'There was no order': Trump defense secretary calls BS on his Jan. 6 lie that he had 10K troops ready to deploy

'There was no order': Trump defense secretary calls BS on his Jan. 6 lie that he had 10K troops ready to deploy
The U.S. Capitol Building, Jan. 6, 2021, Tyler Merbler
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Former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller testified to the House Jan. 6 committee that former President Donald Trump never ordered 10,000 troops to be ready to deploy to the Capitol on Jan. 6 despite his repeated claims.

Trump and former chief of staff Mark Meadows previously claimed that the administration had 10,000 National Guard troops ready to deploy to the Capitol.

Miller told the committee that there was no "accuracy" to those statements in a new deposition video released by the panel on Tuesday.

"I was never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature," Miller told the committee, adding that he was "surprised by seeing that publicly" because there was "no order from the president."

Miller explained that "obviously we had plans for activating more folks but that was not anything more than contingency planning."

"There was no official message traffic or anything of that nature," he added.

Pressed again on whether the Defense Department had 10,000 troops ready for Jan. 6, Miller said that a "nonmilitary person could have some sort of weird interpretation but no, the answer to your questions is no."

"That was not part of my plan or the Department of Defense's plan," he said.

Not only did Trump not order the National Guard to be ready, but he also urged Miller to "do whatever is necessary to protect the demonstrators that were executing their constitutionally protected rights," Miller testified in May.

Meadows in an email released by the committee even suggested that the National Guard would "protect pro-Trump people."

The 10,000-troop claim has been repeatedly cited by Trump and his allies to cast blame for the deadly Capitol riot on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"Don't forget, President Trump requested increased National Guard support in the days leading up to January 6. The request was rejected — by Pelosi, by congressional leaders, including requests, by the way, from the Capitol Police chief," Fox News host Sean Hannity said while interviewing Meadows in December.

Meadows has repeatedly made the claim about the troops.

"What we also know is that President Trump wanted to make sure that the people that came, that there was a safe environment for that kind of assembly. And I've said that publicly before — the 10,000 National Guard troops that he wanted to make sure that everything was safe and secure," Meadows told Hannity at the time. "Obviously having those National Guards available, actually the reason they were able to respond when they did, was because President Trump had actually put them on alert."

Trump made the claim as early as February 28, 2021, just weeks after the riot.

"I requested … I definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen, and [said] I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready," he claimed in a Fox News interview. "They took that number. From what I understand, they gave it to the people at the Capitol, which is controlled by Pelosi. And I heard they rejected it because they didn't think it would look good. So, you know, that was a big mistake."

Trump earlier this month updated his claim, falsely writing on Truth Social that he requested up to "20,000 troops to stand guard at the Capitol."

The committee has shown copious evidence that Trump never acted or made any calls to law enforcement or military officials on Jan. 6, watching the violence play out on Fox News in his dining room instead.

Trump in a video recorded on Jan. 7, 2021, falsely claimed that he "immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement" to secure the Capitol.

The Jan. 6 committee previously released video last month of Trump of Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley revealing that it was then-Vice President Mike Pence who demanded National Guard support.

"Vice President Pence – there were two or three calls with Vice President Pence," Milley testified. "He was very animated, and he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders. There was no question about that. And I can get you the exact quotes, I guess, from some of our records somewhere. But he was very animated, very direct, very firm to Secretary Miller: Get the military down here, get the Guard down here, put down this situation, et cetera."

He added that he later received a call from Meadows urging him to "kill the narrative" that Pence was calling the shots.

"He said – this is from memory, he said: 'We have to kill the narrative that the vice president is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative, you know, that the president is still in charge and that things are steady or stable,' or words to that effect," Milley told the committee. "I immediately interpreted that as politics, politics, politics. Red flag for me, personally, no action. But I remember it distinctly. And I don't do political narratives."

Pence's national security adviser Gen. Keith Kellogg and Trump aide Nick Luna also testified that they were unaware of any requests Trump made to the National Guard or any law enforcement agency.

Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said at a hearing last month that Trump not only refused to call off his mob but "placed no call to any element of the United States government to instruct that the Capitol be defended."

"He did not call his secretary of defense on Jan. 6. He did not talk to his Attorney General. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security," Cheney added. "President Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day. And he made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets."

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