The November 11 memo, based on the authors, had been secretly drafted by two Trump loyalists and by no means went by the conventional course of for a army directive — the secretary of protection, national security adviser and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs had all by no means seen it. Unpredictable, impulsive, Trump had completed an finish run round his entire national security crew.
Woodward and Costa reproduced the memo in “Peril.” The directive was titled, “Memorandum for the Acting Secretary of Defense: Withdrawal from Somalia and Afghanistan,” and the memo learn: “I hereby direct you to withdraw all US forces from the Federal Republic of Somalia no later than 31 December 2020 and from the Islamic Republican of Afghanistan no later than 15 January 2021. Inform all allied and partner forces of the directives. Please confirm receipt of this order.”
Milley studied the memo and introduced he was heading to the White House to confront Trump.
“This is really fucked up and I’m going to see the President. I’m heading over. You guys can come or not,” Milley informed Miller and Patel, who joined him on the journey throughout the Potomac, based on the book.
At the White House, the three males paid a shock go to to national security adviser Robert O’Brien and confirmed him the signed memo.
“How did this happen?” Milley requested O’Brien, based on the book. “Was there any process here at all? How does a president do this?”
O’Brien appeared on the memo and mentioned, “I have no idea,” based on the authors.
“What do you mean you have no idea? You’re the national security adviser to the President?” Milley responded. “And the secretary of defense didn’t know about this? And the chief of staff to the secretary of defense didn’t know about this? The chairman didn’t know. How the hell does this happen?”
O’Brien took the memo and left. While the officers had briefly debated whether or not the memo may very well be a forgery, Trump confirmed to O’Brien that he had signed it.
“Mr. President, you’ve got to have a meeting with the principals,” O’Brien informed Trump, based on the book, which Trump agreed to do and the directive was withdrawn.
It was “effectively a rogue memo and had no standing,” Woodward and Costa write. “All right,” O’Brien mentioned when he returned to his workplace. “We’ve already taken care of this. It was a mistake. The memo was nullified.”
“If I were now President, the world would find that our withdrawal from Afghanistan would be a conditions-based withdrawal,” Trump mentioned in a press release final month because the Taliban closed in on Kabul. “I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable.”
Woodward and Costa write in “Peril” that the memo was additionally one of many causes Milley was involved Trump might go rogue after the November election, and prompted Milley after the January 6 rebellion to take steps to attempt to restrict Trump from launching army strikes or nuclear weapons until he was consulted.
Eventually, Milley, Miller and Patel left the White House. They by no means noticed the President that day, however after the January 6 assault on the Capitol, Woodward and Costa write that Milley “felt no absolute certainty that the military could control or trust Trump.” Milley “believed it was his job as the senior military officer to think the unthinkable, take any and all necessary precautions.”