Jan. 6 committee obtains executive order draft that called for voting machines to be seized

It's unclear who wrote the December 16, 2020, document — but it doesn't stray far from Trump's public comments

By Meaghan Ellis

Published January 22, 2022 12:01PM (EST)

Former president Donald J Trump holds a Save America rally in Perry, GA, United States on September 25, 2021. (Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Former president Donald J Trump holds a Save America rally in Perry, GA, United States on September 25, 2021. (Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

The House Select Committee has uncovered a draft of an executive order written sometime in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election. According to Business Insider, the order would have called for the U.S. Secretary of Defense to "seize" voting machines and select a special counsel to conduct an election investigation.

The document, reportedly dated December 16, 2020, "outlines a plan for the Pentagon to take the machines and for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to conduct an assessment of the machines within 60 days of their seizure."

"Effective immediately, the Secretary of Defense shall seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention," the draft order said.

In addition to suggesting a government seizure of voting machines, the order also echoes multiple election conspiracy theories largely circulated by former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Trump's controversial campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, both of whom are known Trump allies.

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"The appointment of a Special Counsel to oversee this operation and institute all criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate based on the evidence collected and provided all resources necessary to carry out her duties consistent with federal laws and the Constitution," the draft order also said.

While it remains unclear who actually wrote the draft, it does appear to align with the ideology of former President Donald Trump's allies and many right-wing figures who circulated his claims of widespread voter fraud. The Jan. 6 investigative committee was able to obtain the draft earlier this week after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Trump's request to block the panel from obtaining a substantial amount of executive-branch documents.

Although Trump's campaign legal team filed countless lawsuits contesting the election results in multiple states, election audits cybersecurity experts have confirmed there was no evidence of voter fraud.

More on the continuing aftermath of Jan. 6, 2021:

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Alternet Big Lie Capitol Riot Committee Donald Trump Insurrection January 6 Voting Machines Voting Rights