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‘The idea … is crazy’: National Guard official says Mark Milley’s jan 6. warnings led to deployment delay


Daily Caller News Foundation

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s fretting former president Donald Trump would commandeer the military for political reasons, warning of a “Reichstag moment,” influenced senior Army leaders to delay deploying the National Guard to quell the Jan. 6 riots, a witness told Congress during a hearing Wednesday.

Four current and former leaders of the Washington, D.C. National Guard testified to a panel from the House Committee on Administration, alleging two senior Army general lied about their failure to give an order rushing National Guard troops to secure the capitol grounds as rioting escalated. Retired Col. Earl Matthews, then chief legal adviser to the D.C. National Guard, accused Milley of “impeding the ability of the president” with disparaging comments heralding a potential coup attempt that influenced key Army leaders against ordering troops close to the capitol.

“The conditions were set by this talk of a ‘Reichstag moment,’” Matthews said. “The idea that, let me be frank about it, that a bunch of black kids in the D.C. Guard are going to usurp the election for Trump is crazy, but that’s what they were talking about.”

Matthews agreed Department of Defense (DOD) leaders did not have nefarious intentions in delaying action.

“The people who ran the Army are very close associates of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They owe their positions to him and he was not … there are books about how Chairman Milley was impeding the ability of the president,” Matthews said.

Milley, then the highest-ranking military officer and adviser to the president, apparently feared Trump was inciting domestic unrest as a pretext to invoke the Insurrection Act and bring out the military to restore order, testimony shows.

“I was concerned that there could have been a serious overseas crisis at a moment in time in combination with serious domestic violence that could become the predicate for something that probably was extrajudicial or unconstitutional,” Milley told the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 riots in November 2021.

“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley reportedly told his staff, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker wrote in their book “I Alone Can Fix It,” which is allegedly based on interviews with Milley and others, according to CNN. “The gospel of the Führer,” he allegedly said.


Army Gen. Walter Piatt did express concern about the optics of deploying Guard troops near the Capitol in a 2:30 p.m. call with D.C. government leaders, U.S. Capitol Police Chief and D.C. National Guard leaders, Matthews said.

Matthews said he spoke to both Gen. Charles Flynn and Piatt at that call, his written testimony stated.

The Department of Defense Inspector General report released in November 2021 attributed the delay to National Guard Maj. Gen. William Walker’s failure to plan for moving the guard, and local law enforcement leaders who did not knowwhat they needed the Guard to do, according to Matthews.

The delay was the “result of an overcautious, reluctant, hesitant … leadership. I think they were concerned about the optics, the political optics of a military presence here and I don’t think they trusted the commander in chief,” Matthews said.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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