Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Friday defended his calls to his Chinese counterpart in the last days of the former President Donald Trump‘s term, saying that it was a necessary action “to reassure both allies and adversaries.”

“These are routine calls in order to discuss issues of the day, to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case, in order to ensure strategic stability,” Milley told reporters who were traveling with him on a military jet Friday. “And these are perfectly within the duties and responsibilities of the chairman.”

Earlier this week, Milley had confirmed that he indeed made the calls.

Milley’s official statement came just a day after media outlets started to report about Peril, a forthcoming book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. According to the book, Milley made phone calls to his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng, reassuring him that the U.S. military would not attack China, just two days after the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.


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Following the report Tuesday, Trump released a long statement denouncing his former military adviser, calling him a “dumbass” and suggesting that Milley should be “taken immediately” and “tried for treason.”

“I assume he would be tried for TREASON in that he would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the President’s back and telling China that he would be giving them notification “of an attack.” Can’t do that!” Trump said in a statement. 

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