Former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller told the House Oversight Committee that he limited deployment of National Guard Troops at the Capitol on Jan 6 because of the “media hysteria” over the possibility of a military coup.
“My concerns regarding the appropriate and limited use of the military in domestic matters were heightened by commentary in the media about the possibility of a military coup or that advisors to the President were advocating the declaration of martial law,” Miller told the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
“I was also cognizant of the fears promulgated by many about the prior use of the military in the June 2020 response to the protests near the White House and fears that the President would invoke the Insurrection Act to politicize the military in an anti-democratic manner,” Miller said.
Miller told the committee he was concerned before the insurrection that sending troops to the Capitol could fan fears of a military coup and cause a repeat of the deadly Kent State shootings in 1970.
In written remarks prepared before his testimony, Miller blamed former President Donald Trump for encouraging the deadly attack at the Capitol during his “Stop the Steal” rally. However, during the hearing, he attempted to walk back those comments saying that he had “reassessed” and [Trump was] “not the unitary factor at all.”
Rep. Stephen Lynch called him out on his reversal. “For your written testimony for today, for today, this morning, you stated the following about the president, quote, ‘I personally believe his comments encouraged the protesters that day.’”
Miller went on to say that he didn’t speak to Trump at all during the Jan. 6 attack. But that he didn’t need to because “I had all the authority I needed from the president to fulfill my constitutional duties.”