Axios’ Jonathan Swan is reporting that it was actually Defense Secretary Mark Esper who “ordered a back-channel message in October” to reassure the Chinese that the U.S. was not preparing a pre-election attack:

A “Senior Defense Official” confirmed this account to the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, adding “Milley was absolutely not going rogue”:

More from Axios:

Well, then. Both Esper and Milley should testify in front of Congress ASAP.