Updated Jul 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Lawyer's plan for Trump to overturn 2020 election included firing acting AG

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A lawyer with deep ties to conservative groups and conspiracy theorists pushed several extreme ideas to then-President Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 elections, according to a document obtained by the New York Times.

Why it matters: In the memo, William Olson conceded that his proposed plans could be regarded as tantamount to declaring “martial law” and could be compared with Watergate.

  • His plans included tampering with the Justice Department and firing the acting attorney general, according to the Dec. 28 memo titled “Preserving Constitutional Order.”
  • The document highlights how Trump was turning to extreme, far-right figures outside the White House to pursue options to cling to power, the New York Times writes. Many of his official advisers had told him those options were impossible or unlawful.

Details: The New York Times reports that Trump continued to seek extreme legal advice that went against the recommendations of the DOJ.

  • According to the memo, Olson suggested that the DOJ would intercede directly with the Supreme Court to reverse Trump's defeat.
  • He also encouraged Trump to fire or reassign acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen if he would not use the DOJ to challenge the election in court. Olson acknowledged that doing so would draw negative media coverage.

Background: Olson currently represents conspiracy theorist and MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, who was sanctioned over an election suit.

  • Olson also had ties to Republican super PACs and promoted a conspiracy theory that Kamala Harris is not eligible to be vice president, falsely claiming she is not a natural-born U.S. citizen.

What they're saying: “Our little band of lawyers is working on a memorandum that explains exactly what you can do,” Olson wrote in his memo to Trump.

  • “The media will call this martial law ... that is ‘fake news,'" Olson wrote.
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