Ryan McCarthy
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy testifies before Congress in 2019Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • The House January 6 committee found evidence that top military officials had "genuine concerns" about Trump using the military to overturn the election.
  • Trump's Secretary of the Army didn't dismiss that top Pentagon officials were concerned.
  • The revelation adds further context to why top officials were so outspoken about clarifying the military's role. 

The House January 6 committee said it found evidence that civilian and military officials who worked under Donald Trump harbored "genuine concerns" that the sitting president would use the military to change the 2020 election results, confirming reports that there were real fears of an American coup.

"Our investigation suggests that those civilian and military officials who had considerable experience working directly with President Trump had genuine concerns about whether he would attempt to use the military to change the election results," the committee writes in an appendix to its final report that was released Thursday evening. "Again, at this time, there is no evidence the Department of Defense understood exactly what President Trump and his associates planned for January 6th."

When the panel asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy directly about this, Trump's appointed pick to lead the Army did not call the concerns farfetched.

"There was a lot of talk in the lead-up about martial law . . . and the employment of forces, and you know, that was something that we were all, you know, conscious of," McCarthy told the committee.

The panel's stunning conclusion illustrates why top current and former Pentagon officials went to great lengths to make sure the American people knew the military would not get involved.

"We have established a very long 240-year tradition of an apolitical military that does not get involved in domestic politics," Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told NPR in October 2020.

According to "I Alone Can Fix It," Milley was far blunter in private. The nation's highest-ranking officer was telling lawmakers and colleagues that any Trump-led attempted coups would go nowhere. Milley also compared Trump to Hitler.

"They may try, but they're not going to f**king succeed," Milley told his deputies, according to the book. "You can't do this without the military. You can't do this without the CIA and the FBI. We're the guys with the guns."

Coup fears had a real cost, the committee concluded. Top commanders were so worried about the optics of troops near the Capitol that they responded to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's request for National Guard troops to help with traffic and control on January 6, 2021, with skepticism.

Ultimately, officials reviewed the guard's deployment by metro stop, nixing any suggestion that troops be stationed by Capitol South, one of the two nearest DC Metro stops to the US Capitol.

When the riot broke out, this meant that guard troops were further away from the Capitol complex. 

This is a breaking news story. Stay with Insider for more updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider