Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will defend their actions and how their departments tried to protect the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to prepared testimony obtained by POLITICO ahead of a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Questions have been raised about the delay in approving the deployment of the National Guard to the Capitol, but Miller says he stands by “EVERY decision I made that day and the ones I made in the days following January 6. Our Nation’s Armed Forces are to be deployed for domestic law enforcement only when all civilian assets are expended and ONLY as the absolute last resort.”
In his testimony for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing, Miller also says that media commentators have mischaracterized his instructions and then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy’s guidance as hampering the ability of the Guard to respond.
“That is patently and completely false,” he says in the advance testimony. “We did not ‘disarm’ the National Guard — the request from the Mayor was for unarmed support of local law enforcement and we authorized the support she and General Walker requested,” Miller says, referring to Maj. Gen. William Walker, the commander of the D.C. National Guard, and Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Miller says that his critics don’t understand how complex it is to redeploy forces in a city like Washington and how the military should usually play a “subordinate role” to domestic law enforcement except in extreme cases.
“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,” he says.
Miller calls the work done that day by the National Guard and Army leadership an “enormous accomplishment” in their response on the afternoon of Jan. 6, praising them as working “effectively and quickly.”
He says that his worries about limiting the use of the military in domestic matters were “heightened” by some in the media saying that a military coup was possible or that then-President Donald Trump’s advisers were advocating declaring martial law.
“No such thing was going to occur on my watch but these concerns, and hysteria about them, nonetheless factored into my decisions regarding the appropriate and limited use of our Armed Forces to support civilian law enforcement during the Electoral College certification,” he says. “My obligation to the Nation was to prevent a constitutional crisis.”
Miller also says he stood by his periodic comments that he’s given to the media that Trump had encouraged the protesters on Jan. 6, but says he couldn’t make “an official assessment of his responsibility” for the riot that happened that day. He also says that Trump had no involvement in Defense Department efforts on Jan. 6 and that, indeed, Trump had told him a few days earlier to give Bowser the help that she had asked for.
Rosen’s prepared testimony, meanwhile, says that he believes that the Department of Justice had adequately prepared for the contingencies ahead of Jan. 6, even though there was “considerable uncertainty” about the number of people who were going to come to Washington, who they were, and what they would actually do. He notes that more than 500 Justice Department employees were sent to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to restore order.
Rosen also says he had fulfilled his obligation to follow the rule of law and enable a peaceful and orderly transfer of power, as Trump continued to question the election’s results during his brief time as acting attorney general.
“During my tenure, no special prosecutors were appointed, whether for election fraud or otherwise; no public statements were made questioning the election; no letters were sent to State officials seeking to overturn the election results; no DOJ court actions or filings were submitted seeking to overturn election results, and the only time DOJ did file a brief it was to seek a dismissal of Representative [Louie] Gohmert’s lawsuit aiming to decertify the electoral count — and that lawsuit was dismissed, as DOJ had urged,” he says.
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