Donald Trump reportedly pressured Mike Pence to disrupt the official election certification process during his last days in office by telling the Vice President, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t. ”
The allegation stems from an upcoming book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, “Peril,” which is based on more than 200 interviews with people who worked in and around the former administration. CNN and the Washington Post received copies in advance.
Although Pence ultimately did not budge to stop the process, “Peril” says he tried to find a justification for agreeing to Trump’s demands and found none. The vice president oversees the congressional certification process, but the role is largely ceremonial.
Still, Trump reportedly tried to convince Pence to reverse the results by asking, “Wouldn’t it be almost cool to have that power?”
According to the book, Pence replied, “No. I did all I could and then some to find a way around this. It’s just not possible.
Trump then became agitated, shouting, “No!
“You don’t understand, Mike. You can do it. I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this, ”he said, according to the book.
Among the most poignant revelations of “Peril” are the efforts of the country’s top military general to ensure that Trump does not carry out reckless military action in the days following the Jan.6 attack on Capitol.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley feared Trump would “become a thug” and potentially use nuclear weapons or order some other type of strike, the book says, building on previous reports of concerns that Trump would do something reckless to distract from the growing problems at the end of his term. Trump had encouraged hordes of his supporters on January 6 and only reluctantly told them to leave in peace after their violent assault on Capitol Hill.
Milley “was certain,” the authors of the book write, “that Trump had entered serious mental decline as a result of the election, with Trump now almost manic, yelling at officials and building his own alternate reality on endless election conspiracies. .
On January 8, the general reportedly called a secret meeting at the Pentagon with other senior officials. He reminded them of the formal process for ordering military action, which must involve the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
“No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure, ”Milley told his officers, according to the book. He then walked around the room to confirm to each official that he understood.
On the same day, Milley reportedly contacted his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng, speaking in secret on the phone to assure him that the United States was not planning any military action against China. Milley feared Trump would unleash himself in unpredictable ways, as his bet to secure another term by claiming the election was rigged had clearly failed.
“We are 100% stable,” Milley reportedly said. “But democracy can sometimes be botched.”
In a previous phone call with Zuocheng, the general assured his counterpart that any potential attack on China would come as no surprise, according to the book.
Milley had been required to assure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) That the country’s nuclear arsenal was safe and secure following the Jan.6 attack, according to a transcript of the call obtained by the authors.
“What I’m telling you is if they couldn’t even stop him from attacking the Capitol, who even knows what else he might do?” Pelosi is said to have said in the conversation, which was previously reported. “And is there anyone in charge in the White House who did anything other than kiss her fat ass all over the place?” “
She added: “You know he’s crazy.”
Milley said he agreed with her “on everything”.
CIA Director at the time, Gina Haspel, also voiced her concerns, telling Milley: “We are on the way to a right-wing coup. The whole thing is madness. He acts like a 6 year old with a temper tantrum.
The authors of “Peril” write that Milley became determined to ensure a peaceful transition of power on January 20, when President Joe Biden was inaugurated without incident.
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