Trump acting Defense Secretary says he “did not” authorize Milley China calls, says he should resign

According to a new exclusive report from Fox News “former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who led the Pentagon from the period after the 2020 election through Inauguration Day, said that he “did not and would not ever authorize” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to have “secret” calls with his Chinese counterpart, describing the allegations as a “disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination,” and calling on him to resign “immediately.””

Miller said in a statement to Fox News the United States Armed Forces, from its inception, has “operated under the inviolable principle of civilian control of the military.”

“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest-ranking military officer whose sole role is providing military-specific advice to the president, and by law is prohibited from exercising executive authority to command forces,” Miller said. “The chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense, not through the Chairman.”

Miller went on to reference the allegations, which are included in the book “Peril,” co-written by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, that Milley made two secret phone calls, both to his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army. The book alleges that the phone calls took place prior to the 2020 presidential election, on Oct. 30, 2020, and then two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, on Jan. 8, 2021.

Per the report:

The book claims Milley contacted Li after he had reviewed intelligence that suggested Chinese officials believed the United States was planning an attack on China amid military exercises in the South China Sea. The authors of the book also claim Milley contacted Li a second time to reassure him that the U.S. would not make any type of advances or attack China in any form, as Milley promised, “We are 100% steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”

But Fox News spoke with multiple individuals who were in the room during the two phone calls Milley had with Li. The calls, in October, were coordinated with then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s office. 

“They were not secret,” a U.S. official told Fox News about the calls, which took place over video teleconference. 

Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler has confirmed Gen. Milley had calls with China.

“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia,” Butler said.

‘These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflicts,” he continues.

His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability,” Butler adds.