Newly revealed document: Trump considered confiscating 2020 election voting machines - Politico

Politico revealed a draft of an executive order to seize voting machines after the elections due to unfounded claims of voter fraud and enabling the National Guard to participate.

 Former US President Donald Trump reacts during his speech during a rally at the Iowa States Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, US, October 9, 2021. (photo credit: RACHEL MUMMEY/REUTERS)
Former US President Donald Trump reacts during his speech during a rally at the Iowa States Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, US, October 9, 2021.
(photo credit: RACHEL MUMMEY/REUTERS)

Former US President Donald Trump considered using executive powers to confiscate voting machines after the November 2020 elections, a new document obtained by Politico showed.

The document - a draft of the executive order titled "Presidential findings to preserve collect and analyze national security information regarding the 2020 general election" - lists unproven security breaches of voting machines as justification to confiscate a large number of them. It singles out Dominion Voting Systems as being "intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results." 

The document lists a number of conspiracies regarding the company: 

"Multiple expert witnesses and cyber experts identified acts of foreign interference in the election prior to November 3, 2020, and continued in the following weeks. In fact, there is probable cause to find a massive cyber-attack by foreign interests on our crucial national infrastructure surrounding our election - not the least of which was the hacking of the voter registration system by Iran," it says. 

It then instructs that the Secretary of Defense "seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention" and that a final assessment be handed in within 60 days. It authorizes the use of the federal National Guard to aid in the operation. 

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to US President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference about the 2020 U.S. presidential election results held at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, US, November 19, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to US President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference about the 2020 U.S. presidential election results held at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, US, November 19, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)

The document then orders the appointment of a Special Counsel to oversee the operation, and "institute all criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate based on the evidence collected and provided all resources necessary to carry out her duties consistent with federal laws and the Constitution."

The document included a number of errors. It mistakenly mentioned a county as being in Michigan instead of Minnesota. It also fails to supply sufficient legal justification to confiscate the machines. 

"This draft order represents not only an abuse of emergency powers but a total misunderstanding of them," Liza Goitein, co-director of the liberty and national security program at the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice said to Politico.

"The order doesn’t even make the basic finding of an 'unusual and extraordinary threat' that would be necessary to trigger any action under [federal emergency powers law]. It’s the legal equivalent of a kid scrawling on the wall with crayons," she said to Politico.

The document was handed in by Trump's lawyers to the US House of Representatives investigation committee into the events of the January 6 assault on the Capitol, Politico reported.

The document is dated December 16, 2020. Although its author is unknown, its contents are consistent with a meeting that was held two days later in which lawyer Sidney Powell made the same recommendation to seize the voting machines and to appoint herself as a special counsel to investigate the election, Politico reported, sourcing Axios.

Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit in January 2021 against Powell, who had been the most prominent person spreading the fraud claims, seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

It filed a suit later in the month against Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, alleging he used the conspiracy theory about Dominion’s machines to personally “enrich himself” while knowing the claims were false.

Trump and his political allies spent two months denying his election defeat and claiming, without evidence, that it was the result of widespread voter fraud. This culminated in the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters on January 6.