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Trump asked for troops to do 'whatever was necessary' to protect demonstrators who went on to storm the Capitol

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trump stop steal rally .JPG
Former President Donald Trump. Getty

President Donald Trump asked for National Guard troops to be deployed to protect his supporters at the rally on January 6 that culminated in hundreds of those supporters violently storming the Capitol, his former acting defense secretary told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Christopher Miller told the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday that he held a meeting with Trump on January 3, three days before the violent siege in Washington, DC, which resulted in at least five fatalities.

Miller said that Trump asked at the meeting if there had been any requests for National Guard support at the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, where Trump and his supporters would gather to make allegations of voter fraud in November's presidential election.

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Miller said he told Trump that Muriel Bowser, the mayor of the District of Columbia, had requested unarmed National Guard support for the planned demonstrations on January 5 and 6.

He said that Trump then ordered Miller to fulfill Bowser's request and told him to "do whatever was necessary to protect the demonstrators that were executing their constitutionally protected rights."

Miller and Trump were among those heavily criticized for the fact that the Pentagon took more than three hours to approve the deployment of National Guard troops to the Capitol after it was breached by the former president's supporters on January 6.

But Miller used his testimony to defend his own actions on the day. "I stand by every decision I made on January 6," he told Rep. Ro Khanna after he was asked to apologize to American citizens for his actions that day.

In Miller's written testimony to Congress, he said he had only deployed troops in areas away from the Capitol to avoid fanning conspiracy theories that the Army was involved in efforts to overturn the election. He added that doing so risked "amplifying the narrative that your Armed Forces were somehow going to be co-opted in an effort to overturn the election."

He said he approved Mayor Bowser's request on January 4 and deployed National Guard troops at 30 traffic-control points around the White House, as well as at six subway stations, to block vehicles from entering the area. He said the purpose was to "demonstrate a law enforcement presence" and "intervene, only if required, in disturbances."

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