Mark A. Milley, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Army lawyer, was the “black hand” who acted outside of his legal authority in order to prevent the District of Columbia National Guard from responding to the protests. This narrative was used by the Colorado Supreme Court to strike President Donald J. Trump off the ballot.
Col. Earl G. Matthews said that Milley was “the Don Barzini” of the Deep State. Matthews is a Harvard Law School grad who served as the senior legal adviser to Maj. Gen. William J. Walker (the D.C. National Guard commanding general) from March 2018 until April 2021.
Matthews stated that Milley was the most powerful Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in history. It was Milley, all along. I didn’t know it. Milley manipulated this whole thing from the beginning.
Former Guardsman now serving in the Army Reserve said that Milley, as joint chiefs chair, had no legal authority in the chain of commands; he was just the senior military adviser to the president. Milley exploited the relationships he had with the generals that he mentored and promoted them to higher positions. He ran the Army like a feudal lord.
Matthews stated that “Milley controlled” the Army.
Mark Milley, the Army leadership, and Donald Trump were not at fault. He said that they stopped the Guard and then lied, saying the Guard was moving at sprint speed.
He said, “This is all about civilian control over the military.” “There was no one. There is no one. “I argue that Mark Milley had greater control over the D.C. Guard than Donald Trump on Jan. 6, and if Donald Trump wanted the Guard to go the Capitol, Milley would not let him do that,” he said.
Milley modeled his career after Maj. Gen. Fox Connor. This was the general who mentored Dwight D. Eisenhower, among other general officers.
He said, “When I was around him, he would always quote Fox Connor.”
“He admired Connor. He thought he was Fox Connor. So he was advancing certain generals. McConville is one. Flynn is another. Walter Piatt was another, who has worked for Milley many times,” he added.
From 2019 to 2023, retired Gen. James C. McConville will succeed Milley as Army Chief of Staff. Gen. Charles A. Flynn is the new commanding general for the U.S. Army Pacific. He is the brother of retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn. Retired Lieutenant General Walter Piatt, who was director of the Army Staff for J6, retired in 2024. His fourth star and his assignment to lead the U.S. Army Futures Command were shelved because he was worried he would not be confirmed by the Senate.
Matthews stated that Milley and Piatt’s relationship was cemented because both men were the commanding generals for the 10th Mountain Division. Through Piatt, Milley controlled the D.C. National Guard as if Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the Army, was a mere bystander.
McCarthy, he said, was a former Army Ranger Captain who deferred naturally to Milley.
The colonel stressed that it was important to realize that unlike National Guards located in states and territories, the National Guard in Washington, D.C. is directly under the control of the President. In practice, Trump as well as other presidents have delegated control of the D.C. National Guard directly to the Army Secretary.
Matthews claimed that Milley would always joke about the unique structure of command and control. “When Milley called over, he always said: ‘I have your governor on the phone,’ which meant McCarthy.”
Milley delayed D.C. National Guard response to J6
Matthews claimed he was with Walker during J6 and that the D.C. National Guard prepared to respond to the Capitol Hill crisis. However, the official Army record is not in line with what Matthews saw and experienced on the day.
He said that for most of the crisis, the Guard was told not to approach the Capitol beyond 9th Street. This is the block in which the FBI Headquarters sits.
He said that Professor William C. Banks, in his testimony before the Colorado court that led to Trump being removed from the state’s primaries ballot, relied on McCarthy’s testimony. McCarthy testified that he called Walker on Jan. 6, 2020, at 4:35 p.m. to ask him to mobilize his Guardsmen.
Matthews claimed that Walker handed over his phone as proof McCarthy had not called him.
The Army lied. He said that Walker had actually pulled the calls. “McCarthy did not have a record of the calls, so these calls didn’t even exist.”
Walker, the colonel stated, tried to correct the record in his March 2021 testimony before the House Select Committee regarding the January 6 Attack.
Walker told the committee he had watched the Metropolitan Police mobilize at 1:30 pm to support Capitol Police officers. Then Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund contacted him.
I received an urgent call at 1:49 pm from Steven Sund, then the Chief of U.S. Capitol Police, informing me that hostile rioters had breached the Capitol’s security perimeter. Chief Sund’s voice was filled with emotion as he told me that a crisis had occurred on Capitol Hill. He requested as many Guardsmen to assist as possible.
After the call at 1:49 pm with Chief Sund I immediately alerted senior Army leadership to the request. Army senior leaders informed me at 5:08 pm that the Acting Secretary for Defense had approved Chief Sund’s requests. This was three hours and nineteen minutes after I made my call to him. Guardsmen were already on buses, ready to go to the Capitol. The District of Columbia National Guard was able to reach the Capitol in less than 20 minutes, at around 5:20 pm. We helped re-establish a security perimeter on the east side of the Capitol in order to facilitate the resumption of the Joint Session.
Milley said that, despite the delay, the Pentagon responded to the Capitol Hill demonstrations in a sprint.
He said, “I’m not saying his people delayed us. But Milley is at the center of it all, making decisions. There is no doubt about that.”
Matthews spoke when he arrived with Walker at the Capitol grounds in order to observe the deployment by the Guardsmen. It was already dark and the D.C. Armory, 1.8 miles from the Capitol, had New Jersey state troopers before the D.C. Guard.
The colonel stated that the National Guard responded rapidly and effectively to George Floyd’s riots, which occurred in Washington during the summer of 2020. Guardsmen were given riot gear before J6 and instructions so they did not need to go to the armory to form up before the Capitol. “We reacted quickly to the George Floyd riots; we should have been doing the same thing on January 6.”
National Guard headquarters and facilities are sometimes called armories. This is a legacy from the forces’ roots as civilian militias that stored weapons, ammunition, and gunpowder in a single place.
Matthews claimed that when he spoke out to defend Walker’s record, he was shunned and ignored by his peers and leaders. He had little chance to earn his first star.
He said, “They lied to Congress by claiming they had moved quickly. But they hadn’t. They could have moved faster.”
“I was retaliated upon.” “That’s what the bottom line is,” he said.
He said, “I love my Army, but am thinking about resigning. I’m not quitting.” “I’m not quitting the Army, but I am thinking of resigning because I lost trust in leadership. I’m still deciding.”
Matthews: Milley is frightened by the sight of soldiers restoring order
Matthews said Milley had been emotionally scarred by his appearance in front of Washington’s St. John’s Episcopal Church with Trump the morning following leftwing protesters’ attempt to ignite the church on May 31, 2020.
Milley has apologized to Trump for his support of the arson attack on the historic House of Worship.
He said, “I can tell you that he was beaten up for being in St. John’s Church.” “It was a bit of a risk for him to say he shouldn’t have gone there because I thought that the president would fire him,” he said.
Milley said that when J6 was destroyed, he was not so concerned about kneecapping Trump or supporting the protests. Instead, he was worried about the appearance of the Army taking part in the political process.
Milley received a notice three days prior to J6. He said that all 10 former Secretaries of Defense posted an op/ed in The Washington Post, warning the Pentagon leadership not to interfere in the political process.
Matthews stated that while Walker testified the Army leadership was obsessed with their image and not the Capitol Hill demonstrations, he himself heard this from them.
McConville, McCarthy, and General Walker all stressed this to me. “We had a discussion about it – Milley also spoke about it,” he said. “They are concerned about perception.” They didn’t wish to appear as if they were working for Trump.
He said that this logic was flawed because it was the National Guard’s mission to respond to civil unrest.
The National Guard responded to the riots, even though they believed that there shouldn’t be a military presence on the Hill for the sake of democracy.
Milley and most of his crew are retired. The military must regain the confidence of the American public. But what’s happening now is not helping.