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Previous story Trump's acting Defense Secretary says his January 6 speech incited Capitol rioters Next story

STORY BY ELLIE KAUFMAN, CNN

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Published on March 12, 2021 10:15 PM

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National Counterterrorism Center Director Christopher Miller testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing about
(CNN)Former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller believes former President Donald Trump's speech on the morning of January 6 incited the rioters who stormed the US Capitol.

"The question is would anybody have marched on the Capitol and overrun the Capitol without the President's speech, I think it's pretty much definitive that wouldn't have happened, so yes," Miller told VICE on Showtime. "The question is did he know that he was enraging the crowd to do that, I don't know." Miller said he believed the Trump's speech earlier in the day did have a "cause and effect" impact on those who listened and later stormed the Capitol when asked if he thinks Trump was responsible for the riot.

"I don't know, but it seems cause and effect, yeah," Miller said.

Miller made the comments during an exclusive interview with VICE on Showtime set to air March 14. VICE released a three-minute clip of the interview on Thursday. Miller became the acting secretary of defense when Trump fired Mark Esper via Twitter on November 9, two days after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the Presidential election. His appointment preceded a post-election purge that saw some of the senior-most Defense Department civilians ousted in a matter of days with a number of Trump loyalists brought in. Miller said he listened to Trump's speech the morning of January 6 and found it "concerning." He told VICE on Showtime that he did not speak to the former President on that day. Miller also said he was not worried about receiving orders from Trump that he wouldn't be comfortable with on Jan. 6. When asked what he would have done if he did receive that kind of order, Miller dismissed the question as "speculative." "I can't imagine any situation where the armed forces of the United States would abide by an illegal order," Miller said. "If it's antithetical to the Constitution or the Uniform Code of Military Justice, it's an illegal order, and you don't follow it." The former Secretary of Defense said it is "not possible" for a situation to occur where "an order was given to execute a military coup" in the US military right now.

"To have a perfect storm where an order was given to execute a military coup, it's not possible in the United States military right now," Miller said. When VICE on SHOWTIME told Miller that from the outside, to the rest of the world, January 6 looked like the closest the US had come to a military coup, Miller said, "I think that's just complete hyperbole." Regarding criticism the Department of Defense has faced in the weeks since the riot about how quickly National Guard troops responded to a call for backup from US Capitol Police while rioters were still breaching the Capitol, Miller said it comes back to "understanding how the military works." "It comes back to understanding how the military works. This isn't a video game. It's not Halo. It's not Black Ops Call of Duty," Miller said.