Bob Woodward claimed during a Monday night appearance on MSNBC that Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley’s calls to his Chinese counterpart in the final months of the Trump administration, which he detailed in his upcoming book, were “in the interest of protecting the country.”
In two secret phone calls that took place before the 2020 election and after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, Milley allegedly assured Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the U.S. would not strike China and he would warn the Chinese in case of an attack, according to the upcoming book “Peril” authored by Woodward and fellow journalist Robert Costa.
Milley also allegedly subverted the nuclear chain of command and civilian control of the military by taking secret action to prevent former President Donald Trump from using nuclear weapons after the Capitol riot, according to the book.
Woodward appeared to suggest during his appearance on MSNBC’s “The Last Word” that Milley’s calls to his Chinese counterpart, which were not disclosed to Trump, were justified because “sensitive intelligence” prior to the 2020 election indicated Beijing thought the U.S. was “going to launch an attack on them.”
“Our reporting? Zero evidence, absolutely zero evidence of some sort of treason or the idea of doing something not in the interest of protecting the country,” Bob Woodward says about General Milley. pic.twitter.com/SwdbKlAhNC
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 21, 2021
“I think at the center of all of this we should say the reporting we did shows that everything Milley did was to protect the country,” he told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. “The idea that he committed treason is totally unsupported by — I mean, there is just nothing in our reporting.” (RELATED: Gen. Milley Says Allegedly Secret Phone Calls With China Were ‘Perfectly Within’ His ‘Duties And Responsibilities’)
“And when he says to General Li, head of the Chinese military, if we are going to attack you, I will call you … he’s saying not that he’s going to tip him off, but the tensions will build up. This is the way it always happened in history,” he continued.
Milley has faced sharp criticism since his alleged actions were first reported last week. Trump ripped the general as a “dumbass” and said the alleged calls to China would constitute “treason” if true. But liberals have praised him as a “patriot” for purportedly stopping Trump from taking military action.
“Our reporting, zero evidence, absolutely zero evidence of some sort of treason or the idea of doing something not in the interest of protecting the country,” Woodward said in response to the criticism of Milley.