Trump should deploy military to ‘rerun’ election in swing states, Michael Flynn says

Ex-national security adviser, recently pardoned by president, says martial law ‘not unprecedented’

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 18 December 2020 15:50 GMT
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Donald Trump’s short-lived former national security adviser Michael Flynn has suggested the outgoing US president should use military force to “rerun” the election in the key swing states he lost in November.

Speaking to Newsmax, a right-wing broadcaster Mr Trump has promoted as an alternative to Fox News since last month’s vote, General Flynn pushed a conspiracy theory popular among Republican voters suggesting that voting machines were hacked to flip ballots in favour of Democrat Joe Biden, now president-elect after winning both the Electoral College and popular vote by comfortable margins.

“There is no way in the world we are going to be able to move forward as a nation,” General Flynn said. “[The president] could immediately, on his order, seize every single one of these machines.”

“Within the swing states,” he continued, “if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities, and he could place those in states and basically rerun an election in each of those states.

“I mean, it's not unprecedented. These people are out there talking about martial law like it's something that we've never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times.”

He added: ”We have a constitutional process. We clearly have a constitutional process. That has to be followed.”

General Flynn proposed the same idea on Twitter on 1 December on behalf of a collective calling itself the We The People Convention, only for it to be labelled “preposterous” by Bill Banks, a national security law expert at Syracuse University.

“Apart from the fact that state and now federal investigators have found no evidence of election fraud that would change the election outcome, martial law has no place in the United States absent a complete breakdown of civil governing mechanisms,” Mr Banks told Military Times.

General Flynn is a loyal ally of Trump, having been pardoned by the president on 26 November.

He was appointed US national security adviser by Mr Trump on 22 January 2017 – despite Barack Obama warning his successor against it – but was forced to admit misleading investigators and US vice president Mike Pence on the nature of conversations he had had with then-Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during the presidential transition after The Washington Post exposed him.

General Flynn stepped down on 13 February, his exit the first major departure from Mr Trump’s revolving-door Cabinet and his 23-day tenure the shortest in the history of an office dating back to 1953.

The source of much of the tension between the president and FBI director James Comey that led to the latter’s dismissal in May 2017, sparking Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, General Flynn was subsequently found to have carried out lobbying work on behalf of the Turkish government while working as an adviser to the Trump campaign in September 2016, meaning he sat in on classified national security briefings while registered as a foreign agent, raising significant conflict of interest concerns.

He agreed a plea deal with the FBI special counsel in December 2017 admitting to “willfully and knowingly” making false statements before withdrawing his confession in January 2020.

US attorney general William Barr duly announced on 7 May this year that all charges against him would be dropped.

US district judge Emmet Sullivan intervened to put the matter on hold before having to concede on 8 December in response to the presidential pardon, a gesture by Mr Trump that House speaker Nancy Pelosi has lambasted as “an act of grave corruption and a brazen abuse of power”.

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