Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied Donald Trump’s attempt to withhold White House documents from Congress’s January 6 committee. Today, new records are already coming to light—and illuminating the extreme steps the Trump administration considered when seeking to maintain power.
Among the documents now in committee hands is a draft executive order which, had it been issued, would have directed the secretary of defense to seize voting machines. According to Politico, which broke this news, the draft, dated December 16, 2020, reflects advice given to Trump by attorney Sidney Powell.
On Dec. 18, 2020, Powell, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump administration lawyer Emily Newman, and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne met with Trump in the Oval Office.
In that meeting, Powell urged Trump to seize voting machines and to appoint her as a special counsel to investigate the election, according to Axios.
Citing conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines, the order directs the nation’s top military leader to “seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information.” The order called for a special counsel to bring charges based on the seized information and authorized the defense secretary to use the national guard.
Reporter Betsy Woodruff Swan, who broke the story, notes that the order may have been part of a plan to keep Trump in office after January 20, 2021.
The draft executive order would have given the SecDef up to 60 days to write an assessment of the 2020 election. That suggests it may have been an attempt by the EO's unnamed author to keep Trump in power til at least mid-February 2021https://t.co/UPyNL5w736
— Betsy Woodruff Swan (@woodruffbets) January 21, 2022
There’s a lot more to learn from the committee’s investigation, but one thing is clear: Trump’s coup attempt could have been even scarier.