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DC National Guard whistleblower claims Trump was stripped of his commander-in-chief powers on January 6

Donald Trump ‘s authority as commander-in-chief was ignored by senior military leadership on January 6 , 2021, claims the chief legal advisor for D.C. National Guard on that day.

Colonel Earl Matthews came forward as a whistleblower to the House subcommittee reviewing the January 6 Select Committee’s investigation.

He sat down with two weeks after the public hearing to explain what he saw happen that day.

He claims that Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, and then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, were plotting to disobey any orders handed down by Trump because they ‘unreasonably’ assumed the then-president was going to break the law and try to use the D.C. National Guard (DCNG) to stop certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

A lot has been made about the breakdown in military and administration communication when it came to the timeline of deploying DCNG to the Capitol .

But Matthews claims senior military leadership was solely focused on getting the heat off of them and putting it back onto Trump.
Matthews told that Army leadership essentially stripped then-President Donald Trump of his authority as Commander-in-Chief on January 6, 2021 because they plotted to go against any orders from him to deploy the National Guard to the Capitol that day

The Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Matthews claims, was more than happy to lean into this narrative and blame the entire ordeal on the then-president.

But Matthews says that senior military leadership essentially stripped the president of his authority as commander-in-chief by preemptively planning to go against orders because they didn’t like the optics of uniformed soldiers at the Capitol.

‘I think a very plausible argument can be made that through no fault of his own, President Trump’s command authority over both the D.C. National Guard and the U.S. Army itself had been surreptitiously curtailed by the senior leadership of the Army on January 6, 2021,’ Matthews told

He continued: ‘Army leadership had unreasonably anticipated an ‘unlawful order’ from the President, an order that the President had no plans to issue, and were preemptively seeking to curtail his discretion to issue such an order.’

Matthews, who was the Staff Judge Advocate of the DCNG during the riot, was on the consequential and highly discussed phone call the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021 with McCarthy, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other senior leadership.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund pleaded during the call for the DCNG to help law enforcement in responding to the Capitol riot. And DCNG Commander Maj. Gen. William Walker had prepared his troops to deploy.

Sund said at a congressional hearing, and Matthews reiterated in his interview with, that Army Staff Director Walter Piatt and Chief of Staff for Operations Charles Flynn were part of that discussion, despite the latter claiming under oath he was not on the call.

Former Chief of Staff for Operations Charles Flynn

Matthews said on the call Flynn and Piatt seemed ‘almost disinterested’ in Sund’s concerns and displayed no urgency toward getting the National Guard to the U.S. Capitol to respond to rioters.

‘Flynn and Piatt displayed what I would characterize as a nonchalant attitude during the roughly 25 minute call,’ the Colonel claimed.

Additionally, he said the two Army leaders ‘didn’t like the optics of the Guard coming to the Capitol,’ even though Piatt said under oath to Congress that he never mentioned ‘optics.’

‘Both Piatt and Flynn were obsessively focused on what they considered the bad optics of military personnel at the Capitol during the certification of the election,’ Matthews told

‘They both stated that they believed that what was transpiring at the Capitol was most appropriately handled by civilian law enforcement personnel,’ he continued, ‘despite the fact the capabilities and resources of the U.S. Capitol Police and MPD were quickly being overwhelmed and the National Guard typically assists civilian police authorities in such circumstances.’

Matthews detailed: ‘Piatt and Flynn wanted the D.C. National Guard to find locations around the city where it could relieve MPD officers performing traffic or other duties in order to allow those civilian police officers to deploy to the Capitol.’
Critics blame the three-hour-and-nineteen-minute delay of the DC National Guard arrival at the Capitol for not stopping the riot sooner after Trump’s supporters breached the building

The January 6 Committee was led by seven Democrats and two Republicans now no longer in Congress, former Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

The final report from the select committee acknowledges that Trump did approve deployment of the National Guard despite claims that he did not give the proper authorizations, which resulted in the more than three-hour delay.

‘Former President Trump’s eagerness to engage the U.S. military to play a visible role in addressing domestic unrest during the late spring and summer of 2020 does appear to have prompted senior military leadership to take precautions, in preparing for the joint session against the possibility that the DC Guard might be ordered to deploy for an improper use,’ the final report reads.

But Matthews confirms the President’s authority was ignored or completely balked by Piatt and Flynn, as well as other military leaders.

And he says it is contradictory to try and blame Trump for the delay while also claiming he was attempting to use the DCNG to stop certification of the 2020 election results.

Trump’s then-Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller reiterated to last month that Trump did authorize the National Guard during an Oval Office meeting days before January 6, 2021.

He also said that the January 6 Committee threatened him to stop speaking publicly about his recounting of the events surrounding the Capitol riot.

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