Update: Leaked audio of the Trump conversation on June 26 revealed that the Pentagon had actually planned to attack Iran, and not China.
On pages 15 and 16 of the indictment, prosecutors detail a conversation between Trump, a writer, a publisher and two of his staffers. Based on the timing, July 2021, and other circumstances of the conversation, it’s likely that Trump was talking to Bob Woodward about Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Around the final days of Trump’s presidency, Milley had supposedly feared that the president might attack China. Milley secretly contacted Gen. Li Zuocheng, the head of China’s military on two occasions to apprise him of developments in Washington, and to assure him that steps were being taken to prevent that possibility, according to Woodward’s book on the matter, Peril.
But according to the indictment, Trump told a journalist that it was Milley and the Pentagon who were behind secret plans to attack a country.
“Look was I found: This was [the Senior Military Official’s] plan of attack. Read and just show … it’s interesting,” Trump allegedly said, according to the indictment.
“He said that I wanted to attack [Country A]. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look: This was him. They presented me this—this is off the record, but—they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.”
Later, Trump allegedly said, “This totally wins my case, you know … Except it is, like, highly confidential.”
Prosecutors used this conversation to support their case that he mishandled classified documents. Indeed, Trump allegedly admitted to the journalist that the secret Milley plan to attack the country was classified, and that he could no longer declassify it.
However, observers noted the much deeper implications of this conversation. Trump was the first president in decades to keep the U.S. out of new wars, and this conversation indicates that he had no plans to attack China—and that it was, in fact, his own Pentagon planning the attack.
“General Milley falsely claimed that Trump wanted to attack China. Trump cleared his name by proving it was Milley who wanted war,” said conservative commentator Mike Cernovich.
“This is the real reason they want to take out Trump, and will stop at nothing to do so.”
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.