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Vindman calls for Milley's resignation: 'He usurped civilian authority'

The Hill logo The Hill 9/15/2021 Dominick Mastrangelo
Mark A. Milley wearing a suit and tie: Vindman calls for Milley's resignation: 'He usurped civilian authority' © Getty Images Vindman calls for Milley's resignation: 'He usurped civilian authority'

Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against former President Trump during Trump's first impeachment trial, is calling for the resignation of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who, according to a forthcoming book, moved to limit Trump's ability to call for a military strike after the Capitol riot.

"If this is true GEN Milley must resign. He usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military," Vindman tweeted on Tuesday. "It's an extremely dangerous precedent. You can't simply walk away from that."

The retired Army intelligence officer was responding to new reporting in an upcoming book about the end of Trump's presidency written by veteran journalist Bob Woodward and The Washington Post's Robert Costa.

In the book, Woodward and Costa report Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley moved to limit Trump's ability to call for a military strike or launch nuclear weapons following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The general, according to the authors, "was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies."

Two days after the attack on the Capitol, Milley reportedly gathered senior leadership at the Pentagon and told them not to take orders from anyone unless he was involved.

"No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I'm part of that procedure," Milley is reported to have said.

Trump responded to the reports about Milley's conduct before and after the election by suggesting he be tried for "treason" while casting doubt on the veracity of the claims reported in the book.

"The people that fabricated the story are sick and demented, and the people who print it are just as bad," Trump said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Vindman testified against Trump in January of 2019 about a call he listened in on between Trump and the president of Ukraine during which the former president pressured the Ukrainian leader to dig up political dirt on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden. Vindman announced his retirement from the military that summer, saying through an attorney that Trump had engaged in a "campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation" against him.

Others have called for Milley's resignation, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who suggested on Fox News Tuesday night the general was involved in "the essence of a military coup."

The Pentagon did not immediately return a request for comment.

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