Milley becomes lightning rod

Milley has become a lightning rod for the Biden administration over new scenes revealed in “Peril,” the upcoming book by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post.

Milley, already a target for conservatives before the revelations, is facing calls for him to resign over excerpts underscoring his maneuvering during Trump’s final days in office.

But the new bombshells, including that Milley twice called his Chinese counterpart following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to assure him Trump did not have plans to attack Beijing as part of a ploy to remain in power, have sparked new calls for the general to resign.

Who wants him gone: It’s not just Trump supporters who are angered by the revelations either.

Claims in “Peril” that Milley moved to limit Trump’s ability to call for a military strike or launch nuclear weapons after the riot have brought criticism from opponents of Trump, including retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against Trump in his 2019 impeachment trial.

Vindman said Milley should resign if the reporting in “Peril” is accurate, saying on Twitter that Milley “usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military.”

But Biden backs him: While pressure on Milley and President Biden is growing, there’s no signal that the general is in danger.

Biden on Wednesday said that he had “great confidence in Gen. Milley” when asked if the general did the right thing in light of his reported actions.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also offered support, saying Biden and Milley have “worked side by side through a range of international events, and the president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism and his fidelity to our Constitution.”

Meanwhile, at the Pentagon: Press secretary John Kirby told reporters, “I’ve seen nothing in what I’ve read that would cause any concern.”

Kirby would not confirm the events in the book but said Milley, as the key military adviser to the president, would be “intimately involved in that process in providing advice and counsel” to the Defense secretary and the president in the event of any military strike.

Conservatives not pleased: The pushback has done little to quash complaints about Milley.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Milley should be fired over the “contemplation” of a leak of classified information to China and criticized the chairman for undermining the former president with his communications with China. He even suggested on Fox News on Tuesday night that Milley was involved in “the essence of a military coup.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) called for Milley to be fired, saying he doesn’t have the right or the authority “to contact our opponents in Beijing and tell them that he will inform them about any action we might take before we take it.”

But others hold off: Some other Republicans have held back from calling for Milley’s ouster, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Rep. Mike Waltz (Fla.), who instead wrote to Milley seeking answers on the phone calls to his Chinese counterpart.

The two said they wanted a  briefing “on the intelligence that led you to believe that China was concerned about a preemptive strike from the United States.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on Fox on Wednesday that the information in the book raises “serious concerns” but said some of the allegations seem “somewhat far-fetched.” But he said senators will address the concerns when Milley testifies on Capitol Hill later this month.

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