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Pentagon dodges questions about Milley’s phone calls: “I can’t talk about details”

The Pentagon has refused to confirm or deny information from a new book alleging that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General. Marc Milley overstepped his power at the end of the Trump presidency.

“I can’t speak to the validity,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin when asked about the specific allegation that Milley secretly tried to prevent Trump from having the ability to launch nuclear weapons, a claim published in the new book. co-authored by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political reporter Bob Costa. “But I don’t see anything in what I’ve read that would cause concern.”

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“It is entirely appropriate that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the senior military adviser to the secretary and the president wants to see these protocols revised as often as he wishes,” Kirby said.

Kirby also declined to respond to details of another claim in the book that Milley secretly told the Chinese military that he would warn them if the United States was about to launch a strike against them.

“All I saw was the same report you saw Jen,” ​​Kirby said. “I can’t speak to the details of the conversation.”

Later in the briefing, Kirby was pressed by another reporter to find out why he was not completely denying such a “serious allegation”.

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“It’s not that I’m not denying it, I’m going to refuse to talk about specific anecdotes that are in this book, I’m not in a position to do that,” Kirby explained.

Kirby declined to say whether or not the Pentagon would release a transcript of the call in the same way as the transcript of a phone call with the President of Ukraine that the Trump administration released in response to the outcry.

“I’m definitely not going to sign up to post transcripts of conversations that took place before we took office,” Kirby said. “I can not do that.”

Former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who headed the Pentagon from the period after the 2020 election until inauguration day, said he “did not and never would allow” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to to have “secret” calls with his Chinese counterpart, calling the allegations a “shameful and unprecedented act of insubordination”, and calling on him to resign “immediately”.

Former President Trump has noted that while it is not certain that these reports are correct, the alleged actions would constitute treason if proven to be true.

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A reporter used the word “betrayal” when asking Kirby a question at Wednesday’s briefing, eliciting a dismissive response and “oh my god” comment from the Pentagon spokesperson.

A spokesperson for Milley defended the allegations of “secret” calls with his Chinese counterpart, saying the conversations are “vital” to “reducing tensions” and “avoiding unforeseen consequences or conflicts,” saying the calls have been coordinated with high-level defense officials.

“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs communicates regularly with defense chiefs around the world, including China and Russia. These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of US national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unanticipated consequences or conflicts, ”Milley’s spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said said Wednesday in a statement.

Butler said Milley’s calls “with the Chinese and others in October and January were consistent with these reassured duties and responsibilities in order to maintain strategic stability.”

President Biden Milley defended Wednesday saying he had “great confidence” in him. White House press secretary Jen Psaki added that Biden “worked alongside President Milley for nearly eight months as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and his” experience with him has been that he is a patriot. “

Fox News’s Brooke Singman and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report