Jon Karl warns that things came a lot closer to an American crisis than previously thought
ABC/screen grab

ABC News Reporter Jonathan Karl's new book Betrayal outlines the shocking degree to which the American government came to an outright crisis.

Speaking to the Washington Post about the book Tuesday, reporter Karen Tumulty cited excerpts from his book noting how close Donald Trump came to overthrow the 2020 election.

"The number of sort of close calls you document in this book is just extraordinary," she explained.

"I mean, I think that we got much closer to a far greater crisis than what we faced," said Karl. "And obviously we faced a tremendous crisis unprecedented in American history. But there were many moments where things could have gone off the rails far more significantly. And were--in some ways our democracy was saved by people that were--that were--you would not really think would be the typical profiles in courage but people who stood up at critical junctures and said no to Donald Trump."

READ MORE: Jon Karl reveals the office ransacked most on Jan. 6 and what it exposes about the insurrection

It was a similar point that CNN's Jim Acosta made Wednesday citing Karl's book.

"Not that there is anything wrong with a political movement rising up in this country, but at the heart of it, when at the heart of it is a coup attempt, and people who want to undermine our democracy, there is a very serious problem," said Acosta.

One piece of Karl's book details the degrees to which Michael Flynn went trying to get Trump's appointees at the Pentagon to dispatch special ops forces to "to seize voting machines in the United States and to do who knows what else."

Karl went on to recall that at the time Flynn was demanding that Trump declare martial law and rerun the election.

READ MORE: Trump took a 'dark, dark turn' after the election -- and anyone who pushed back was 'scared into silence'

It's "crazy talk if it's just one retired military officer," said Karl. "But he reached out and tried to get somebody who he thought was going to be an ally at the Pentagon to help him do it. Cohen didn't go along with it and told him the election was over. And you know, you wonder what would have happened if he hadn't."

While the newly pardoned Flynn was blowing up the phones of who he thought were government allies, Trump was surrounded by a slew of conspiracy nuts. Acosta also mentioned a piece in the book where lawyer Sidney Powell truly believed in a QAnon conspiracy theory that the head of the CIA, Gina Haspel, was injured on a secret and covert mission, taken to Germany to seize an election-related computer."

Powell was at the White House at the time, and could easily ask anyone there to confirm or deny it. These were the kinds of people the president was surrounding himself with.

Acosta recalled reporting from the White House in those days following the election and seeing people like Mike Lindell. This is the same man who this week claimed that he can't prove Trump won the 2020 election because the Supreme Court was going to overturn the results by Nov. 23.

Karls book Betrayal is on sale now.