The January 6 committee’s latest attempt at a smoking gun appeared to only further cloud the facts Tuesday when the testimony of former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller was released that seemingly contradicted previous statements.
In seeking to recommend criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for allegedly “inciting an insurrection” on Jan. 6, 2021, when the U.S. Capitol was breached, the select committee has sought to provide concrete evidence of intent from the president. To counter that narrative, Trump has often referred to his recommendation for use of the National Guard to ensure the safety of all that had flocked to Washington, D.C. the day the 2020 presidential election was being certified.
Tuesday evening, the Jan. 6 committee released testimony from Miller “To remove any doubt,” that this did not happen stating on social media, “Not only did Donald Trump fail to contact his Secretary of Defense on January 6th (as shown in our hearing), Trump also failed to give any order prior to January 6 to deploy the military to protect the Capitol.”
In the audio, an interviewer begins by referencing a statement from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Fox News in the weeks following Jan. 6, “In February 2021 Mark Meadows said on Fox News that, ‘Even in January, that was a given as many as 10,000 National Guard Troops were told to be on the ready by the secretary of defense.’ Is there any accuracy to that statement?”
“I’m not — not from my perspective,” Miller replied. “I was never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature. So I was surprised by seeing that publicly. But I don’t know the context or even where it was.”
“So, no, there was — obviously we had plans for activating more folks,” he went on, “but that was not anything more than contingency planning. There was no official message traffic or anything of that nature regarding-”
The interviewer sharply cut in to make clear the point, “So, just so we’re clear, you did not have 10,000 troops, ‘to be on the ready’ for January 6 prior to January 6?”
“A nonmilitary person probably could have some sort of weird interpretation,” Miller contended, “but no…That was not part of my plan or the Department of Defense’s plan.”
The release of this testimony has come on the heels of the publication of a Pentagon memo that recounted a meeting on Jan. 3, 2021, with Trump, Miller and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where the acting SecDef appeared to take responsibility for safety ahead of Jan. 6 as the president urged him to “ensure sufficient National Guard or Soldiers would be there to make sure it was a safe event.”
That memo read, “Mr. Miller and GEN Milley met with the President at the White House at 5:30 p.m. The primary topic they discussed was unrelated to the scheduled rally. GEN Milley told us that at the end of the meeting, the President told Mr. Miller that there would be a large number of protestors on January 6, 2021, and Mr. Miller should ensure sufficient National Guard or Soldiers would be there to make sure it was a safe event. Gen. Milley told us that Mr. Miller responded, ‘We’ve got a plan and we’ve got it covered.'”
Miller followed this up with an appearance on Fox News’s “Hannity” where, after his chief of staff Kash Patel said, “It’s not one of those meetings you forget. The Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States Mark Meadows, and the President of the United States himself in the Oval Office talk about some of the most serious national security threats we were facing and then we pivoted to setting up for Jan. 6th. Mr. Trump unequivocally authorized up to 20,000 National Guardsmen and women for us to utilize should the second part of the law, the requests comes in. But as you highlighted, those requests did not come in,” the former SecDef corroborated the statement.
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“Absolutely, Sean,” Miller told Hannity after the host asked if he had made these assertions “under oath, under threat, the penalty of perjury?”
“And to be clear, Kash brought it up best. The meeting was one of the most serious, kind of heavy meetings I’ve been in. And it was about a foreign threat that was directed toward the United States which obviously we can’t talk about for fear of ending up in jail. I kind of want to be clear. The president as we’re leaving says ‘Hey, one more thing…’ and we all sat back down and we discussed what was going on for Jan. 6th,” he went on.
“Cause I think that’s important to bring up so the opposition doesn’t get this idea that this was the purpose of the meeting. The president was doing exactly what I expect a commander in chief to do, any commander in chief to do. He was looking at the broad threat against the United States and he brought this up on his own,” Miller stated. “We did not bring it up.”
During the testimony, the interviewer asked the former SecDef one last time to clarify, “And just the rest of his statement was, ‘that was a direct order from President Trump and yet here is what we see, all kinds of blame going around but not a whole lot of accountability.’ To be crystal clear, there was no direct order from President Trump to put 10,000 troops to be on the ready for January 6, correct?”
“No, yeah, that’s correct. There was no direct — there was no order from the president,” Miller said under oath.
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