Former Pentagon chief: Trump gave no order to prepare troops before Jan. 6

Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller told the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol that then-President Trump gave no orders to prepare troops before that day.

In testimony shared by the committee Tuesday evening, Miller was asked about an assertion made by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that as many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be “on the ready” that day.

Miller, who was serving in the top Defense Department role in an acting capacity, said he was “never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature.”

“Obviously, we had plans for activating more folks, but that was not anything more than contingency planning,” he added. “There was no official message traffic or anything of that nature.”

Trump and his allies have insisted that he made orders to have National Guard troops ready before Jan. 6.

Miller was specifically responding to a claim Meadows made in a Fox News interview a month after the riot, in which he implied that Trump was “very vocal” in making sure there were “plenty of National Guard.”

“As many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be on the ready by the secretary of Defense. That was a direct order from President Trump. And yet here’s what we see is, there’s all kinds of blame going around, but yet not a whole lot of accountability,” Meadows said at the time.

When specifically asked about whether there was a direct order from Trump to have Guard troops ready, Miller confirmed there was not.

“There was no order from the president,” he told the House select committee.

The testimony comes a week after the panel held its final public hearing of the summer, making the case that the former president chose not to act during more than three hours of the Capitol siege.

At the hearing last week the committee shared testimony from Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recalled how he felt about Trump not issuing orders to deploy Guard troops.   

“You’re the commander in chief. You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America,” Milley said. “And there’s nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?”