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Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.

Driving the news: Excerpts from "Peril" by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa detail secret phone calls in which the general assured his Chinese counterpart that Trump would not attack China and that if Trump did decide to attack, Milley would give the Chinese general a heads-up.

What he's saying: Milley said Friday such calls are done "to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability," per AP.

  • Milley said he plans to have a deeper discussion about the calls when he testifies at a Senate hearing later this month.
  • "I think it’s best that I reserve my comments on the record until I do that in front of the lawmakers who have the lawful responsibility to oversee the U.S. military," Milley told AP.
  • "I’ll go into any level of detail Congress wants to go into in a couple of weeks."

The big picture: Milley is expected to testify at a Sept. 28 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, where he will likely field questions on his actions during the final days of the Trump presidency.

  • President Biden on Wednesday expressed "great confidence" in Milley's leadership, saying "[Milley] is a patriot, he is somebody who has fidelity to the Constitution, and he has confidence in his leadership and the role he has played in his experience with him."

Go deeper: Mark Milley's crisis

Go deeper

Scoop: Milley's blunt private blame for the State Department

Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

In a classified briefing with senators on Tuesday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley directly blamed the State Department for a botched evacuation from Afghanistan, saying officials "waited too long" to order the operation out of Kabul's airport, two sources with direct knowledge of the briefing told Axios.

Why it matters: Those private remarks were far more blunt than Milley's public testimony, in which the nation's top general said the issue of whether the order should have been given earlier is an "open question that needs further exploration."

Gaming CEO calls on industry to help fight climate change

"Catalyst Black." Screenshot: Super Evil Megacorp

Gaming CEO Kristian Segerstrale is calling on leaders in his industry to take action on climate change, after completing a $1.4 million fundraising campaign this summer.

Why it matters: Gaming's pandemic-fueled boom creates an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to do some good.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign travelers will be allowed entry to the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 if they can provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a shot authorized by the World Health Organization and a negative test within three days of departure, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: The updated guidance, which exempts children under the age of 18 from the vaccine requirement, is intended to provide further clarity for airlines and foreign nationals who have been restricted from traveling to the U.S. since early 2020.

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