Philip Waldron, a retired U.S. Army colonel who circulated a PowerPoint presentation proposing ways Donald Trump could hold onto power after losing the 2020 presidential election, has told the Washington Post that he visited the White House multiple times after the election; spoke with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as many as ten times; and briefed several members of Congress about the presentation the day before a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in a violent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory. As the Post notes, Waldron’s account suggests “that Meadows, who also pressed senior Justice Department leaders to investigate baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud, was more directly in contact with proponents of such theories than was previously known.”
The 38-page PowerPoint, titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN,” made many false claims about voter fraud and election irregularities. It also featured recommendations on how to change the election outcome, by having Vice-President Mike Pence reject or replace electors, or by declaring a national security emergency and having National Guard troops and U.S. Marshals “secure” and count paper ballots from certain states. The PowerPoint apparently makes similar claims to a 36-page presentation which surfaced publicly last week. A version of the presentation, which Meadows received in an email on January 5, was part of a tranche of documents turned over by Meadows to the January 6 House Select Committee before he declared last week that he would no longer be complying with their investigation.
The 57-year-old Waldron, who specialized in psychological operations during his military career and later became a cybersecurity consultant, was one of a cast of conspiracy-minded characters in Trump’s orbit, including Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and John C. Eastman, who attempted to come up with ways Trump could remain in power. Waldron told the Post that Meadows asked him in late December 2020 whether the election had been hacked — which could have given credence to Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and provide pretext for overturning the election results. Waldron said he repeatedly visited the White House and spoke to Meadows “maybe eight to ten times,” often communicating through Giuliani.
“The presentation was that there was significant foreign interference in the election, here’s the proof,” Waldron told the Post. “These are constitutional, legal, feasible, acceptable and suitable courses of action,” he claimed.
Waldron also told the Post he attended a November 25 meeting with Trump and several legislators from Pennsylvania, once briefed Senator Lindsey Graham in the White House at Meadows’s request, and was among a small group of people who briefed several members of Congress on January 5 about the presentation, though he refused to identify who those lawmakers were.
The Post notes that “it is not clear how widely the PowerPoint was circulated or how seriously the ideas in it were considered.” The publication reports that one of Meadows’s lawyers insisted there is no indication the former chief of staff acted on the presentation after he received it by email, and that “a person familiar with Meadows’s thinking stressed that Meadows had ‘little or nothing to do’ with Waldron and did not endorse the document.”