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Ex-Defense official resigns from Defense Science Board, accuses Esper of violating his oath

James Miller, who served as the undersecretary of Defense for policy from 2012 to 2014, resigned from his position on the Pentagon’s science board Tuesday, accusing Secretary of Defense Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition Brennan takes final shot at Trump: 'I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap' MORE of betraying his oath of office by backing President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE on the forceable removal of peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., the previous day.

“Anyone who takes the oath of office must decide where he or she will draw the line: What are the things that they will refuse to do? Secretary Esper, you have served honorably for many years, in active and reserve military duty, as Secretary of the Army, and now as Secretary of Defense,” Miller wrote in a letter published in The Washington Post. “You must have thought long and hard about where that line should be drawn. I must now ask: If last night’s blatant violations do not cross the line for you, what will?”

“Unfortunately, it appears there may be few if any lines that President Trump is not willing to cross, so you will probably be faced with this terrible question again in the coming days. You may be asked to take, or to direct the men and women serving in the U.S. military to take, actions that further undermine the Constitution and harm Americans,” he added.

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Miller urged Esper to “consider your future actions and your future words,” citing his recent call for governors to “dominate the battlespace” in quelling the unrest, which Miller wrote “sends an extremely dangerous signal.”

“I hope this letter of resignation will encourage you to again contemplate the obligations you undertook in your oath of office, as well as your obligations to the men and women in our military and other Americans whose lives may be at stake,” Miller concluded, saying he was making his letter public in case other senior officials wondered about the reason for his resignation.

Protests have erupted in nearly every major U.S. city over the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes despite his protests that he was unable to breathe.