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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

Some Jan. 6 witnesses spill for investigators

Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Jan. 6 Select Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Steve Bannon's refusal to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 Select Committee overshadows the fact that other key witnesses are providing reams of evidence to investigators.

Why it matters: Four years of investigative stonewalling by the Trump administration had a demoralizing effect on Democrats, leaving the impression congressional accountability is a pipe dream. The quiet compliance shows a committee investigation is still feared — and has some clout.

Tech and pickleball: 5 questions with Austin's Mellie Price

Axios Visuals. Photo courtesy of Mellie Price

Mellie Price, founder of Front Gate Tickets and co-founder of Austin startup incubator Capital Factory, joined a group of local heavy hitters to launch Major League Pickleball.

Why it matters: The league will be the highest level of competition that pickleball has ever seen, both in prize money and production value, Price told Axios. It will feature eight teams, each composed of two women and two men, who will compete in a four-day event from Nov. 5-8 for the title of Major League Pickleball Season One champions.

Trump stars in both sides' ads

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios; Screenshots: Republican super PAC (top), Democratic Governors Association (bottom)

Donald Trump is a TV star again — in political ads being run by both parties.

Why it matters: Records show millions of dollars have been spent on ads invoking Trump's name nearly a year after he lost his re-election campaign. It's more evidence of how polarizing and motivating a figure the former president remains for Democrats and Republicans alike.