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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday expressed "great confidence" in Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley after a new book said the general secretly assured his Chinese counterpart that President Trump had no plans to launch an attack.

The big picture: Details emerged that Milley told his Chinese counterpart that if Trump did decide to attack, Milley would give him a heads-up, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

  • New excerpts from "Peril" by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa report secret moves by the highest-ranking military officers to manage national security risks that they believed former President Trump posed near the end of his term.

What they're saying: "The president has worked side by side with Chairman Milley for almost eight months as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier Wednesday.

  • "His experience with him has been that he 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."
  • "I can't speak to anonymous unconfirmed reports about prior conversations during the last administration," Psaki said.

What to watch: Milley will 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.

Go deeper: Mark Milley's crisis

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Pentagon confirms top general reassured China during last days of Trump

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A spokesperson for Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley confirmed on Wednesday that "in order to maintain strategic stability" in the final days of Donald Trump's presidency, Milley reassured his Chinese counterpart that the U.S. would not launch a surprise attack.

Driving the news: Newly released excerpts from "Peril" by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa — detailing secret moves by the nation's highest-ranking military officers to manage national security risks that Milley perceived Trump posed in the final days of his presidency — are driving questions about whether Milley went too far, Axios' Jonathan Swan writes.

Mark Milley's crisis

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley goes before Congress on Sept. 28, he may face some of the most hostile questioning of any modern four-star general.

Driving the news: Newly released excerpts from "Peril" by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa — detailing secret moves by the nation's highest-ranking military officers to manage national security risks that he perceived Donald Trump posed in the final days of his presidency — are driving questions about whether Milley went too far. 

9 hours ago - Podcasts

A crisis for Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley

Did Gen. Mark Milley go too far? That’s the question in Washington today after newly released excerpts of the new book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are calling into question the top U.S. general's role during the Trump administration.

  • Plus, how teen mental health is affected by the pandemic.
  • And, survivors of Larry Nassar's abuse call out the FBI.

Guests: Axios' Jonathan Swan and Penn State University's Paul Harris.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper: Mark Milley's crisis