Donald Trump's public statements from late last year show he was clearly on board with the coup plot laid out in a newly revealed PowerPoint document.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows turned over the 38-page document to the House select committee, eliciting shock from many in the media and government, but Popular Information researcher Judd Legum found substantial evidence that the twice-impeached one-term president knew about and supported that unconstitutional strategy to remain in office.
"Trump spoke repeatedly, without evidence, about 'foreign influence and control of electronic voting systems,'" Legum wrote. "In a November 29, 2020 appearance on Fox Business, Trump said that votes recorded on Dominion voting machines 'are counted in foreign countries.' He repeated the same claim in a recorded speech released on December 2, 2020."
"On December 22, 2020, Trump promoted a tweet in his feed encouraging Pence to reject the electors certified by the Electoral College in order to defend the country from 'China, Russia, Iran,'" he added.
Those comments track with one of the pages found in a similar, 36-page PowerPoint that has surfaced online, which recommends briefing members of Congress on alleged "foreign interference," and a retired colonel who was involved in creating the document said those meetings actually happened in the weeks before Jan. 6.
"[Retired Col. Phil] Waldron told the Washington Post that he briefed Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and other members of Congress who he did not identify," Legum wrote. "Neither Johnson nor Graham denied Waldron's claims."
The former president ultimately did not declare a national emergency, as the PowerPoint recommended, but he did cast certification of Joe Biden's election win as a national security threat during his Jan. 6 speech at the "Stop the Steal" rally, and that language aligned with his public statements casting doubt on electronic and mail-in votes.
"Trump did not personally have the power to invalidate all electronic votes," Legum wrote. "But he did declare that all electronic voting was invalid, falsely claiming it was tainted by fraud. In a Thanksgiving speech to troops around the world on November 26, 2020, Trump said that electronic votes were 'rigged' and only paper ballots are accurate. Trump made similar claims on December 2, 2020, when he told the nation that none of the electronic results can be trusted and the nation must 'go to paper.'"
All those baseless doubts underpinned the PowerPoint's overarching strategy to have then-vice president Mike Pence refuse to count or recognize Biden electors -- which Trump publicly called on him to do before and during the U.S. Capitol riot.
"It is unclear what influence, if any, the PowerPoint had on Trump or his inner circle," Legum wrote. "But that is not because the PowerPoint outlined a strategy that was more 'extreme' or 'wild' than the one Trump pursued. It was largely the same. Trump did not lack the will to overturn the democratic process; he lacked a way to execute a plan."