Former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller is expected to tell Congress Wednesday that he was concerned sending US troops to Capitol on January 6 would have encouraged the conspiracy of a possible “military coup,” according to his prepared testimony obtained by CNN.
Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, at the same hearing, will reaffirm that the Justice Department did not find evidence of widespread voter fraud that could have changed the outcome of the 2020 election.
Miller, who is scheduled to testify publicly for the first time about the insurrection, also maintains that if he had sent troops to the Capitol any time before noon that day it would have “created the biggest constitutional crisis since Watergate,” according to a source familiar with his thinking. The military has been criticized for not responding faster to aid US Capitol Police in pushing back protestors.
“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,” his prepared testimony for the House Oversight Committee states.
“I was also cognizant of the fears promulgated by many about the prior use of the military in the June 2020 response to protests near the White House and fears that the President would invoke the Insurrection Act to politicize the military in an anti-democratic manner,” Miller’s prepared remarks add.
Miller maintains that no such military coup was ever going to occur under his 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,” his remarks say.
No evidence of voter fraud
Rosen’s testimony is coming the same day House Republicans are preparing to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from GOP leadership after she publicly challenged former President Donald Trump’s lies about the election being stolen from him.
“During my tenure, DOJ maintained the position publicly announced previously that the Department had been presented with no evidence of widespread voter fraud at a scale sufficient to change the outcome of the 2020 election, that it would not participate in any campaign’s or political party’s legal challenges to the certification of the Electoral College votes, and that there would be an orderly and peaceful transfer of power under the Constitution,” Rosen plans to say, according to his prepared remarks.
Rosen took over for Attorney General William Barr, who left in December 2020 amid clashes with Trump over the Justice Department’s investigation into alleged voter fraud.
Rosen says in his testimony that during his brief tenure leading the Justice Department, “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.”
Rosen will also defend the Justice Department’s actions on January 6, saying that federal agencies responded quickly to the Capitol when they were requested, including more than 500 federal agents and officers, and helped eventually restore order so Congress could finish tallying the Electoral College votes that night.
“Although the storming of the Capitol was a tragic episode in our nation’s history, I take some comfort in the resilience of our institutions in the face of such an attack, as demonstrated by Congress’s ability to reconvene and fulfill its constitutional duties just hours after the breach,” Rosen says in his prepared remarks.
He adds that he believed the Justice Department was “reasonably prepared for contingencies” before the January 6 attack, while noting there was “uncertainty” over how many people would take part in the demonstrations that led to the insurrection at the Capitol.
This story has been updated with additional information on the hearing.