”I said, hell, I’ll call you. But we’re not going to attack you,” Milley told the House Armed Services Committee about one of his conversations with Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army.
Milley was asked about two calls he made to Li — in October 2020 before the presidential election and on Jan. 8, two days after the Capitol riot. He told members of the board that he reached out to Li to reassure him that President Donald Trump did not plan to launch a military strike. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) asked Milley if he informed Li that he would give the Chinese advance notice of an impending offensive.
Milley said there was intelligence pointing to concerns China had of a possible attack and he relayed the “persuasive” intelligence to then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and others in the Trump administration.
But Hartzler interrupted him and said she understood the intent of the call.
“Did you or did you not tell him that if we were going to attack, you’d let him know?” she pressed.
“As part of the conversation, I said, Gen. Li, there’s not going to be a war. There’s not going to be an attack between great powers, and if it was, the tensions would build up, there would be calls going back and forth from all kinds of senior officials,” the general said.
”I said, hell, I’ll call you. But we’re not going to attack you. Trust me, we’re not going to attack you. These are two great powers, and I am doing my best to transmit the president’s intent, President Trump’s intent to ensure the incident doesn’t escalate,” Milley continued. Hartzler said Milley’s actions were grounds for his resignation.
“You articulate that, that you would tell him, you would give him a call, is worthy of your resignation. I just think that’s against our country that you would call our No. 1 adversary and tell him that,” she told Milley. According to “Peril,” the book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley told Li he would give the Chinese advance warning of an attack.
Milley offered an affidavit to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday about the intelligence showing the Chinese were worried about an attack.