Desperate To Stop Biden From Taking Office, Trump Suggests Military Intervention, Voting Machine Seizures, and Appointing Sidney Powell To Investigate Her Own Fraud Claims
Casting about for ways to prevent Joe Biden from taking office, Donald Trump reportedly has toyed with several outlandish proposals, including military intervention, the appointment of conspiracy monger Sidney Powell as a White House special counsel charged with investigating election fraud, and the federal seizure of voting machines as part of an attempt to back up her unsubstantiated claim that they were rigged to deny the president his rightful victory. Trump expressed interest in all of those tactics at a meeting on Friday, according to administration officials interviewed by The New York Times and Axios.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who participated in the meeting, suggested during a Newsmax interview last week that Trump “could take military capabilities,” “place them” in swing states that Biden won, and “basically rerun an election in each of those states.” Flynn said such a move is “not unprecedented” and complained about “these people out there talking about martial law” as if “it’s something that we’ve never done.” But he added that “I’m not calling for that,” because “we have a constitutional process…that has to be followed.” Trump “asked about” Flynn’s idea during the meeting, the Times reports.
Trump also floated the idea of appointing Powell, a lawyer who has represented Flynn and assisted the Trump campaign, to investigate election irregularities. He suggested that Powell, who was at the meeting, could be given whatever security clearance would be required to help her find evidence that the election was stolen.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows “repeatedly and aggressively pushed back” against that proposal and Trump’s other suggestions, the Times says, citing officials “briefed on the meeting.” Cipollone and other advisers emphasized that “there was no constitutional authority” for the steps Trump described.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who participated in the meeting by phone, also opposed the idea of appointing Powell, with whom he has quarreled. Last month Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, the Trump campaign’s senior legal adviser, declared that Powell, who a few days earlier had been presented as part of the “elite strike force team…working on behalf of the president and the campaign,” was no longer representing either. But that semi-repudiation did not mean that Trump or Giuliani had rejected P
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