After former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, he wanted both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines in swing states, according to a new report by the New York Times.
Trump reportedly raised the question of the DOJ taking control of the machines to then-Attorney General William Barr, but was rebuffed, the Times reported. Soon after, Trump directed his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to ask the DHS if they could legally seize the voting machines, but Giuliani was told by a top DHS official that the department didn’t have the authority to do it, according to the Times.
The House is continuing to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, when Trump supporters stormed Congress and delayed the certification of President Joe Biden as the winner of the election for several hours. And the new allegations indicate that not only the White House but Trump himself explored any and all means available to defy the will of American voters and prevent the transfer of power.
Even after leaving office, Trump has continued to insist, without any evidence, that he was the real winner of the election, and has shown no remorse for his role in the insurrection. Trump told a rally crowd in Texas last weekend that if he runs for and wins a second non-consecutive term in 2024, he would pardon Capitol rioters who’ve been prosecuted. In a Sunday statement, he said that former Vice President Mike Pence had “the right to change the outcome” of the election and that Pence “could have overturned it!”
During a meeting with Barr in November 2020, after Biden had been declared the winner of the election, Trump reportedly first raised the possibility of DOJ taking over the machines in an unnamed swing state, echoing a conspiracy theory that Dominion Voting Systems were compromised, according to the Times.
Barr shot the idea down, saying there was no probable cause to seize the machines, the Times reported. (Dominion has sued Giuliani, lawyer Sidney Powell, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for billions over their promotion of the conspiracy theory.)
After Trump and Giuliani shut down a proposal for the military to seize voting machines, compiled by retired Army Col. Phil Waldron, the then-president reportedly directed Giuliani to ask then-Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, a former Virginia gubernatorial candidate and Trump ally, if DHS could do it. Cuccinelli also said no, according to the Times.
If Trump does decide to make another run at the White House, he’s already got a massive head start on every other potential Republican opponent. Trump began this year with more than $120 million in cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports released Monday.
Despite that, Trump is facing a rebellion from some Republicans who don’t want him to make another bid for the White House. Two GOP governors—Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the chair of the National Governors Association—said this weekend that Trump shouldn’t be the Republican nominee for president again.
And a bipartisan group of senators led by Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins have recently discussed changing the Electoral Count Act, a century-plus old law outlining the process for counting electoral votes, in an attempt to avoid a repeat of what happened last Jan. 6.
Trump has already denounced the talks, which are still in the early stages, and on Tuesday again said—wrongly—that Pence could have unilaterally helped him overturn the results. He also decried the “political hacks, liars, and traitors” who want to change the Electoral Count Act.
“In other words, they lied, and the vice president did have this right or, more pointedly, could have sent the votes back to various legislators for reassessment after so much fraud and irregularities were found,” Trump said.
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