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Our Friday News Analysis | What the World Reads Now!
In Contempt? Trump? No! The Judge and the Attorney General!!!
The Hague, 06 October 2023 | If you know of any story that is decisive, tell the world. We're still searching.
The former president could lose his business and flagship buildings.
(Photo by Brendan McDermid-Pool/Getty Images)
By Catherine Yang
The Epoch Times
2 October 2023
NEW YORK, NEW YORK | Former US President Donald Trump appears in the courtroom with his lawyers for the start of his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on 02 October in New York City. Former President Trump may be forced to sell off his properties after Justice Arthur Engoron canceled his business certificates and ruled that he committed fraud for years while building his real estate empire after being sued by Attorney General Letitia James, seeking $250 million in damages. The trial will determine how much he and his companies will be penalized for the fraud.
Editor’s Note | Who Does the Attorney General, Letitia James, represent?
Has anyone – a person, bank, or insurance company – allegedly hurt or harmed by Mr. Trump come out of the woodwork to file a civil or criminal complaint against Mr. Trump, his sons, and his companies?
No! Not one person or organization had filed a civil or criminal complaint. Nonetheless, Ms. Letitia James anointed herself to represent all banks, insurance companies, real estate companies, and people who, in her imagination, had been hurt or harmed by the Trump brand.
Are Americans dumb?
Any fool knows that you can’t sucker a bank. Banks lend money based on state-certified appraised and secured collateral, often worth more than the loan. Before issuing the loan, banks check and double-check the appraised market value of the collateral. If they don’t, the bank is the buffoon.
The statements uttered by the judges and the attorney general are contemptible. They are accusatory and inflammatory, false and misleading.
Why is the Judge in contempt in his Court? The Judge under-valued Mr. Trump’s assets before the trial began. The Trial hadn’t even started when he rendered his pre-judgment. The Judge is not a State Certified Real Estate Appraiser.
This case has become a circus with the cart before the horse. The Judge’s first question to the Attorney General should have been: “Has anyone been financially hurt, harmed, or ruined by the alleged fraudulent acts of the Trump Family?” Otherwise, Ms. Attorney General, this case lacks legal standing, and the Judge would hypothetically tell Ms. James, “I’d have to throw this case out of my Court.” Of course, the Judge and the Attorney General must have had this conversation.
This travesty of justice will be dismissed, inevitably, by a higher court, timed around the 2024 election.
The trial begins at 10 a.m. The former president arrived with the Secret Service at about 9:30 a.m. but did not enter the courthouse immediately.
"This is a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt ever. We have a rogue judge who rules the properties are ... a fraction of what they are," he said, accusing the attorney general of running on a "Get Trump" platform and ignoring rising crime in the city. "We have a corrupt Attorney General."
He also accused the Biden administration's Department of Justice of coordinating with local prosecutors to target him.
"It's a scam. It's a sham," he said. "Just so you know, my financial statements are phenomenal," he said, adding that his net worth is higher than what is on the statements submitted. The banks "don't even know why they have to be involved" in the case because they were not hurt and had profited from his business.
"They were paid back on time, there were no defaults, there were no problems. It was like a perfect client," he said.
"This is an attempt to hurt me in [the] election," he said.
"This has never happened before, that a president of the United States leaves office and gets indicted."
"This case could have been brought years ago, but they waited until I was campaigning," he said. "They're all corrupt people."
"Frankly, the country is corrupt. That's why I'm running. We're going to straighten it out," he said.
At midnight on 2 October 2023, President Trump announced his arrival on social media.
"I'm going to Court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation against a corrupt and racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who campaigned on 'getting Trump,' and a Trump-Hating Judge who is unfair, unhinged, and vicious in his PURSUIT of me."
"He values Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, at 18 Million Dollars when it is worth 50 to 100 times that amount. His valuations are FRAUDULENT in pursuit of Election Interference, and worse. THIS WHOLE CASE IS A SHAM!!! See you in Court - Monday morning," he wrote.
"The judge, Arthur Engoron, refuses to accept our big win in the Court of Appeals, nullifying much of the case that the racist Attorney General of New York, Letitia James, has charged us with. Nobody can believe it!" President Trump wrote in a follow-up post.
He added that his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, was worth 50 to 100 times the $18 million valuation the judge quoted from a county assessor's report.
President Trump also repeated arguments that the disclaimers on all his financial documents shield him from liability. At the same time, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has ruled multiple times that they do not.
"He should resign from the 'Bench' and be sanctioned by the Courts for his abuse of power and his intentional and criminal interference with the Presidential Election of 2024, of which I am leading all candidates, both Republican & Democrat, by significant margins,"
President Trump wrote. "Likewise, Letitia James should resign for purposeful and criminal Election Interference. She knows that Mar-a-Lago and other assets are worth much more than she claims. These Democrat Operatives disgrace New York and the United States of America!"
President Trump has previously said that going against his company would be a "red line," and this case targets his family and business.
Alina Habba, a legal spokesperson for President Trump, spoke to reporters on the courthouse steps after the former president's arrival, arguing again that Justice Engoron failed to take the appeal court's June decision into account.
Justice Engoron has sided with Ms. James in saying that financial statements within the allowed period show fraud in the broader period in which Ms. James argues fraud occurred.
"This is nothing more than election interference. Democrats know that he is leading Joe Biden by wide margins, and this is the only way they can fight him," his legal team stated.
New York Attorney General Letitia James brought the case against President Trump, his adult children, and the Trump Organization after four years of investigation.
She is seeking $250 million in penalties to bar President Trump and his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. from doing business in New York State. Both of his adult sons were executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization.
Ivanka Trump was previously listed as a defendant but was dismissed after the appeals court limited the statute of limitations. She had left the organization in 2016.
The judge has already ruled against President Trump on a critical component of the case, finding him liable for fraud.
Last month, Ms. James asked Justice Engoron for a pre-trial summary judgment, or decision, on one of the seven claims—that President Trump had inflated his net worth by up to $2.2 billion, defrauding lenders and insurers.
This means that the trial will mainly deal with how much President Trump owes in penalties, including the loss of the Trump Organization.
The trial is a bench trial, decided solely by the judge and not a jury.
Justice Engoron has already exceeded Ms. James's request, ordering the Trump Organization's dissolution and related LLCs.
Last week, his order created confusion in court, and attorney Christopher Kise asked whether the dissolution of the LLCs would mean that properties needed to be sold off or just run by a neutral third party.
This would include high-profile properties such as Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street and a family estate in suburban Westchester County.
The judge consulted with his clerk before answering that he was "not prepared to issue a ruling right now," but it would be hashed out in trial.
Statement by the Attorney General
Ms. James also met reporters Monday morning before the trial.
"For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system," she said.
"We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during the trial."
"No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country," she added.
"The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to ensure it does."
What is the Side of the Story that is Not Yet Decisive? Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen.
After a New York judge ruled last month that former President Donald Trump inflated the value of his Mar-a-Lago property, some real estate professionals raised questions about the order.
“From 2011-2021, the Palm Beach County Assessor appraised the market value of Mar-a-Lago at between $18 million and $27.6 million,” Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in his ruling.
He then wrote that Mar-a-Lago, located in Palm Beach, was valued by President Trump between $426.5 million and $612 million, which the judge wrote was an "overvaluation of at least 2,300 percent, compared to the assessor’s appraisal."
In the ruling, Judge Engoron said the former president was liable for fraud. That was a central claim made in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s lawsuit against President Trump, The Trump Organization, and members of his family.
“Appraisal values and market values are just not the same thing. It’s a well-known fact,” Eli Beracha, chair of the School of Real Estate at Florida International University,” told CNN.
“That’s especially true for unique properties. And it’s straightforward to argue this is a unique property."
Dina Goldentayer, executive director of sales at Douglas Elliman in South Florida, said the tax assessor's valuation usually isn't considered when trying to value a piece of property.
“He wouldn’t make a very good realtor,” Ms. Goldentayer said of the New York judge. “It’s so widely known that it’s not an accurate determination of market value.”
She noted that Mar-a-Lago is a "trophy asset" and "in a completely different league of its own."
She said that if she were to come up with a value for Mar-a-Lago, she would hire independent appraisers and take a mixed average of the valuations and wouldn't use the tax appraiser's valuation.
“If there is a ranking as to what would have the lowest valuation, it’s the tax assessor’s office, followed by Zillow, and then the realtor’s valuation is the highest,” Ms. Goldentayer said.
Lawyers for President Trump alleged in a filing that he is 'immune from prosecution.'
Former US President Donald Trump in Windham, N.H., on Aug. 8, 2023. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
By Zachary Stieber
The Epoch Times
05 October 2023
Former President Donald Trump on Oct. 5 asked a federal judge to throw out election interference charges against him in Washington, DC.
Lawyers for President Trump alleged in a filing that he is "absolutely immune from prosecution."
Editor’s Note | No, I’m not taking sides. I can’t vote. I’m not an American citizen.
I care. Who doesn’t? The sitting President of the United States is accused of High Treason. Use your head! Would the Commander in Chief of the most powerful country on earth rely on a bunch of hooligans to spawn a rebellion? Come on! A coup d’état? Though the US Department of Justice Special Counsel cleverly worded the criminal complaint as “election interference charges,” the inference is clear. Mr. Trump allegedly spearheaded a rebellion perpetrated by hoodlums who showed their faces on all the security cameras in one of Washington's most secure and protected buildings. Preposterous!
Also, Mr. Trump should stop ranting “foul play.” These orchestrated legal actions, with military precision, have helped not hurt him in strengthening his support.
It just shows one falls into the grave dug for another.
They cited federal law, which courts have described as providing immunity for acts within the "outer perimeter" of a president's "official responsibility."
The charges presented by US Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith and approved by a grand jury are for such acts, John Lauro and other lawyers representing President Trump wrote.
"Where, as here, the president’s actions are within the ambit of his office, he is immune from prosecution," they said, alleging that President Joe Biden's administration was "breaking 234 years of precedent" with the charges.
"The incumbent administration has charged President Trump for acts that lie not just within the 'outer perimeter,' but at the heart of his official responsibilities as president. In doing so, the prosecution does not, and cannot, argue that President Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity and to advocate for the same were outside the scope of his duties," the filing states.
"Instead, the prosecution falsely claims that President Trump’s motives were impure—that he purportedly 'knew' that the widespread reports of fraud and election irregularities were untrue but sought to address them anyway. But as the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and hundreds of years of history and tradition make clear, the president’s motivations are not for the prosecution or this court to decide."
The request went to US District Judge Tonya Chutkan, appointed under President Obama.
The Department of Justice hasn't yet responded to the motion.
Judge Chutkan recently denied a request from President Trump that she recuse herself from the case over remarks she made while sentencing people for actions related to the Jan. 6, 2021, US Capitol breach.
“Judge Chutkan has, in connection with other cases, suggested that President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned,” lawyers for President Trump said.
They cited remarks she made from the bench that included the claim that people who went to the Capitol "were there in fealty, in loyalty, to one man—not to the Constitution, of which most of the people who come before me seem woefully ignorant; not to the ideals of this country; and not to the principles of democracy." She also said, "It’s a blind loyalty to one person who remains free to this day."
US officials said Judge Chutkan shouldn't recuse herself, alleging that President Trump's lawyers had "cherry-pick[ed] from portions of the court's sentencings."
Judge Chutkan said she reviewed the motion and determined there was no basis for recusal. The statements she made, she said, "certainly do not manifest a deep-seated prejudice that would make fair judgment impossible.”
The judge was randomly assigned to the case, as is typical. She is one of 12 federal judges in the district.
The former JCS chairman has complained to the press that the president duped him during the protests of 2020, but insiders tell a different story
By Seymour Hersh
05 October 2023
President Donald Trump walks with Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley, and others from the White House to visit St. John's Church after the area was cleared of people protesting the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020. / Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images.
It is no fun to criticize a four-star Army general who served his country for forty-three years, the last four as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the end—Mark Milley retired the previous week—he was a hero to many in the public and the press for his avowed support of the Constitution, but not to all of the colleagues and subordinates who worked closely with him in 2020 while serving under Donald Trump.
Milley spent enormous amounts of time in his last months in office courting favorable coverage of the end of his career from reporters and columnists who celebrated his open-door access and his increasing willingness to make public his criticisms of Trump while praising President Joe Biden’s respect for the need to keep the military out of American political life.
In return, the media paid little heed to evidence that under Milley’s stewardship, America’s confidence in its all-volunteer armed forces continued to dwindle, leading the Army and Navy to fall far short of their recruiting goals and, crucially, to fail to attract those young Americans who can work comfortably with the complex computer- and cyber-driven weapons of today.
As I learned in 2020, Milley constantly lied to the media, and perhaps to himself, about what took place inside the White House over five days in late May and early June of that year, when America was torn apart by the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police. Cell phones of passersby recorded his beating, suffocation, and death at the hands of the cops. The videos went viral. There were instant and peaceful protests and marches over the following days as millions of Americans of all races took to the streets to demand police reform. The protests inevitably drew a share of troublemakers who engaged in street fighting and looting. One video of protesters tearing down protective plywood and stealing merchandise from display windows at Macy’s in Herald Square was widely circulated, with New York’s finest a block away appearing to ignore the thievery.
And now the protest was coming to Washington. Trump was rattled. Late in the evening on Friday, May 29, with a significant rally and march planned for May 31, a small group of demonstrators from a protest at Lafayette Square, across from the White House, somehow managed to break down a fence and ended up scuffling on White House grounds with a group of Secret Service agents who arrested them. By then, the demonstrators at the park had quietly disbanded. Still, the break-in led a senior Secret Service official to order Trump, his wife, and son to take temporary refuge in the almost luxurious bomb shelter buried deep under the east wing of the White House.
It is important to note that Chairman Milley had no legal power to deploy American troops. That authority, under the statute, belonged to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. A graduate of West Point, Esper served ten years on active duty and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel after another decade in the National Guard and Army Reserve.
At the time, an official with knowledge of the state of play told me that Chairman Milley, the president’s four-star adviser on military issues, intervened as the rattled Trump demanded that he and his presidency be protected.
“The man running the White House had spent the night in a basement bunker after its security had been violated,” the official said, “and the word was out that there was a problem,” Trump called for a 7:30 meeting the following day, Saturday, May 30, in the White House’s secure situation room. Milley and Esper attended, along with Attorney General Bill Barr. Some members of Milly’s staff were also present. Trump’s issue, the official recalled, was the potential threat of the George Floyd demonstrations. “We don’t know what’s going on” was the gist of Trump’s message. “Crowds are gathering. What do we do?”
According to records of the meeting, Milley raised the issue of the 1807 Insurrection Act, a rarely used statute that permitted a sitting president to deploy combat troops within the United States to respond to civil disturbances. Milley and Esper understood that the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division, stationed at Fort Bragg (now known as Fort Liberty, in North Carolina), maintained an on-call Infantry Brigade with as many as eight hundred combat-ready soldiers who could be summoned on an emergency basis anywhere in the world.
“Milley is telling the president what he knows he wants to hear,” the official said. “He’s playing to Trump’s macho side. What could be more alluring?” However, according to the record, Barr says: “Wait a minute? You gotta understand what you’re getting into.” The 1807 statute was invoked by President Lyndon Johnson when widespread rioting broke out in Washington, Chicago, and Baltimore after the murder of Martin Luther King in 1968. Barr’s message was that America was not at that stage, and the airborne divisions of today included large numbers of black soldiers who would refuse to engage with black demonstrators. Esper, as he would throughout the crisis, supported Trump’s decision to take Milley’s advice and turn to the 82nd, whose heavily armed and, at that time, predominantly white troops had returned peace to Washington in 1968.
The official added: “It was unclear on that Saturday morning just what would happen next regarding the continuing demonstrations.” The 82nd, whose on-call troops were committed to being packed, armed, and ready for action within eighteen hours anywhere in the world. Milley argued that the White House had to prepare for any contingency. Meanwhile, according to a chronology of the day-by-day events, Esper was “beginning to rethink the issue. He would implement the reaction force if the president decided to do what Lyndon Johnson did and implement the 1807 law.” The act required Trump to invoke the law and tell America that he was doing so because of the threat from the demonstrations in Washington.
No decision was made, but following protocol, a secret alert was issued on Saturday notifying the various military commands that could be called up and the governors of states with Army Reserve units. There was another meeting in the situation room the following day. Barr—aware of Trump’s anger at the delay: he wanted the 82nd Airborne in Washington—agreed to prepare a presidential proclamation invoking the 1807 statute. But he urged at least a one-day delay in making it public “to see what happens with the demonstration.” His message was that the streets could be quiet even as marchers arrived for a June 1 rally in Lafayette Square directly across the street from the gated White House.
Milley was still pushing for action, as was Trump. Still, the senior officers running the 82nd Airborne division bravely let the White House know they were not putting their troops into another scenario like the 1970 Kent State Massacre, especially one involving demonstrations about George Floyd’s murder. The present units were 40 percent black, and all would go to Washington if ordered, but, the officers said, the troops would not be issued live ammunition or heavy weapons. They would come to the area armed only with bayonets.
“The troops and their senior officers smelled a rat,” the official told me. All American military officers take an oath of office to the Constitution, not to the president. Unlike Trump, Milley, and Esper, the generals and colonels running the 82nd Airborne understood that America was not facing an insurrection. There was another complication. At the time, some junior officers said that “the blacks would not go if there were shoot-to-kill orders.” If Milley continued to insist that the troops arrive in Washington with shoot-to-kill orders, the Trump Administration would have “two riots on its hands.”
Through all of this hesitation, the official told me, “Milley is saying”—as was an increasingly angry and frustrated Trump—“we gotta go.” He was pushing to get the proclamation issued.” He’s telling Esper that you’re letting the president down.” By this time, the official said, “Esper is totally in the thrall of Milley.”
Word of the turmoil inside the White House was relayed to a few retired senior generals, including a former JCS chairman, who tried, without success, to find a way to circumvent Milley’s willingness to bend the rules restricting the active military from participating in domestic disturbances. It was increasingly known, the involved official caustically told me, that: “Milley was blowing in the president’s ear and saying, ‘Here is where I’m going to shine.’”
On May 30, as demonstrators and marchers began flowing into Washington, there was a crucial conference call involving Trump, Milley, and Esper. What the president wanted was no secret inside the Pentagon, and it was unclear whether the crisis met the definition of insurrection set by the 1807 legislation. The notes of that conference call show that Milley told Trump precisely what he needed to hear: that there was “a battlefield situation” that justified bringing the 82nd Airborne to Washington.
The night of May 31 was marked by street assaults and looting in some business districts amid calls for a major protest on the next day in Lafayette Square. The park has been the site of anti-war protests for decades. The White House was told that protesters intended to tear down a statue of General Lafayette, a French aristocrat who volunteered to fight with George Washington’s Continental Army. Intelligence also stated that a second target was St. John’s Church in the square, where every president had visited Sunday morning services since 1816 when the church opened. A small fire did break out overnight at the church, but it was snuffed out with minor damage.
More forces were given security assignments, including a Utah Special Forces Army National Guard unit. The troops were ordered to remove their Special Forces insignia. Temporary fences to hem in the protesters were quickly put up amid reports from the FBI that a group of Antifa protesters—anti-fascists who counter the violent tactics of the far right with similar tactics of their own—would also be in the park.
The one group missing in all of this was the on-call battalion from the 82nd Airborne, which had been flown by Army helicopters and Air Force C-130 transport planes to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, an Army base twenty miles from Washington, and put on hold, as the officers running the unit awaited a go or no-go order from a White House tied up in a dispute over the 1807 law. The troops were bivouacked in a gymnasium on the base and told to wait. There was no food on the first day and only a hardwood gym floor for a night’s sleep. Ammunition, food, and bedding did arrive, but there would be no orders for the troops to come to Washington. (An Army spokesperson referred me to public statements by Secretary Esper and other senior military officials that acknowledged the movement of active duty troops into the DC area but not into the District proper.)
A similar fate befell an on-call Delta Force team alerted in response to the perceived threat to the White House. The heavily armed Army team of thirty or more covert operators was flown from their base in North Carolina to a military airfield near Washington. They were driven to the Treasury Department in downtown Washington in unmarked limousines and, in the name of presidential security, plunked into a secret tunnel that links the Treasury to the White House. The team spent the next four or five days “drinking coffee and camping out,” the official told me while waiting to be called into action to save the president and his family. The call never came.
The marches and protests on June 1 were far from violent; the crowd was dominated by hundreds of white and black families with children eager to demonstrate against police brutality. Nonetheless, the demonstrators were forcefully ordered out of the park and hurriedly and recklessly pulled away from Lafayette Square by armed members of the Secret Service and US Park Police, buttressed by Washington police, National Guardsmen, and the Army Reserve Special Forces unit from Utah with no identifying patches on their uniforms. Tear gas, rubber bullets, and low-flying helicopters were used.
A cleaning crew was collecting debris at 1 p.m. when Trump, trailed by TV cameras, led a White House delegation into the park to demonstrate that he was in control. The group included several of the president’s senior staff and family members dressed in the business attire they would wear at work in the White House. General Milley also was there, inexplicably dressed in combat fatigues. Trump displayed a Bible, wrong side up, in front of the church and scores of reporters as he took an uncharacteristic victory lap to show that he was not backing away from real or imagined threats. There was, however, much public criticism of Milley’s decision to show up in a wartime uniform. The American military has no role in political demonstrations.
Ten days later, Milley publicly apologized for his decision to wear a combat uniform in a pre-recorded video commencement address to the National Defense University in Washington. He acknowledged that his “presence in that moment and in that environment created the perception of a military involved in domestic politics.” He said his presence had “sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society. . . . It was a mistake that I have learned from.” There were subsequent stories that Milley, whose comments enraged Trump, had considered retiring but, as ABC reported, decided that he would be letting the troops down if he did so.
In the years since Milley has added details to his story in ways that dramatized his alleged anger at Trump for what he suggested was his being duped into wearing combat clothes. The general’s most detailed and passionate account of Trump’s treachery came during a lengthy valedictory profile in the Atlantic, accompanied by a portfolio of photographs. His interviews with the magazine’s editor, Jeffrey Goldberg, occurred over many months. Milley expressed his growing sense that he had been victimized by presidential treachery. At the moment of his walk, he claimed, “I didn’t realize that there was a highly charged piece of political stagecraft going on. . . . And when I did, I peeled off.” He learned from that moment that “I had to double down on ensuring that I personally—and that of the uniformed military—that we stayed clear of any political acts or anything that could be implied as being involved in politics.”
Milley added a new detail in his talks with Goldberg. He said he realized too late that Trump was “manipulating him into a visual endorsement of his martial approach to the demonstrations.” The damage to the US Army and his career was immediately apparent, and he told his security chief: “We’re getting the fuck out of here. I’m fucking done with this shit.”
Goldberg shared his subject’s view of the event. He wrote that the scene of Milley in camouflage “has been studied endlessly. What is clear is that Milley . . . walked into an ambush and Milley extracted himself as soon as he could, which was too late.”
If only that were the case.
As we have seen, what was going on was a White House horror story that began days earlier when the frightened and angered president, who had been ordered into a bunker by the Secret Service, insisted to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs that the White House had to be protected at all costs. If, as some internal intelligence reports suggested, his presidency could face a full-blown citizen insurrection, Milley was told it had to be stopped by overwhelming force.
So how do you explain his wearing of the camouflage outfit, given that four-star generals do not come to the White House in combat gear? He did so because, as I was told at the time—and again in the past few days—by the official with firsthand information, Milley was all in at the time to do whatever the president wanted.
All of this—the crisis that was not a crisis—explains why General Milley and his beautifully articulated current Come to Jesus belief in the sanctity of the American Constitution falls on deaf ears to those who know the pandering he did in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.
The last word belongs to Marine General James Mattis, who resigned as Trump’s secretary of defense after, and perhaps because President Trump had in 2019 rejected his chosen candidate to be the next chairman of the Joint Chief and gave the job instead to Milley. Mattis knew what was happening inside the White House in late May and early June 2020. A few days later, he released a public letter that made it clear to insiders how much he knew:
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ is carved into the United States Supreme Court pediment. This is what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. . . . When I joined the military fifty years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less provide a bizarre photo for an elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.
“We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.’”
The letter did not mention Milley by name, but it was all about him.
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