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Trump is pursuing desperate schemes to reverse elections



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President Donald Trump spends his waning days in office depending on a lawyer who, like him, has advanced conspiracy theories, and on a former adviser who has supported martial law, entertaining increasingly desperate, last-ditch schemes to reverse the outcome of the presidential election.

His extraordinary attempts have so far failed as he tries to collect funds from his supporters, and on Monday, he faced pushback from the outgoing U.S. attorney general, Bill Barr. His senior advisors in the White House, who themselves were alarmed by the proposals discussed by the president, usually sought to modulate his views.

Trump has envisaged ordering the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to seize state voting machines and met with his former national security advisor, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, on Friday, who, according to sources familiar with the meeting, publicly prodded Trump to declare martial law and order the military to supervise new elections in the battleground states that Trump lost.
Asked by ABC News if the president had legal authority to order the seizure of voting machines, Barr did not elaborate on the legality at a news conference Monday, but said he did not see a justification for doing so at present.

“I see no basis now for seizing machines by the federal government, you know, a wholesale seizure of machines by the federal government,” Barr said.

Trump released a succinct denial over the weekend of speculation he was considering attempting to enforce martial law, tweeting “Martial law = Fake News.” early Sunday.
“could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states.”could take on military capabilities and place them in those states and basically re-run an election in each of those states.
In the meantime, sources said, the president also considered attempting to name Sidney Powell, an election lawyer whom Trump had removed from his legal team, as a special counsel to look into the 2020 election, although the president could not, as would be usual, do so under the auspices of the Department of Justice.

Powell was one of Trump’s most vocal advisors in supporting the theory that his 2020 election defeat was simply a mirage, the product of a number of powers conspiring to snatch the election from him. Those arguments were dismissed by a series of scathing court decisions, as did experts on voting technology.
On Monday, Barr, who, as attorney general, has the power to appoint special counsel, denied the notion that one would have to look into the election or investigate claims made by Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, the president.

When asked about Hunter Biden, Barr said, “To the extent that there’s an investigation, I think that it’s being handled responsibly and professionally, currently within the department,” “And to this point, I have not seen a reason to appoint a special counsel, and I have no plan to do so before I leave.”

He said it was not appropriate, asking directly if he would support making Powell or anyone else a special counsel to investigate the election.
“If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, I would name one, but I haven’t,” said Barr. “And I’m not going to.”

In a tense Oval Office meeting Friday night, Powell joined Trump, Flynn and others, and she returned to the White House Sunday, although it was unknown with whom she had met or talked with, according to individuals familiar with the visits.

She was back at the White House for meetings on Monday as well. If she saw Trump was uncertain.

At the Friday conference, after Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had initially raised the idea earlier in the week, the assembled group pondered an executive order to seize and inspect voting machines across the nation, according to one source.

The White House refused to comment on Powell, Flynn or the schemes Trump is considering seeking to reverse the outcome of the election.

Meanwhile, after he and his supporters lost any legal effort they launched to overturn the outcome of last month’s election, which Biden won, Trump’s campaign on Sunday said it would ask the Supreme Court to reverse multiple Supreme Court decisions in Pennsylvania and essentially reverse the election results of that state, which Biden won.
In nine days, the president did not appear publicly, and behind closed doors, aides say, he stayed focused on the election—rather than governing the country through a historic pandemic, overseeing the implementation of two COVID-19 vaccinations, and ensuring a smooth transition to the administration of Biden.

Even after last week’s Electoral College rallied to vote, marking the latest move to make Biden’s win official, Trump continued to question the outcome.
To certify the election results, both houses of Congress will meet on Jan. 6, and Trump has been openly encouraging his congressional allies to mount challenges. At most, such steps could postpone by several hours the formal, final certification of Biden’s victory, as doing so would not obtain the approval of most of the two chambers—which would be sufficient to reverse the results.

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