Trump played a role in evaluating proposals to seize voting machines
It was only after exhausting several early options that Mr. Waldron presented the idea of using other parts of the federal government to seize the machines to Mr. Giuliani and members of Trump’s legal team, as well as to Mr. Flynn and his own associates. , including Ms Powell and Patrick Byrne, a wealthy business executive who funded numerous efforts to contest the election.
Mr Waldron, who owns a bar and distillery outside Austin, Texas, was previously best known for circulating a 38-page PowerPoint presentation to lawmakers and White House aides that was filled with blueprints extremes to cancel the elections.
Mr. Giuliani fiercely opposed the idea of the military participating in the seizure of the devices, according to two people familiar with the matter. The conflict between him and his legal team, and Mr. Flynn, Ms. Powell and Mr. Byrne came to a dramatic climax on December 18, 2020, during a meeting with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office.
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At the meeting, Mr. Flynn and Ms. Powell presented Mr. Trump with a copy of the draft executive order authorizing the military to oversee the seizure of the machinery. After reading it, Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Giuliani to the Oval Office, according to a person familiar with the matter. When Mr. Giuliani read the draft order, he told Mr. Trump that the military could only be used if there was clear evidence of foreign interference in the election.
Ms Powell, who had spent the past month filing lawsuits claiming China and other countries had hacked voting machines, said she had such evidence, the person said. But Mr. Giuliani was adamant that the military should not be mobilized, the person said, and Mr. Trump ultimately heeded his advice.
Shortly after the Oval Office meeting, Waldron amended the draft executive order, suggesting that while the Department of Defense could not oversee the seizure of the machines, the Department of Homeland Security could, the Department said. anybody.
Around the same time, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Giuliani to call Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, acting assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, to inquire about the viability of the proposal, according to two people close to the file. Mr. Cuccinelli said Homeland Security officials could not participate in the plan.