Woodward, Costa Insist Milley Wasn’t ‘Going Rogue’ With Calls to China

Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, the co-authors of the book “Peril,” insisted Monday that Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wasn’t “going rogue” with his calls to his Chinese counterpart before and after the November 2020 election. 

“He was reading people in throughout the national security community, trying to contain a situation and a president he believed was in serious mental decline,” Costa said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “He was not going rogue.”

In “Peril,” which will officially be released on Tuesday, Woodward and Costa outline the end of former President Donald Trump’s administration and the beginning of President Joe Biden’s. 

Milley is already under fire, including with calls for his resignation and court-martial, after previews of the book revealed that he called Chinese Gen. Li Zuocheng in October 2020 and on Jan. 8, two days after the incidents at the Capitol, to address the Chinese fears that Trump was planning a secret attack. 

According to the book, Milley told Li that “if we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

Costa, though, said Milley was “reading people in” on his conversations, and said that even though the calls were “held on a top-secret back channel, they were not secret.”

“This was not someone who was working in isolation,” said Costa, with Woodward noting that the call on Jan. 8, after the Capitol events, came at a “moment of maximum tension.”

Milley told The Associated Press last week that the calls were routine and done “to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.”

The general is scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee next week and said he will defend his actions.

Woodward on Monday also talked about a part of the book that details how Vice President Mike Pence struggled with his duties in certifying the election results on Jan. 6. 

The book says Pence contacted both former Vice President Dan Quayle and the Senate parliamentarian for advice. Quayle reportedly told Pence he knows what the law is and to “listen to the parliamentarian. That’s all you do. You have no power.”

Woodward told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that Monday that Pence was “trying to ride both horses” while doing his “constitutional duty but also keep the avenues to Trump open.”

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