With the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol hearings going primetime later this week, I thought it I’d take this opportunity to recap some of the articles I wrote about how Donald Trump tried to steal the 2020 election and remain in office.
Though certainly not as detailed as the hearings are likely to be, I believe you’ll get a feel for how close our republic came in the days following the 2020 election to being destroyed by an egomaniacal narcissist with dictatorial ambitions.
A few weeks following the election, Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell called on Trump to “temporarily suspend the Constitution,” put the country under martial law, and “set up military tribunals” to investigate the election using the Insurrection Act.
In a pair of memos issued the week before the January 6 attack by then-Senior Legal Advisor to the Trump 2020 campaign, attorney to Donald Trump, and former Strident Conservative contributor Jenna Ellis, we learned of her plan to have then-Vice President Mike Pence help Trump steal the election.
Specifically, Ellis wanted Pence — who was constitutionally responsible for presiding over Congress’ counting of electoral votes on January 6 — to simply refuse to open envelopes from states whose election results Trump considered to be fraudulent.
There were calls from the Trump cult for a military coup and/or secession from the Union following a 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting Trump’s attempt to steal the election via a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the outcome in four battleground states.
Shortly after hearing the news of the Supreme Court decision in the Texas case, internet personalities who didn’t have a life before joining the Trump cult, Diamond and Silk, openly called for a military coup to keep Trump in office:
If the Supreme Court can't save our Republic, then where is the Military?
— Diamond and Silk® (@DiamondandSilk) December 11, 2020
Meanwhile, Allen West, the failed TEA Party congressman and then-state chairman of the Republican Party of Texas released a statement calling for a new “Union of states”:
In an op-ed by the editorial board at the pro-Trump propaganda arm known as The Epoch Times, Trump was urged to launch a military coup and seize voting machines by invoking the Insurrection Act, then examine them for evidence of voter fraud in key states in order to provide a transparent accounting of the 2020 election.
As we learned since the creation of the January 6 committee, the idea of putting the country under martial law and/or staging a military coup was receiving serious consideration by the wannabe dictator.
A few days after the attack, we learned that among the records Donald Trump’s lawyers were attempting to withhold from January 6 committee was a draft of an executive order to stage a military coup to allow him to remain in power. Under the order, the military would have been required to “seize, collect, retain and analyze” all voting machines, equipment, computers, records, etc.
Though never issued, the order along with an accompanying document titled “Remarks on National Healing” showed us the lengths Trump was prepared to go to steal the 2020 election (via Politico):
The executive order — which also would have appointed a special counsel to probe the 2020 election — was never issued. The remarks are a draft of a speech Trump gave the next day. Together, the two documents point to the wildly divergent perspectives of White House advisers and allies during Trump’s frenetic final weeks in office.
It’s not clear who wrote either document. But the draft executive order is dated Dec.16, 2020, and is consistent with proposals that lawyer Sidney Powell made to the then-president. 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. (Emphasis mine)
Of course, Donald Trump denied discussing a military coup during his meeting with Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn and in a tweet, he called it . . . are you ready? . . . “Fake News.”
Martial law = Fake News. Just more knowingly bad reporting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2020
According to Trump, this little get-together had nothing to do with martial law, a military coup, or appointing Sidney Powell as special counsel, but if his denials were true, why did he retweet people who called for martial law? Why did he hold this strategy meeting at the White House? Why were the two leading advocates of a military coup to steal the election (Powell and Flynn) invited to attend?
These unanswered questions had many top-level officials extremely concerned that he was considering such a power grab in his attempt to overturn the election and remain in power (via Axios):
Their fears include Trump’s interest in former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s wild talk of martial law; an idea floated of an executive order to commandeer voting machines; and the specter of Sidney Powell, the conspiracy-spewing election lawyer, obtaining governmental power and a top-level security clearance.
A senior administration official said that when Trump is “retweeting threats of putting politicians in jail and spends his time talking to conspiracy nuts who openly say declaring martial law is no big deal, it’s impossible not to start getting anxious about how this ends.”
“People who are concerned and nervous aren’t the weak-kneed bureaucrats that we loathe,” the official added. “These are people who have endured arguably more insanity and mayhem than any administration officials in history.”
Even after Biden’s victory, Trump, egged on by supporters like Sidney Powell, refused to concede. Instead, he holed up inside the White House as he continued to assert that he actually won the election and eventually led his army of cultists in a last-ditch effort to establish his dictatorship with the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Unfortunately, Trump may be working on another way to steal a future election via what I’m calling the Joseph Stalin Plan — where those who vote aren’t as important as those who count the vote.
In a recent speech given to a group of Republican National Committee, Trump treated the crowd to a replay of 2020 Election Theatre, where he won the election in a landslide, before suggesting that Republicans would win more elections if they were the ones counting the votes.
Arguing that Republicans needed to get “tougher” at the ballot box, Trump told the crowd, “The vote counter is often more important than the candidate,” before adding that he picked up the concept from pro-Trump echo chamber radio host Mark Levin. “We have to get a lot tougher and smarter at the polls.”
He then regurgitated his election fraud theories, stating that Republicans needed to be more vigilant about the tabulation process.
Speaking of the January 6 attack, a federal judge said in a ruling back in March that Trump “likely” broke federal law while trying to overturn the election results.
Donald Trump and attorney John Eastman “launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history,” US District Judge David Carter wrote. “Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower — it was a coup in search of a legal theory.”
The end result of the January 6 committee investigation is anybody’s guess, but there can be no doubt that Donald Trump tried to steal the 2020 election, proving that he will seek absolute power at any cost, even if that means breaking the law to do so.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.