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Trump did not have 10,000 troops ready to deploy on Jan. 6, his defense secretary says


Christopher Miller, who served as acting Defense Secretary on Jan. 6, 2021, told the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol that former President Donald Trump never gave an order to have 10,000 National Guard troops ready that day.

“Not from my perspective, I was never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature,” Miller said in the recorded deposition that the committee tweeted Tuesday. 

Rep. Liz Cheney, committee vice chair, said in the recording that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in February 2021 that 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be “on the ready” by Miller. Other Trump officials have repeated this claim since then.

Miller conceded, “a nonmilitary person probably could have some sort of weird interpretation, but no, the answer to your question is no,” when asked if there were 10,000 troops at the ready.

When asked directly if there was a direct order from Trump, Miller said, “that’s correct, there was no order from the president.”

In last week’s public hearing, the House Jan. 6 committee showed testimony from Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying that former Vice President Mike Pence was the one who ordered the National Guard to the Capitol.

“Vice President Pence – there were two or three calls with Vice President Pence,” Milley said in the recorded testimony. “He was very animated, and he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders. There was no question about that. And I can get you the exact quotes, I guess, from some of our records somewhere. But he was very animated, very direct, very firm to (Defense) Secretary Miller: Get the military down here, get the Guard down here, put down this situation, et cetera.” 

Milley also said in recorded testimony that Meadows told him they had to “kill this narrative” that the vice president was calling the shots. 

“He said – this is from memory, he said: ‘We have to kill the narrative that the vice president is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative, you know, that the president is still in charge and that things are steady or stable,’ or words to that effect,” Milley testified. “I immediately interpreted that as politics, politics, politics. Red flag for me, personally, no action. But I remember it distinctly. And I don’t do political narratives.”

The committee also showed recorded testimony of Pence’s national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, saying that he never heard of the president asking for a National Guard or law enforcement response. Kellogg said if troops were called up to help defend the Capitol, he would have heard of that. And Nick Luna, an aide to Trump, also said in recorded testimony that he was unaware of any requests Trump made to the National Guard, Pentagon, FBI, Homeland Security, Service Service or Capitol Police. 

Zak Hudak and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.





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