Trump Asked DHS, Barr to Seize Voting Machines

But former president heeded Guiliani's advice to keep the military out of it, according to reports
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2022 6:37 AM CST
Trump Explored Multiple Options to Seize Voting Machines
Former President Trump speaks at a rally on Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The New York Times is out with a story asserting that then-President Trump was trying harder than has been previously known to have voting machines seized in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Key points in the story and related coverage:

  • Homeland Security: Six weeks after the vote, Trump had Rudy Giuliani call Homeland Security to ask the department to seize the machines. One of the top officials there said the department lacked the authority.
  • Defense department: The DHS request came after Trump—taking Giuliani's advice—rejected a push to have the military seize the voting machines. That push had been led by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, attorney Sidney Powell, and retired Army colonel Phil Waldron.

  • Justice Department: Trump also asked Attorney General William Barr if the Justice Department could seize the machines, per the Times. Barr, having been briefed by federal law enforcement officials on the lack of evidence of voter fraud, reportedly shot down the idea immediately.
  • States: Trump also tried to get lawmakers in pivotal states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania to have local law enforcement take control of the machines, another idea that was rejected.
  • How close? Advisers to Trump actually drew up two versions of an executive order to seize voting machines, one for DHS and the other for the Pentagon, reports CNN. That the White House reached out to DHS (and to Barr) had not been previously reported.
  • Under scrutiny: Politico last month reported on the existence of the executive order written for the Pentagon, which can be read in full here. "It's an extraordinary document, and we have a lot of questions about it," Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, on the House panel investigating the Capitol riot, told CNN.
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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