Author Bob Woodward said Tuesday on CNN’s “The Lead” that General Mark Milley feared former President Donald Trump could have caused a “Pearl Harbor” with China in the last days of his presidency.
Anchor Jake Tapper said, “When Milley hung up, you write, he was convinced the situation was grave. General Li, Milley’s Chinese counterpart, remained unusually rattled, putting the two nations on the knife-edge of disaster. From your reporting, how close was the U.S. to some military conflict?”
Woodward said, “Well, Milley’s whole point in this is that miscommunication is the seed of war.”
Tapper asked, “Do you think if General Milley, based on your reporting, had not made that call, had not made that effort to convince General Li, his counterpart, not to overreact, do you think it’s possible that something might have happened?”
Woodward said, “Milley felt that’s the case. And if you look at this and you go to the environment, the first call was October 30, four days before the election, the most contentious election in modern history, and Trump was out there accusing China. It’s the China virus. He was saying things about the election. And all of a sudden, you get, which Milley acknowledged today, very sensitive intelligence that the Chinese think we’re going to attack them. That is the disaster environment for somebody in the military.”
He continued, “As Milley told his senior staff, you might wind up getting a Pearl Harbor where someone will make the first move. We don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t done this, but if you look at — these are reasonable precautions. We found no evidence, and Bob Costa and I had months to look at this, that Milley had done anything other than what he felt in a crisis moment was, I’m going to do the maximum amount to protect the country.”
Woodward added, “When this is all washed out, those who are saying that General Milley actually was treasonous in what he did, I think are going to owe the general an apology.”
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