Trump advisers who championed the idea of seizing voting machines in the wake of the 2020 election are now distancing themselves from a draft executive order that would have instructed the secretary of defense to carry out the plan.
Among those advising former president Donald Trump to seize voting machines were MAGA attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, the Daily Beast reported Tuesday.
"But a year later, as the investigations and lawsuits further intensify, with the subpoenas flying and the legal bills soaring, the Trumpist gang is taking a curious approach to a newly published draft of the Trump executive-order outlining their brazenly authoritarian blueprint. They now want absolutely nothing to do with it," according to the Daily Beast. "The ongoing game of hot potato over the draft EO, with the would-be coup participants all invoking the Shaggy defense, underscores a nagging mystery that investigators on the congressional Jan. 6 committee and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been trying to solve: Who, exactly, wrote the order for Trump, and what other related schemes did the then-president, along with his aides and cronies, work to turn into reality?"
Byrne told the Daily Beast: “I do not recognize it and neither does General [Michael] Flynn. It is not what we brought over [to Trump] on December 18, ."
Flynn reportedly has been telling people privately that he doesn't recognize the draft order, while Wood said last week, “I had no involvement."
Powell did not respond to repeated inquiries about whether she wrote the draft executive order, according to the Daily Beast.
Four sources involved with the Trump transition team said they couldn't confirm who wrote the draft order. However, they all said they assumed at that time that it was Powell, given that she was the main driver of the idea.
"I often did not know who wrote what, or where each crazy document came from," one of the sources said. "The stuff that Sidney and Rudy [Giuliani] and other people were pushing then, you couldn't tell if they wrote it or if they pulled it off a weird website somewhere. I told the [then-]president that many of these documents looked like they could have been written by a ten-year-old. As far as I know, they could have.”
Independent researchers have noted that the document "shares a number of similarities to one published to Powell’s PDF-hosting account on Scribd in December, which has since been removed," according to the Daily Beast.
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, told the site: “It doesn’t surprise me at all that the author of this memo isn’t coming forward. After all, that person would be buying him or herself expensive legal bills, potential embarrassment, and a lot of unwanted attention from governmental authorities."