Trump wanted the military to seize voting machines to stay in power according to a draft executive order

Trump Seize voting machines

According to a draft executive order obtained by Politico on Friday and which the former President considered signing in December 2020, would have empowered the Pentagon to send National Guard Troops to seize voting machines in key states in weeks after the 2020 election. 

The order was never signed by Trump, however, it would have appointed the Secretary of Defense to “seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records” related to Trump’s false claims of electoral fraud. The defense secretary would have to then release an assessment 60 days after the action started. Such an operation that is politically driven and includes military or federal government seizing voting machines would have equated to a coup. 

It is unclear as to who drafted the order and how the organization obtained such a document. However, it is one of the documents in the Jan 6 attack investigation, which the House panel was seeking to retrieve from the National Archives. Previously the House panel did mention that they were seeking a “draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity” and “a document containing presidential findings concerning the security of the 2020 presidential election and ordering various actions.” This seems to be one of those documents Trump was trying to block from the committee.

The order would have also appointed a special counsel to investigate the 2020 election and “institute all criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate based on the evidence collected.”

Though it’s not clear who wrote the document, the draft is dated December 16th, 2020, and is consistent with Sidney Powell’s proposal to Trump. On December 18th, 2020, Powell, Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, former Trump Administration lawyer Emily Newman, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne met with Trump in the Oval Office. According to Axios, Powell pleaded with Trump to seize the voting machines and appoint her as the special counsel investigating the election. 

In response to the draft, Rep. Elaine Luria, Virginia Democrat and member of the House panel said, “We got 700 pages today, I know that there’s been some reporting out there from various sources, so we’re still going through those documents, but, having seen the reporting myself, it’s incredibly concerning if this is in fact a verifiable document that was drafted by somebody in the President’s inner circle. We are looking at this very close, still determining if that reporting is accurate, but it is certainly very concerning.”

The draft cites conspiracy theories about voters fraud in Georgia and Michigan, and also Dominion voting machines. The draft states that Dominion Voting Systems are heavily monitored and controlled by “foreign agents, countries, and interests”. The draft says, “the Dominion Voting System is intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results. The system intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors. The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, and no audit trail. This leads to voter or election fraud.

Previously, CNN reported that some of the top officials, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows, were strongly against Flynn’s idea to declare a state of emergency leading to federal governments seizing the voting machines. 

Currently, the House panel has subpoenaed Giuliani, Flynn, and Powell- three of Trump’s staunch allies. They have led campaigns, full of misleading information, claiming global conspiracy and blaming the voting machines companies for fraud, switching ballots from Trump to Biden. According to Politico, many of their conspiracy theories were mentioned in the draft. As reported by CNN, in the subpoena letter the panel mentioned witness testimony and news reports claiming that they “urged President Trump to direct the seizure of voting machines around the country after being told that the Department of Homeland Security had no lawful authority to do so.”