Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalist Megyn Kelly that he has “no recollection” of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley briefing him “in the way that he described” regarding the China call.
Milley, speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, said he “personally informed” Pompeo and others about the phone call to his Chinese counterpart at the end of former President Donald Trump’s presidency.
The phone calls were reported in the book “Peril” by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and reporter Robert Costa, and the duo suggested Milley secretly promised to warn China in the event the U.S. was preparing a military strike.
“I have no recollection of General Milley briefing me in the way that he described,” Pompeo told Kelly on her SiriusXM show “The Megyn Kelly Show,” adding that the “disconnect” is the “subject” of “what was actually said.” (RELATED: Milley Spokesperson Denies Wrongdoing Over Allegations That He Secretly Spoke With China At End Of Trump Administration)
Pompeo also knocked down Woodward and Costa’s reporting, claiming he knows them “well enough to know that you should take everything they write with an enormous grain of salt.” He said it was “deeply troubling” that Milley chose to speak to the duo at length. Milley confirmed during the hearing that he spoke with Woodward for the book and defended his decision to do so.
“If he [Milley] said, ‘Hey, I spoke with my Chinese counterpart yesterday,’ that wouldn’t have been something particularly memorable … But it’s the substance, Megyn, and this is what you got to,” Pompeo explained.
“If he in fact said, ‘We will not attack you until we warn you,’ that’s just nutty,” Pompeo continued. “It’s certain that he did not tell [former White House] Chief [of Staff Mark] Meadows or I that because – I don’t know if he told us, he thinks he told us, on the same phone call, but I can promise you that Chief Meadows would have called me immediately and said, ‘Hey, we got a real problem here.'”
Pompeo said he would have “gone high and right” if he’d heard Milley warn China, as the book – and Milley –claims. The former secretary of state also expressed doubt that Milley would do such a thing, calling it “deeply inconsistent with his responsibilities.”
“I’d be very surprised if that’s precisely how General Milley told the Chinese that,” Pompeo said. “I worked with General Milley enough. But if he told Woodward and Costa that he said that, this is something he has to account for, that would be deeply inconsistent with his responsibilities as a senior military advisor … to the president of the United States and it would make no tactical, operational, strategic sense.”