＞Today the Washington Post published excerpts from a new book by reporters Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker describing how U.S. military leaders, including Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, worried President Trump might call on the armed forces to decide the outcome of the 2020 election.
So, Milley and other military's fears about what President Trump was capable of, about the lack of confidence in his decision-making really accelerated when Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. That was in early November, when Trump was threatening to fire other senior officials, including CIA Director Gina Haspel, and when he installed loyalists to run the Pentagon.
Current and former officials I talk to say those loyalists pursued policy changes, traveled the world without any deliberation with other U.S. officials, without sharing details of their conversations.
And so Milley, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others, really tried to hold the line on policy. They froze out Trump loyalists. They were feared — they feared that those policies would be made on the back of envelopes. They feared that some of those loyalists might start a war even.
And they feared that Trump could do anything to stay in power, including perhaps creating a crisis in the U.S. that would require the deployment of the U.S. military in the U.S.
And so, as first reported by Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker, Milley compared these days to 1933, when Hitler uses an attack on the German Parliament to establish a Nazi dictatorship. Milley said: "This is a Reichstag moment."
His fear was existential. He thought they were capable of a coup. He said: "They're not going to F'ing succeed. You can't do this without the military. You can't do this without the CIA and the FBI. We're the guys with the guns."
Perhaps it goes without saying, but the thought of the president's chief military adviser thinking that the president was capable of creating a coup is remarkable.