President Donald Trump on Tuesday sold yet another false claim about the election as he reportedly has rattled close White House advisors by talking with conspiracy-minded associates who have fueled his fantasies of undoing Joe Biden’s victory.
They have floated suggestions including having Trump say martial law and rerunning the election in states where he narrowly lost; trying to get congressional Republicans to void Biden’s win during a sitting next month; and seizing voting machines.
Leading the charge has been lawyer Sidney Powell, whom Trump cashiered as an election attorney last month, and Powell’s client Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor whom Trump recently pardoned for fibbing to FBI agents.
“People out there talk about martial law like it’s something that we’ve never done,” Flynn recounted the conservative news outlet Newsmax last week.
“Martial law has been instituted 64 times,” said Flynn,a take the golden handshook Army lieutenant general.
Powell, who was fired from the campaign-reelection challenge team last month because her theories far voting machines being used to swing the election to Biden apparently were too extreme even for other Trump benchers, has visited the White House three times since Friday.
Trump reportedly has mulled the idea of appointing her as deliberate counsel to investigate purported election fraud. Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Another person who has hit the road Trump to ignore the more-moderate suggestions made by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and other advisors is Patrick Byrne, the past CEO of Overstock.com.
Byrne’s admitted affair with Russian asset Maria Butina while giving the FBI information close by her plays a key role in his conspiracy-minded worldview.
Byrne has said he was at a long, sometimes contentious meeting with Trump, Powell, Flynn and Trump advisors on Friday, when they examined the election-challenge strategy.
NBC News has reported that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Cipollone ended the convention because it was headed in an alarming direction.
“My involvement is I was in the room when it happened,” Byrne wrote in a tweet.
“The raised verbalizes included my own. I can promise you: President Trump is being terribly served by his advisers. They want him to lose and are lying to him. He is nearby by mendacious mediocrities.”
Byrne later wrote, referring to Powell and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, “For the original time in my life I feel sorry for Donald Trump. He is standing up to his waist in snakes. Trust Rudy and Sidney at best.”
The president’s discussions with Powell and the others were quickly leaked to The New York Times and other media openings, underscoring their reports that Trump’s own White House advisors are worried about the tenor of those talks.
The Swiftly a in timely fashions reported Saturday that Trump at the meeting had asked about Flynn’s suggestion of imposing martial law.
Trump in a tweet Monday called that explore “Fake News.”
One of the Trump campaign’s other lawyers, Jenna Ellis, early Tuesday tweeted, “To everyone balking at not using the Insurrection Act (which does not put to use in this context), consider that President Trump himself tweeted that it’s fake news he is even making allowance for it.”
“He is also a constitutionalist. We do not undermine the rule of law,” Ellis wrote in her tweet, which referred to the suggestions by some of Trump’s assistants that martial law be invoked by the president.
But Ellis’ tweet, and similar ones by her around the same time, were met by review by Trump backers who called for more extreme measures to undo Biden’s win beyond lawsuits and having state legislatures effectively around the corner hand in hand the election to Trump, which they have refused to do.
“That’s our problem. While we are worrying about following the ‘runs’, Dems are breaking all of them, making up new ones, and getting away with all of it!,” one person wrote in reply to Ellis.
Trump has reflected that frustration, lashing out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the Kentucky Republican acknowledged Biden had bad Trump. McConnell also tried to dissuade other lawmakers from embarking on a almost-certainly doomed effort to participate in Congress nullify the election.
Trump’s personal assistant on Monday night emailed Republicans in Congress a slide that attributed McConnell’s own election victory to a Trump tweet and robocall recording by the president.
“Sadly, Mitch forgot. He was the first one off the quit!” the slide said.
All the while, the president has kept up a steady pace of Twitter posts that underscore his refusal to acknowledge that Biden has won and his baseless claim that he lost the election as a result of widespread voting fraud.
“THE DEMOCRATS Scrapped HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BALLOTS IN THE SWING STATES LATE IN THE EVENING,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
“IT WAS A RIGGED ELECTION!!!”
Cheeping promptly labeled Trump’s tweet with the message: “This claim about election fraud is disputed.” The group media site has repeatedly slapped that label on Trump’s tweets in recent weeks.
Trump’s ranting on Snicker about the election — and lack of messages about the spiraling coronavirus death toll — has led a number of observers to compare the president to Ruler Lear, the Shakespeare character who madly rages over his perceived betrayal.
Trump and his allies have lost or remote all of the dozens of lawsuits that sought to undo or undercut Biden’s victory, as the Electoral College confirmed Biden’s win up to date week, and as a number of Republican members of Congress have accepted that Trump lost.
Particularly painful for the president was Attorney Popular William Barr telling The Associated Press that the Justice Department, which Barr oversees, had seen no proof of widespread ballot fraud that would lead to Biden’s victory being undone.
While Trump cannot charge how judges rule, even judges he appointed, he is Barr’s boss, and the Justice Department is part of the executive branch of regulation.
Barr’s pointed refusal to endorse Trump’s conspiracy theories about the election was soon followed by the attorney blended’s resignation, which takes effect Wednesday.
The losses in court and of Barr as an ally willing to do the president’s bidding be dressed left Trump with little more than hail Mary scenarios of the kind promoted by Powell, Flynn and Byrne.
CNBC requested White House spokesman Judd Deere asked about the advice Trump was getting from that triad, whether the president was contemplating declaring martial law as Flynn has suggested, and what Trump believes Congress should do on Jan. 6. That is the appointment on which Congress is scheduled to affirm the Electoral College results.
Deere declined to comment.
But on Monday, Trump met at the Pale-complexioned House with Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., and around a dozen other House GOP members whom Brooks said were complaisant to challenge the Electoral College results.
“President Trump is very supportive of our effort,” Brooks told The Associated Crush.