Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House select committee that is investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, revealed Sunday that the panel has spoken with former Attorney General William Barr about an apparent plan by the Trump administration that would have involved the military seizing voting machines.
Politico was first to report earlier this week on a draft executive order reportedly given to former President Donald Trump that would have directed the secretary of Defense to seize voting machines. The select committee received the draft executive order, along with lots of other documents, from the National Archives. That draft order was one of several documents that Trump lawyers had sued to try to prevent them from being released to the committee investigating the Capitol riot.
“We’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already. We have talked to Department of Defense individuals,” Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said on CBS’ Face the Nation when asked about the draft executive order. “We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false. So, if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know.”
It’s unclear who wrote the draft executive order that is dated Dec. 16, 2020 and was never issued. “We have information that between the Department of Justice, a plan was put forward to potentially seize voting machines in the country and utilize Department of Defense assets to make that happen,” Thompson said. Although the committee hasn’t come across any evidence that there was actually a plan in place to turn the draft order into a reality, the fact that the draft exists “is reason enough to believe that it was being proposed,” he said. “Our job is to get to the facts and circumstances of, ‘How far did they go?’”