June 11, 2022
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said during the January 6 Select Committee hearing on Thursday that then-President Donald Trump did not call the Pentagon to request National Guard troops to address the Capitol attack, but they did not mention Trump had already approved National Guard troops.
During their first hearing on Thursday, the committee aired footage from Milley testifying to the committee that Trump never called the Pentagon that day, although the then-Vice President Mike Pence called several times and gave “very explicit, very direct, unambiguous” orders to deploy the National Guard. The insinuation was that Trump condoned the violence at the Capitol.
Neither Cheney nor Milley ever mentioned that during a January 3, 2021, meeting at the White House, the president said to give D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser the National Guard support she needed, according to then-Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller’s testimony under oath to Congress on May 2021.
Miller also testified that on January 5, Trump called him and told him that 10,000 National Guard troops would be needed for the next day.
“I took his comment to mean that a large force would be required to maintain order the following day,” Miller said.
In addition, the president, through his defense secretary, gave the Army secretary the authority he needed to deploy National Guard troops, according to a January 4, 2021, official memo.
The memo, signed by Miller and addressed to then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, said, “You are authorized to approve the requested support.” The memo laid out some guidelines for that support.
It also made clear that the D.C. National Guard was under the command of the D.C. National Guard commanding general, who was to report to the defense secretary through the Army secretary.
On January 5, 2021, Bowser acknowledged in a tweet that the D.C. National Guard was supporting the Metropolitan Police Department and made clear that the city was “not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment without immediate notification to, and consultation with, MPD if such plans are underway”:
Miller’s testimony backed up Bowser’s tweet and letter.
He said, “At the time, I had been advised by our domestic law enforcement partners that based on their experience with protests and crowd control, as well as their intelligence information, that they were confident that they had sufficient personnel assigned to maintain order.”
The committee omitting that Trump had authorized National Guard support for the D.C. mayor in advance of January 6 fit a pattern of one-sidedness during its first hearing.