New York Times: Conservative lawyer suggested Trump take steps to declare ‘martial law’ to overturn election results

The Times reported on an undisclosed memo previously written by conservative attorney William Olson, which documented a phone call Olson had with Trump on Christmas Day in 2020. In the memo, Olson said wrote that he had urged Trump to enlist the Justice Department to intervene directly in his Supreme Court legal efforts — and to consider replacing his acting attorney general if he did not.

The memo says Trump told Olson he would go through with the plan. The memo appears to be an early sketch of what became clear days later, Trump’s approach to lobbying the Justice Department and a desire to potentially replace its senior leadership.

Olson also encouraged Trump in the December 28, 2020 memo to replace attorneys in the White House Counsel’s Office who had strongly opposed efforts by Trump allies like Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell to take action. such as seizure of voting machines.

“Have your new White House attorney identify how the powers of the presidency can be used to ensure the people receive a fair voter count,” Olson wrote in the memo obtained by The Times. “Our small group of lawyers are working on a memorandum that explains exactly what you can do. The media will call it martial law, but…it’s ‘fake news’.”

Olson’s call with Trump about how he could try to cancel the 2020 election underscores how Trump has continued to receive advice from outside actors about potential steps he could take to avoid his loss, although after his own White House attorneys and Justice Department officials told him there was no evidence of substantial voter fraud and he lost the election.

About a week after the conversation with Olson, in early January, Trump considered replacing his acting attorney general with Jeffrey Clark, an environmental lawyer at the Justice Department who had embraced Trump’s bogus voter fraud allegations. He did not follow through after being confronted by DOJ and White House lawyers who warned the move would lead to mass resignations.

It’s unclear how Olson got into Trump’s orbit, and it’s long been a question of how Clark rose to prominence in Trump’s mind. Olson is currently representing MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has been one of the most vocal supporters of Trump’s false voter fraud allegations, in a lawsuit against the House Select Committee, challenging their search for certain information from his phone account.

Olson did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

In December and January 2020, Trump continued to press the Justice Department to accept his fraud allegations. Former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and Stephen Engel, a former official in the DOJ’s office of legal counsel, testified before the House committee on Jan. 6 last month that Trump had raised questions about whether the DOJ would sue. a lawsuit in the Supreme Court and had sent a draft lawsuit to the Ministry of Justice.

“It was a baseless lawsuit that wasn’t something the Department could or — or would want to bring,” Engel said. “Somebody obviously prepared it at the — gave it to the president and he passed it on for our review.”

In his memo, Olson urged Trump to “direct the Acting AG to file the complaint on behalf of the United States by 5 p.m. tomorrow.” He added that if the acting attorney general refuses to do so, Trump should replace him with a Senate-verified DOJ official who will.

Additionally, Olson took aim at the White House Counsel’s Office, writing that in their conversation he could “hear the disgraceful and dismissive attitude of the attorney in the White House Counsel’s Office toward you personally. “.

It’s unclear which White House attorney Olson is referring to — former Trump White House attorney Pat Cipollone and former Trump White House attorney Eric Herschmann testified in depositions before the committee on 6 January that they strongly opposed efforts to annul the election.

In the memo, Olson encouraged Trump to hire Kurt Olsen into the White House Counsel’s Office, saying he could bring in additional attorneys to help Trump. “You literally need a lawyer by your side,” William Olson wrote of Kurt Olsen.

Kurt Olsen, who helped prepare the Texas lawsuit to overturn Biden’s Supreme Court victory, contacted the Justice Department multiple times in December 2020, requesting a meeting with Rosen and providing a draft complaint to the Supreme Court for the Justice Department to sign off on it, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee report last year.

“As I said on our call, the President of the United States saw this complaint, and he asked me last night to brief AG Rosen in person today to discuss bringing this action. .I have been instructed to report to the President this afternoon after this meeting,” Kurt Olsen wrote on Dec. 29.

The January 6 committee issued a subpoena to Kurt Olsen in March. William Olson was not mentioned in the Senate Judiciary’s review of the Justice Department lobbying campaign and was not subpoenaed by the House, according to committee announcements.

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Post expires at 8:05pm on Thursday July 21st, 2022