The Jan. 6 committee has obtained a never-issued executive order from former President Donald Trump ordering the seizure of voting machines after the 2020 election, as well as a never-read speech on “national healing” dated 24 hours after the attack on the Capitol, Politico reported on Friday.
Sidney Powell — the conspiracy theorist and former Trump lawyer who was subpoenaed by the committee earlier this week — had urged the former president to seize voting machines and appoint a special counsel to investigate the election during a December 2020 meeting in the Oval Office. The text of the executive order, dated two days before the meeting, had not been previously reported.
It’s unclear who authored the order, but the fact that certain classified memoranda are referenced suggests the person or people behind it were able to access government secrets, a person with knowledge of the memoranda told Politico.
Citing bogus conspiracy theories about voting machines and “evidence of international and foreign interference” in the election, the order authorizes then-Secretary of Defense Mark Milley to “seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention under” an election records preservation law. Milley would then have 60 days to submit an assessment of the election — a potential tool to extend Trump’s time in office beyond Inauguration Day.
As Powell requested, the order also creates 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.”
Powell and other MAGA diehards like Rudy Giuliani are currently embroiled in defamation lawsuits brought by some of the voting machine companies cited in the executive order.
The second document now in possession of the Jan. 6 committee is titled “Remarks on National Healing.” The undelivered address drafted for delivery on Jan. 7 takes a harsh, and therefore responsible and presidential, approach toward those who attacked the Capitol — so no wonder it was shelved.
“I would like to begin today by addressing the heinous attack that took place yesterday at the United States Capitol,” it opens. “Like all Americans, I was outraged and sickened by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem. I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is, and must always be, a nation of law and order.”
There is no evidence backing up Trump’s claim that he ordered the National Guard to the Capitol grounds ahead of Jan. 6. He may not have ordered it to respond to the attack, either. Politico points out that in its letter requesting the cooperation of Ivanka Trump, the committee notes that “Acting Secretary Chris Miller, who was in the chain of command and reported directly to the President, has testified under oath that the President never contacted him at any time on January 6th, and never, at any time, issued him any order to deploy the National Guard.”
“Remarks on National Healing” also notes that the rioters “have defiled the seat of American Democracy,” adding: “To those who engaged in acts of violence and destruction, I want to be very clear: you do not represent me. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law, you belong in jail.”
In reality, when Trump finally got around to addressing his supporters in a video message late that afternoon, he sounded appreciative. “We have to have peace,” Trump said then. “So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens, you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel.”
A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee told Politico that it has now received all of the documents that Trump had sued to try to avoid handing over. In an 8-1 decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled against the ex-president’s claim of executive privilege.