The Pentagon is covertly discussing the scenario of its actions in response to the possible imposition of martial law by President Donald Trump ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on 20 January, Newsweek has cited unnamed Department of Defence sources as saying.
The reports have already been vehemently denied by POTUS who described them as nothing but another fake news story on his Twitter page.
Martial law = Fake News. Just more knowingly bad reporting!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2020
The sources meanwhile claimed that Pentagon officials along with the heads of military units stationed near Washington DC are "on red alert" as they are involved in "secret contingency planning in case the armed forces are called upon to maintain or restore civil order during the inauguration and transition period".
One of the insiders argued that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the US president currently has "unprecedented emergency powers, ones that might convince him—particularly if he listens to certain of his supporters—that he has unlimited powers and is above the law".
The insider described martial law as "the wrong paradigm to think about the dangers ahead", something that was echoed by another source who noted the actions Trump may take next month are anybody's guess "at this point".
"Though I'm confident that the uniformed military leadership has their heads screwed on right, the craziness is unprecedented and the possibilities are endless", the source asserted.
One more insider called Trump a person who is "fascinated with the secret levers of the presidency that are available to him", singling out the so-called Presidential Emergency Action Documents (PEADs).
The documents include executive orders, presidential messages, and draft legislation that are distributed among various departments and government agencies. One of the PEADs, Directive 20, allegedly addresses martial law, according to the source.
They explained the directive is introduced in the event of the US being subjected to an armed attack, Washington being destroyed, and work of state and local governments being paralysed,
"Of course Directive 20 can't be implemented, both because the conditions aren't present and the military wouldn't go along", the insider pointed out, adding, however, that "the greatest danger is that the very existence of these layers of secret directives might convey the impression of powers and authorities that don't really exist in peacetime".
General Flynn Calls For Martial Law in Six Swing States
The remarks follow former National Security Adviser to the US president, General Michael Flynn, telling the media outlet Newsmax last week that Trump should impose martial law in six swing states and "take military capabilities" in a bid to "rerun" the 3 November election there.
"The president has to plan for every eventuality because we cannot allow this election and the integrity of our election to go the way it is", Flynn added.
POTUS pardoned the general on 25 November, in a move that ended years-long litigation against Flynn over purportedly lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian ambassador to the US in 2016 ahead of Trump's inauguration.
POTUS, meanwhile, still declines to concede defeat in the 2020 election, pointing to "voter fraud" and slamming the event as "the most corrupt" elections in US history.
Earlier in December, the US Electoral College gathering saw Biden secure 306 votes to Trump's 232, in a sign that the Democrat passed the threshold of 270 electoral votes required for him to become president. The votes are due to be certified by the US Congress on 6 January.