- Ex-Pentagon chief Christopher Miller will defend the department’s response to the Capitol riot before the House oversight committee, reports say.
- The National Guard arrived at the Capitol more than four hours after pro-Trump supporters breached the building on January 6.
- Miller is expected to say he did not immediately deploy armed forces for fear of the possibility of a military coup.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A former Pentagon chief who served during the January 6 riot will defend the Pentagon’s delayed response to the Capitol in a congressional testimony later this week, the Associated Press and Reuters reported Tuesday
Christopher Miller, who served as acting defense secretary under former President Donald Trump on January 6, will appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday in his first public testimony about the insurrection.
Miller is expected to testify alongside former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and District of Columbia Police Chief Robert Contee III.
In prepared remarks reviewed by the AP and Reuters, Miller expressed concern over the possibility of a military coup if he deployed armed troops to respond to pro-Trump supporters storming the Capitol.
“I am keenly aware of the criticism regarding the Department of Defense’s response,” Miller’s remarks read, according to the Reuters report.
“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.”
In his remarks, Miller cites public “hysteria” as a factor in his decision of “limited use” of armed forces to “to support civilian law enforcement.”
He also wrote that the Defense Department has “an extremely poor record in supporting domestic law enforcement,” citing specific scenarios like civil rights demonstrations and protests against the Vietnam War, as well as the Kent State shootings. “And some 51 years ago, on May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops fired at demonstrators at Kent State University and killed four American civilians.”
“I was committed to avoiding repeating these scenarios,” he added.
Miller also notes that “logistical challenges” contributed to the delayed deployment of National Guard troops to the Capitol. National Guard troops arrived at the Capitol more than four hours after rioters breached the building as lawmakers worked to certify President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election.
“This isn’t a video game where you can move forces with a flick of the thumb or a movie that glosses over the logistical challenges and the time required to coordinate and synchronize with the multitude of other entities involved, or with complying with the important legal requirements involved in the use of such forces,” the remarks continue.
In his opening statement, Miller wrote that he believes Trump “encouraged the protesters that day,” but it remains unclear if the former acting defense secretary thinks the former president is responsible for the insurrection at the Capitol.