On Wednesday, Mike Pompeo, who served as both CIA Director and Secretary of State during the Trump administration, disputed Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley’s testimony in front of lawmakers this week, saying that Milley’s claims were not accurate.
Pompeo made the remarks during an interview on SiriusXM’s “The Megyn Kelly Show” with host Megyn Kelly in response to Milley’s claim that he briefed Pompeo, then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller about his call with China.
Pompeo had the following exchange with Kelly:
POMPEO: You know, I think the disconnect here, Megyn, is the subject. What was actually said. I haven’t seen General Milley knock down what Woodward and Costa wrote. Having said that, I know Woodward and Costa well enough to know that you should take everything they write with an enormous grain of salt … The fact that General Milley chose to speak with them at such great length, I find deeply troubling. But in any event, someone needs to explain what’s the disconnect. I heard what General Milley said, he actually talked about on the call with his Chinese counterparts. And I’ve read what has been reportedly going to be in this book. Those aren’t remotely the same, and I think that’s what it gets to.
I have no recollection of General Milley briefing me in the way that he described. But if he said, “Hey, I spoke with my Chinese counterparts yesterday,” that wouldn’t have been something particularly memorable. It would have been relatively ordinary course. I spoke with my Chinese counterparts from time to time as well. Every senior leader in America would do that, but it’s the substance, Megyn. This is what you got to, and what I saw some of the questions about yesterday. If he in fact said, “We will not attack you until we warn you,” that’s just nutty, right? That’s just –
KELLY: You would remember that.
POMPEO: It’s certain that he did not tell Chief Meadows or I that because – I don’t know if he told us, he thinks he told us, on the same phone call, but I can promise you that Chief Meadows would have called me immediately and said, “Hey, we got a real problem here.” And if I had of heard it, I would’ve gone high and right. I’d be very surprised if that’s precisely how General Milley told the Chinese that. I worked with General Milley enough. But if he told Woodward and Costa that he said that, this is something he has to account for, that would be deeply inconsistent with his responsibility as the senior military defense advisor to the President of United States. And it would make no tactical, operational, or strategic sense to tell the Chinese that because, in the end, it wasn’t going to be how we rolled it. It wasn’t how the Trump administration rolled. We didn’t warn our adversaries. We didn’t tell them that there would be a date certain we’d leave Afghanistan. We were very clear. We were going to use American power to protect America’s interests. And we weren’t about warning our adversaries of a potential attack if it was inconsistent with our objectives.