In his new book, "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show," ABC News' Jonathan Karl takes a sobering look at Donald Trump's final months as president. Trump and his allies, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, did everything they could to help Trump overturn the 2020 election results during that late 2020/early 2021 lame duck period — and that includes trying to pressure a Pentagon official.
The Pentagon official Flynn tried to pressure was Ezra Cohen-Watnick. According to Karl, Cohen-Watnick — who had reported to Flynn at the National Security Council and the Defense Intelligence Agency — was traveling in the Middle East when he got a call from Flynn.
Karl, in his book, writes, "Flynn told him to cut his trip short and get back to the United States immediately because there were big things about to happen," adding that "there was going to be an epic showdown over the election results."
Flynn, according to Karl, told Cohen-Watnick that "he needed to get orders signed, that ballots needed to be seized, and that extraordinary measures needed to be taken to stop Democrats from stealing the election."
Karl writes, "As Flynn ranted about the election fight, (Cohen) felt his old boss sounded manic. He didn't sound like the same guy he had worked for."
But Cohen-Watnick, according to Karl, told Flynn, "Sir, the election is over. It's time to move on."
Before Flynn angrily hung up the phone, Karl reports, he told Cohen-Watnick, "You're a quitter! This is not over! Don't be a quitter!"
In "Betrayal," Karl also reports that far-right Trump attorney Sidney Powell called Cohen-Watnick to push a wacky QAnon conspiracy theory involving then-CIA Director Gina Haspel. The theory, which was total nonsense, claimed that Haspel had been injured while on a secret mission to seize an election-related computer server.
Karl writes, "The server, Powell claimed, contained evidence that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of votes had been switched using rigged voting machines. Powell believed Haspel had embarked on this secret mission to get the server and destroy the evidence — in other words, the CIA director was part of the conspiracy."
Cohen-Watnick, according to Karl, thought that Powell sounded nuts — and a CIA agent debunked the claim that she had been injured, saying, "I'm happy to tell you that Director Haspel is alive and well and at the office."
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