Another layer of detail has further implicated former president Donald Trump in his more buffoonish aides’ efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election over baseless allegations of voter fraud.
According to the New York Times, on December 18, 2020, the president’s conspiracist legal advisers Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell proposed to Trump that he authorize the Pentagon to seize voting machines to search for evidence of election fraud. After they gave the president the draft of an executive order — concocted by a bar owner in Texas named Phil Waldron — authorizing the Pentagon to seize the voting machines, Trump called Giuliani into the Oval Office. Remarkably, considering his usual enthusiasm for bad ideas, Giuliani shot down the scheme, informing the president that the military could be authorized only if there was obvious evidence of foreign interference. Once Flynn and Powell left the room, he reportedly said that such a plot would get Trump impeached a second time.
Giuliani provided some decent advice here, but he still went along with an adjusted version of the plan. After Trump nixed the military option, Waldron changed the draft of the executive order to say that the Department of Homeland Security could seize the voting machines — at which point Trump reportedly directed Giuliani to call the DHS acting deputy secretary, who said he did not have the authority to do so.
While the attorney, who is under federal investigation, provided some sound legal advice on this occasion, his judgement since has been less astute with gaffes that include recording a Cameo in which he endorses a case against one of his clients, reportedly getting banned from Fox News, and shaving in an airport restaurant.