Senior White House officials are growing increasingly concerned over President Donald Trump "spending too much time" in talks with "crackpots or conspiracy theorists" presumably discussing ways to overturn the election results, Axios reported, citing anonymous officials. The sources accuse these "conspiracy nuts" of considering methods bordering on blatant abuse of power as means to achieve their goals.
One anonymous official told Axios that they are anxious about "how this ends" in light of POTUS "retweeting threats of putting politicians in jail" and talking to people who claim "declaring martial law is no big deal". The White House official reportedly added that similar feelings are shared by many of their colleagues.
"People who are concerned and nervous aren’t the weak-kneed bureaucrats that we loathe. These are people who have endured arguably more insanity and mayhem than any administration officials in history", the source told Axios.
Calls for Military-Enforced Do-Over Election
It is not entirely clear to whom the Axios sources were referring as "conspiracy nuts". However, the mentioned attitude towards martial law and its use as a means to redo the election was weighed in on by recently-pardoned General Michael Flynn during an interview with Newsmax.
Flynn, who has repeatedly peddled the theory that the election was "stolen" from Trump, suggested that POTUS should introduce martial law in swing states and use the military to hold a presidential election there again. The general, who earlier served as Trump's national security adviser, argued that using martial law is nothing out of the ordinary, although it has never been used before in the US to hold a do-over election.
Here's Michael Flynn on Newsmax saying that Trump could order "military capabilities" to swing states and "rerun an election in each of those states."— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 18, 2020
"People out there talk about martial law like it's something that we've never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times." pic.twitter.com/KNmiAGGiPF
The recently-pardoned ex-Trump official further suggested the president should confiscate the voting machines to check them for foreign interference, claiming that the equipment could have been meddled with by China, Russia, Iran, or Venezuela. The Dominion voting machines Flynn was referring to are actually manufactured solely in the US and so far no evidence has been presented of foreign participation in their production.
According to a report by The New York Times, Flynn took part in a recent meeting where Trump discussed the possibilities of overturning Joe Biden's victory in the election. The report claims that POTUS had considered making Sidney Powell, a prominent pro-Trump lawyer, a special counsel to investigate his allegations of election fraud. She, in turn, has reportedly suggested seizing voting machines to inspect them for signs of manipulation.
Both ideas were strongly opposed by Trump's other aides, including chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone. In the past, Trump's campaign had distanced itself from Powell over some of her statements regarding election fraud, which were branded as "conspiracy theories" by mainstream media outlets.