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A meeting President Donald Trump held to discuss overturning the election result alarmed some White House staffers -- people who are used to Trump's inflammatory and anti-democratic rhetoric.
With only a month remaining until President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office, Trump has been ramping up his efforts to remain president, while also trying to convince millions of Americans that election fraud is to blame for his presidential loss.
That's nothing new. But a heated Oval Office meeting Friday in which Trump heard arguments about invoking martial law to stay in office had some Trump officials sounding the alarm to the press.
Michael Flynn, Trump's pardoned former national security adviser, discussed the martial law plan on right-wing television network Newsmax last week and was invited to the White House Friday.
Trump dismissed reports of the martial law discussion as 'fake news' in a tweet Sunday, but two people familiar with the matter told CNN that the the plan was argued in the Oval Office Friday -- although it remains unclear if Trump endorsed the idea.
President Trump’s campaign team on Sunday filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to reverse several cases by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to change the state’s mail ballot law before and after the 2020 presidential election.
The president’s campaign alleged in a statement that the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court’s changing of the law was a violation of Article II of the U.S. Constitution and Bush v. Gore.
President Donald Trump asked key advisers about appointing a controversial lawyer formerly associated with his campaign as a special counsel charged with overseeing an investigation of alleged — and nonexistent — voter fraud, according to a report from the New York Times.
That lawyer, Sidney Powell, has gained notoriety in recent weeks for spreading conspiracy theories about voting machines being rigged for President-elect Joe Biden, for filing legal documents riddled with basic errors, and for being suddenly removed from the Trump campaign legal team. By appointing Powell a special counsel, Trump would be elevating her false claims, giving already disproven attacks on the presidential election a misleading patina of legitimacy.
According to Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Trump held a meeting at the White House on Friday to weigh whether to name Powell as a special counsel to investigate his repeatedly debunked claims of mass voter fraud in last month’s presidential election.
The meeting was reportedly full of current and former Trump allies, including the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Powell, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and O’Brien’s predecessor, former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The New York Times reported Trump met with Sidney Powell and his former National Security advisor Gen. Michael Flynn on Friday evening to explore further options of challenging the 2020 presidential election, even though the electoral college has already met to elect Biden.
Cable news outlets seized on the Times report that the president discussed imposing martial law and deploying the military to rerun the election, a proposal that Flynn discussed on Newsmax.
The Times claimed Trump considered appointing lawyer Sidney Powell to serve as a special counsel to investigate the election and his lawyer former Mayor Rudy Giuliani questioned whether it was possible for the Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines for examination.
White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, and White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows reportedly pushed back against the ideas.
Many of Trump’s former and informal advisors raised their concerns in the reported meeting but it remains unclear what the president is prepared to do.
A senior administration official spoke to Axios about the details of the meeting, citing deep concerns about the advice that Trump was getting.
“People who are concerned and nervous aren’t the weak-kneed bureaucrats that we loathe,” the official said. “These are people who have endured arguably more insanity and mayhem than any administration officials in history.”