It is not known who wrote either document. But the draft executive order is dated Dec. 16, 2020, and is consistent with proposals attorney Sidney Powell made to the then president. On December 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. .
At that meeting, Powell urged Trump to seize the voting machines and appoint her as special counsel to investigate the election, according to Axios.
A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 House Select Committee confirmed earlier Friday that the panel had received the last of the documents that Trump’s lawyers had tried to keep secret and then declined to comment on this story on those two documents.
The draft executive decree
The draft executive order shows that the weeks between Election Day and the attack on the Capitol could have been even more chaotic than they were. He credibly cites conspiracy theories about voter fraud in Georgia and Michigan, as well as debunked notions about Dominion voting machines.
The order empowers the Secretary of Defense to “seize, collect, preserve, and analyze all machinery, equipment, electronically stored information, and physical documents required for preservation under” a U.S. election records retention law. He also cites a lawsuit filed in 2017 against Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Additionally, the draft order would have given the Secretary of Defense 60 days to write an assessment of the 2020 election. This suggests it could have been a gamble to keep Trump in office until at least mid-February 2021. .
The full text of the never-released executive order can be read here.
It opens by citing a host of presidential authorities to enable the actions Trump would take, including the Constitution and Executive Order 12333, a well-known executive order governing the intelligence community. But the draft executive order also cites two classified documents: Presidential National Security Memoranda 13 and 21.
The existence of the first of these memoranda is publicly known, but the existence of the second has not previously been reported. NSPM 13 governs the Pentagon’s offensive cyber operations. According to someone familiar with the memoranda, 21 makes small adjustments to 13, and the two documents are considered a pair within the executive.
The fact that the author of the draft executive order was aware of the existence of Memorandum 21 suggests that he had access to information about sensitive government secrets, the person told POLITICO.
The draft order also informed “the appointment of a special adviser to oversee this operation and initiate all criminal and civil proceedings, if any, based on the evidence gathered and provide all necessary resources to carry out his duties in accordance with federal laws and the Constitution”.
To bolster its provisions, the draft executive order cites “the Forensic Report of the County Antrim, Michigan Voting Machines.” This report was produced by Russ Ramsland, who confused Minnesota precincts with Michigan precincts, according to the washington post. Michigan’s Secretary of State, meanwhile, released a comprehensive report refuting election conspiracy theories and concluding that none of the “known anomalies” in County Antrim’s November 2020 election were the result of a security breach.
“This proposed order not only represents an abuse of emergency powers, but a complete misunderstanding of them,” said Liza Goitein, co-director of the freedom and national security program at the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice. . “The order fails to 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 child scribbling on the wall with crayons.”
The draft remarks
The draft document titled “Remarks on National Healing,” also in the possession of the select panel, provides a first glimpse of the remarks Trump would deliver the next day, which contrasts starkly with other rhetoric Trump was employing at the time and continues. to use when discussing the insurgency.
“I would like to start today by addressing the heinous attack that took place yesterday at the United States Capitol,” he opens. “Like all Americans, I was outraged and sickened by the violence, lawlessness, and chaos. I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and evict the intruders. America is, and always should be, a nation of law and order.
This claim that Trump immediately ordered the National Guard to the Capitol may not be true. The Jan. 6 select committee sent a letter Thursday saying that Trump’s defense secretary at the time of the riot, Chris Miller, “testified under oath that the president never contacted him at any time on Jan. 6. , and never, at any time, gave him the order to deploy the National Guard.
The “national healing” document continued with strong criticism of the attack.
“Protesters who infiltrated the Capitol have besmirched the seat of American democracy,” the remarks state. “I call on the Department of Justice to ensure that all offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent” of the law.
The document follows with a direct communication to the rioters: “We must send a message – not with pity but with justice. To those who have engaged in acts of violence and destruction, I want to be very clear: you do not represent me. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law, your place is in jail.
The remarks deviated significantly from how he portrayed rioters in other contexts. In a video released of the attack, Trump struck a tone of empathy with the crowd.
“We must have peace,” Trump said then. “Then go home. We love you. You are very special. You have seen what is happening, you see the way other people are treated who are so bad and bad. I know what you’re feeling.”
The day after the attack, in the face of a torrent of criticism and public discussion about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, Trump gave a speech from the Oval Office similar to the draft remarks. In that speech, Trump also condemned the violence on Capitol Hill and called for the perpetrators to be held accountable.
A Trump spokesperson declined to comment for this story.
Project vs reality
The draft remarks go on to describe the heightened emotions after an intense election. “But now tempers must be cooled and calm restored.”
Trump “has vigorously pursued every legal avenue to challenge the election results,” the remarks add, and still calls for electoral “reform” so voters can be confident about future contests.
“But with respect to THIS election, Congress has now certified the results,” the remarks read. “The electoral battle is over. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My goal now is to ensure a smooth, orderly and transparent transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.
In the year since the riot, Trump’s recent characterization of the attack has strayed wildly from that sentiment in the draft remarks. The former president described the 2020 election as “the insurrection” and January 6, 2021 as “the protest”. He also praised Ashli Babbitt, a rioter who entered the Capitol and was shot and killed there by a police officer.
The remarks continue to set a unifying tone in the coronavirus discussion.
“The pandemic has isolated millions of people in their homes, damaged the economy and claimed countless lives,” the document continues. “Ending the pandemic and rebuilding the economy,” he adds, “will require us all to work together,” as well as a renewed focus on patriotism, faith and community.
“We must renew the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us as a national family,” he adds.
While Trump has courted disapproval from some in his own base by publicly sharing that he received a booster shot against Covid, he has mostly pointed to the success of vaccines against the virus as his own personal victory.
“I found a vaccine, with three vaccines,” Trump told conservative scholar Candace Owens last month. “All are very, very good.”