A draft executive order that would have instructed the military secretary to confiscate voting machines and a memo titled “Remarks on National Healing” are among the documents that Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to keep from investigators on Jan. 6.
Both documents have been examined by Politico. This is the first time the wording of the draft executive order has been made public.
The presidential order was never issued, and it would have established a special counsel to investigate the 2020 election. The statements are a rough draft of a speech Trump delivered the following day. The two documents show how White House aides and allies had dramatically varied viewpoints during Trump’s frantic closing weeks in power.
It’s unclear who wrote which of the two documents. However, the draft executive order is dated Dec. 16, 2020, and it is consistent with ideas made to then-President Barack Obama by lawyer Sidney Powell. Powell met with Trump in the Oval Office on Dec. 18, 2020, along with former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn, former Trump administration lawyer Emily Newman, and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.
Powell urged Trump to confiscate voting machines and appoint her as a special counsel to probe the election during that meeting.
A representative for the House’s Jan. 6 select committee confirmed early Friday that the panel had received the final of the documents that Trump’s lawyers attempted to keep hidden, but subsequently declined to comment on these two documents for this story.
According to the draft presidential order, the weeks leading up to Election Day and the Capitol attack may have been much more chaotic. It cites disproved Dominion voting machine claims as well as conspiracy theories involving election fraud in Georgia and Michigan.
The order gives the defense secretary the authority to “seize, collect, keep, and analyze all computers, equipment, electronically stored information, and material documents necessary for retention under” a US law governing election record preservation. A lawsuit filed against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in 2017 is also mentioned.
The proposed directive would also have authorized the defense secretary 60 days to prepare a report on the 2020 election. That shows it was a calculated move to keep Trump in power until at least February 2021.
Trump delivered an Oval Office address identical to the draft remarks the day after the assault, amid a barrage of condemnation and public discussion about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Trump also condemned the Capitol violence and urged for the perpetrators to be held accountable in his speech.
After that, the draft remarks go on to highlight how emotions are running high after such a tumultuous election. “But now, tempers must be cooled and calm restored.”
Trump “vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results,” the remarks add, and still urges election “reform” so voters could be confident about future contests.
“But as for THIS election, Congress has now certified the results,” the remarks say. “The election fight is over. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly, and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
In the year following the riot, Trump’s recent portrayal of the incident has strayed far from the tone expressed in the original remarks. The 2020 election, according to the former president, will be “the insurgency,” and January 6, 2021, will be “the protest.” He’s also lauded Ashli Babbitt, a rioter who broke into the Capitol and was shot and killed by a police officer there.