National Security

Jan. 6 panel probing Trump’s role in effort to seize voting machines: report

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection is investigating what role former President Trump may have had in proposals to take voting machines following the 2020 election, The New York Times reported, citing three people with knowledge.

One of the aspects that the committee is reportedly looking into is what involvement Trump may have had in helping create a national security finding, which could have provided national security agencies a legal basis to seize voting machines.

Though the Times noted it was not clear what documents the committee was using to pursue such an inquiry, the newspaper did point to one first published by Politico last month, called “Presidential Findings to Preserve Collect and Analyze National Security Information Regarding the 2020 General Election.” 

Dated Dec. 16, 2020, the document reads, “I, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, find that the forensic report of the Antrim County, Michigan voting machines, released December 13, 2020, and other evidence submitted to me in support of this order, provide probable cause sufficient to require action under the authorities cited above because of evidence of international and foreign interference in the November 3, 2020, election.”

The documents orders the Defense secretary to seize and collect all voting machines, though the Times notes the foreign interference assertions are baseless.

The newspaper noted formal and informal advisers of the former president had circulated the document following the election. 
 
The report from the Times follows another report the newspaper published on Monday in which it cited three unidentified sources who said that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani had been ordered by the former president to inquire whether voting machines in certain swing states could be seized legally from the Department of Homeland Security.
 
Former acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told the Trump attorney that he did not have the authority to take the voting machines or examine them, according to the newspaper.
CNN reported on Monday, citing multiple sources, that a second draft of an executive order had been made by advisers to the former president with the intention to order the Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines.
 
“It could potentially constitute a crime in my view,” former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. “Certainly conspiring to seize voting machines, conspiring to hijack our election that way, to hijack our democracy, and I hope the Jan. 6 committee and even the Department of Justice are looking at this apparent evidence.”

The Hill has reached out to the committee and a spokesperson for Trump for comment.

Updated: 8:51 p.m. 

Tags 2020 election Donald Trump Donald Trump Jan. 6 Committee Rudy Giuliani voting machines
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