Democracy Elections Trump

The Madness of King Donald

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Trump is obsessed with overturning the election he lost. He continues to tweet that he won and that the election was tainted by widespread fraud, even though his campaign lost every lawsuit in state and federal courts for lack of evidence and was twice rejected by the US Supreme Court. Trump appears to be delusional, egged on by conspiracy theorists and his inflated ego and raging narcissism.

The New York Times published a story about a long meeting at the White House on Friday where Trump considered ways to reverse the results of the election. Trump consulted with attorney Sidney Powell, who was previously ousted as one of his campaign lawyers after she unveiled her theories about voting machines programmed in Venezuela by followers of deceased dictator Hugo Chavez. No court accepted her evidence.

President Trump on Friday discussed naming Sidney Powell, who as a lawyer for his campaign team unleashed conspiracy theories about a Venezuelan plot to rig voting machines in the United States, to be a special counsel overseeing an investigation of voter fraud, according to two people briefed on the discussion.

It was unclear if Mr. Trump will move ahead with such a plan.

Most of his advisers opposed the idea, two of the people briefed on the discussion said, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. In recent days Mr. Giuliani has sought to have the Department of Homeland Security join the campaign’s efforts to overturn Mr. Trump’s loss in the election.

Mr. Giuliani joined the discussion by phone initially, while Ms. Powell was at the White House for a meeting that became raucous and involved people shouting at each other at times, according to one of the people briefed on what took place.

Ms. Powell’s client, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser whom the president recently pardoned, was also there, two of the people briefed on the meeting said. Some senior administration officials drifted in and out of the meeting.

During an appearance on the conservative Newsmax channel this week, Mr. Flynn pushed for Mr. Trump to impose martial law and deploy the military to “rerun” the election. At one point in the meeting on Friday, Mr. Trump asked about that idea.

Ms. Powell’s ideas were shot down by every other Trump adviser present, all of whom repeatedly pointed out that she had yet to back up her claims with proof. At one point, one person briefed on the meeting said, she produced several affidavits, but upon inspection they were all signed by a man she has previously used as an expert witness, whose credentials have been called into question.

The White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, and the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, repeatedly and aggressively pushed back on the ideas being proposed, which went beyond the special counsel idea, those briefed on the meeting said.

Mr. Cipollone told Mr. Trump there was no constitutional authority for what was being discussed, one of the people briefed on the meeting said. Other advisers from the White House and the Trump campaign delivered the same message throughout the meeting, which stretched on for a long period of time...

Mr. Trump, egged on by supporters like Ms. Powell, has never conceded and, holed up inside the White House, he continues to assert that he actually won — even though the baseless claims Ms. Powell and others have made of widespread fraud have been thoroughly debunked and even many of Mr. Trump’s closest allies have dismissed as preposterous her tale of an international conspiracy to rig the vote...

Ms. Powell accused other Trump advisers of being quitters, according to the people briefed.

But the idea that Mr. Trump would try to install Ms. Powell in a position to investigate the outcome sent shock waves through the president’s circle. She has repeatedly claimed there was widespread fraud, but several lawsuits she filed related to election fraud have been tossed out of court...

Part of the White House meeting on Friday night was a discussion about an executive order to take control of voting machines to examine them, according to one of the people briefed on the discussion.

Mr. Giuliani has separately pressed the Department of Homeland Security to seize possession of voting machines as part of a push to overturn the results of the election, three people familiar with the discussion said. Mr. Giuliani was told the department does not have the authority to do such a thing.

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