During a meeting at the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump reportedly asked his advisers about retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's recent suggestion that the administration impose martial law and use the military to conduct a "rerun" of the November presidential election.
According to the New York Times, which first reported the discussion Saturday, Trump's advisers pushed back against Flynn's proposal and other ideas the president floated during the meeting, including his suggestion that notorious right-wing attorney Sidney Powell be named special counsel for an investigation into baseless allegations of widespread "voter fraud." Flynn, who Trump pardoned last month, was reportedly present at the White House meeting.
In a tweet early Sunday morning, Trump—who is set to leave office in a month—denied that he raised Flynn's call for martial law, dismissing the Times story as "fake news" and "knowingly bad reporting."
The Associated Press reported that during the Friday meeting, the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani "pushed Trump to seize voting machines in his hunt for evidence of fraud."
While Trump is unlikely to do anything resembling what Flynn and Giuliani suggested, observers warned that the lame-duck president's willingness to entertain such proposals highlights the threat he still poses to democracy on his way out the door.
"A week ago 126 of my Republican colleagues violated the Constitution by supporting Trump's attempt to steal the election," tweeted Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), referring to GOP support for a Texas-led lawsuit that the Supreme Court rejected earlier this month. "How many support Trump's discussion of military dictatorship?"
Axios reported Saturday that senior Trump administration officials, whom the outlet did not name, are growing "increasingly alarmed that President Trump might unleash—and abuse—the power of government in an effort to overturn the clear result of the election."
"Their fears include Trump's interest in former national security adviser Michael Flynn's wild talk of martial law; an idea floated of an executive order to commandeer voting machines; and the specter of Sidney Powell, the conspiracy-spewing election lawyer, obtaining governmental power and a top-level security clearance," according to Axios.
In response to the Axios story, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) dismissed the Trump advisers' supposed alarm as "all for show," given that they've repeatedly enabled the president's past abuses.
"They have empowered him as he destroys democratic institutions and embarrasses the U.S. globally," Omar tweeted. "They are shameless."