Trump draft executive order would have authorized National Guard to seize voting machines

Dareh Gregorian
House Jan. 6th committee gets more than 700 Trump admin. docs from National Archives
House Jan. 6th committee gets more than 700 Trump admin. docs from National Archives

A draft executive order prepared for former President Donald Trump and obtained Friday by Politico would have authorized the secretary of defense to send National Guard troops to seize voting machines around the country in the weeks following the 2020 election.

The order, which was never signed by Trump, also would have appointed a special counsel "to institute all criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate based on the evidence collected," and calls on the defense secretary to release an assessment 60 days after the action started, which would have been well after Trump was slated to leave office on Jan. 20.

The Politico article includes a facsimile of the full order, but does not say how the news organization obtained the document or whose possession it was in.

The draft executive order appears to be among the files the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was seeking to obtain from the National Archives.

Members of the National Guard walk outside of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.
Sarah Silbiger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The committee had revealed what it sought in the documents in a court filing, and it included "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."

Those documents were handed over to the committee this week after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Trump's request that it block the documents from being handed over.

A representative of Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear who wrote the draft document, which is dated Dec. 16, 2020 and entitled, "PRESIDENTIAL FINDINGS TO PRESERVE COLLECT AND ANALYZE NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION REGARDING THE 2020 GENERAL ELECTION." It parrots arguments that were made by lawyer Sidney Powell and former national security adviser Michael Flynn during a Dec. 18 meeting at the White House.

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In the meeting, which was first reported by The New York Times and later confirmed by NBC News, Trump discussed naming Powell, who'd championed numerous bogus conspiracies about the election, as special counsel.

The draft order doesn't identify the person Trump would name as special counsel, but does refer to the person a "her."

Powell could not be reached for comment.

The order also bases the need for the unprecedented action on Powell's debunked allegations of widespread voter fraud and foreign interference in the election.

It cites a "forensic report" championed by Powell that falsely accused Dominion Voting System machines of being "intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results." Dominion is suing Powell for defamation