Trump was directly involved in a plan to seize voting machines from states

The former president’s liaison for the mastermind plan? Rudy Giuliani, of course.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former New York Mayor R...
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You’re not going to believe this, but it turns out Donald Trump wanted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Have you heard about this?

It’s hard to believe — what, with all of the reporting suggesting that he called for voting to stop during the election, pushed false stories of unverified fraud, asked about deploying the military to overturn the results, and put a crackpot conspiracy theorist in charge of investigating claims of voter fraud. Oh, and then there’s the fact that he straight up said his vice president, Mike Pence, should have simply declared Trump the winner.

So it’s a real shock that, according to the latest report from The New York Times, Trump tried to push the Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines from several important swing states. Other than fitting in perfectly with Trump’s multi-year campaign to try to baselessly invalidate the election results, it’s pretty out of character!

Per the Times, Trump started to get antsy in December 2020, fearing that all of the evidence — including the initial vote count, recounts, and early audits — all pointed to him losing. Because that simply could not be right, Trump tapped his personal lawyer and vampire who somehow has been allowed out in the daylight, Rudy Giuliani, to call the acting deputy secretary of DHS. Giuliani asked if the agency could take the voting machines from several states, with the goal of auditing the systems and discovering the supposed widespread fraud that resulted in more people voting for Joe Biden.

The plan got shot down pretty quickly. Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy homeland security secretary at the time, told Giuliani that the agency didn’t have the authority to impound the machines. Turns out, without any actual evidence to suggest there was fraud, federal agencies aren’t enthused about the idea of overturning election results or casting doubt on the integrity of the country’s electoral process.

Trump’s attempt to tap DHS to seize the machines was reportedly just one of three separate efforts by the Trump White House to try to interfere with the election results. An executive order drafted but never signed by Trump would have instructed the Department of Defense to mobilize National Guard units to seize voting machines in certain states. Another plan utilizing the Department of Justice was also floated, though quickly shot down as well.

It’s hard to be shocked by any of these developments because Trump was never particularly a pro-democracy guy — he preemptively said in both 2016 and 2020 that if he lost the election, then it was rigged. But it’s important to not lose sight of just how absolutely unusual all of this is. The president of the United States explored multiple avenues to interfere with and overturn the results of an election in order to stay in power. That’s a coup, folks. Just because it failed doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.