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Details of Pelosi-Milley phone call about ‘unhinged’ Trump post Capitol riots sought in Judicial Watch lawsuit

The suit by Watchdog group Judicial Watch says the call between the House speaker and the nation's top military officer had set a 'dangerous precedent' that could affect future presidencies
UPDATED MAR 11, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described former President Donald J. Trump as 'unhinged' during the controversial phone call (Getty Images)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described former President Donald J. Trump as 'unhinged' during the controversial phone call (Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is under fire as her January phone call with Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, became the subject of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

The legal action was announced by Watchdog group Judicial Watch this week, saying the call between the House speaker and the nation's top military officer -- in which she described then-President Donald J. Trump as "unhinged" -- had set a "dangerous precedent" that could affect presidencies in the future, Fox News reported.

According to the group, the Department of Defense has not responded to a request for information regarding the January 8 call between Pelosi and Milley.


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Shortly after the phone call, which took place two days after the riot at the U.S. Capitol, Pelosi described the purpose of the conversation in a letter to fellow Democratic lawmakers.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley appears before the US House Armed Services Committee hearing on 'Department of Defense Authorities and Roles Related to Civilian Law Enforcement,' July 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

"This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike," Pelosi wrote. "The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy." 

"As you know, there is growing momentum around the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses," Pelosi added. "Yesterday, Leader Schumer and I placed a call with Vice President Pence, and we still hope to hear from him as soon as possible with a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people."

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in a statement that if Pelosi's description of her call with Milley is accurate, their conversation set "a dangerous precedent that could undermine the president’s role as commander in chief and the separation of powers."

"Our new lawsuit aims to uncover the truth about the call," Fitton added.

The lawsuit brought on by the watchdog group has requested access to "any and all records" of Pelosi's phone call with Milley as well as "any and all additional records" of communications between them from November 2020 to date.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. (Getty Images)

While it is still unknown whether Trump was ever denied access to nuclear launch codes, it's worth noting that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time for "inciting an insurrection" on January 13, just one week after the Capitol riot.

The 45th POTUS was acquitted by the Senate on February 13, just as he was acquitted after his first impeachment on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power stemming from a phone call with the president of Ukraine. Trump was impeached by the House on December 18, 2019, for the first time, before the Senate voted to acquit him on February 5, 2020.

According to Fox News, Judicial Watch has filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.