Psaki said, that President Biden "is looking for the guidance of members of Congress who stood by while" Donald Trump, "the leader of their party, fomented an insurrection and many of them were silent."

Military Chiefs Planned Joint Resignation To Thwart Trump’s ‘Gospel Of The Fuhrer’

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?

‘If I Was Going To Do A Coup’: Trump’s Bizarre Response To Gen. Milley

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.