A draft executive order obtained by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection shows Donald Trump considered seizing voting machines across the country after he lost the 2020 election, using debunked conspiracy theories as a pretext.
Following the seizure, to be overseen by the secretary of defense, Trump would have then appointed a special counsel to pursue “all criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate,” a copy of the document obtained by Politico shows.
The never-issued order would have also instructed the defense secretary to issue a report on the 2020 election within 60 days. The executive order is dated Dec. 26, 2020, suggesting Trump would have used it to justify remaining in office through mid-February, well past the inauguration of his successor.
It’s unclear who authored the document, titled “PRESIDENTIAL FINDINGS TO PRESERVE COLLECT AND ANALYZE NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION REGARDING THE 2020 GENERAL ELECTION,” but it repeats many of the same conspiracy theories voiced by the former president’s closest advisers ― and the president himself.
An order to appoint a special counsel also aligns with a New York Times report on Dec. 19 that Trump was considering naming Sidney Powell to the position. Powell served as a lawyer for Trump’s campaign and was among several people close to Trump who spread the baseless lie that voting machines manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems were rigged to prevent Trump’s reelection.
The Jan. 6 panel subpoenaed Powell earlier this week along with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former personal attorney. (Giuliani was suspended from practicing law last year for making “false and misleading statements” about the election.)
Dominion has since filed suit against Powell and is seeking $1.3 billion in damages for the “unprecedented harm” it says she caused via her “wild” allegations.
Contrary to the claims of Trump and his advisers, the 2020 presidential election was actually the “most secure in American history,” according to an assessment by the Department of Homeland Security conducted while Trump was still in office.
Judges have uniformly dismissed all of Trump’s lawsuits claiming voter fraud in the 2020 election.