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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, hold a press conference on July 21. Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin defended Gen. Mark Milley Wednesday, following allegations that the latter had made plans to prevent former President Trump from staging a coup during the 2020 election, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Austin's remarks come as Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, faces criticism from conservatives over accusations presented in an upcoming book detailing the end of Trump's presidency.

  • The book reports that Milley and other military leaders discussed stopping Trump "from using U.S. troops in a way that could help him hold onto power," according to Politico.
  • Milley has yet to comment directly on the book's claims, per Politico.

What they're saying: "I’ve known the chairman for a long time. We’ve fought together. We’ve served a couple of times in the same units," Austin said, per Politico.

  • "I’m not guessing at his character. He doesn’t have a political bone in his body," Austin added.
  • "We don't arbitrate elections. That's the job of the judiciary and the legislature and the American people. It's not the job of the U.S. military."

Go deeper: Milley to Trump: "I don't expect you to understand"

Go deeper

Jul 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Milley to Trump: "I don't expect you to understand"

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The new book by The Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender — "Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost" — pinpoints the moment that the relationship between former President Trump and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley began to disintegrate.

Updated 59 mins ago - Sports

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⛳️: Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

📺: The Olympic events to watch today

🏊: Athlete spotlight — When to watch swimming star Katie Ledecky

🥋: Iranian defector defeats Iranian in taekwondo

🤖: The robot Olympics

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Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Bezos beats Branson in space billionaires' battle for attention

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Imtiyaz Shaikh (Anadolu Agency), Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos' flight into space generated more interest from the public than Richard Branson's, and both billionaires overshadowed their respective space companies.

Why it matters: Data shows an outsized public interest in the personalities at the center of the space trips, compared to the companies behind them — which could reinforce public suspicion that the ventures were partly vanity plays.