A series of pardons, post-election protests claiming voter fraud that has never been proven, and one man’s probable mental illness at the head of the nation are adding up to a “red alert” in what has normally been a quiet time of the year for many: the holidays. But not this year.
One officer who spoke with Newsweek on the condition of anonymity said the inaugural and transitional planning is being kept out of sight of the White House and Trump loyalists in the Pentagon for fear that it would be shut down.
“I’ve been associated with the military for over 40 years and I’ve never seen the discussions that are being had right now, the need for such discussions,” said the retired flag officer, who is currently a defense contractor. He was granted anonymity in order to speak without fear of reprisal.
“Right now, because of coronavirus,” one retired judge advocate general said, “the president actually 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.”
He continued, “But martial law is the wrong paradigm to think about the dangers ahead.”
“There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said in a joint statement last Friday.
“At this point there’s no telling what the president might do in the next month,” a former Northern Command (NORTHCOM) commander told Newsweek. “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 retired flag officer also requested anonymity because he is actively advising senior officers and is not authorized to speak on the record.
Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security advisor and a recently pardoned felon, publicly broached the subject of martial law on the conservative channel Newsmax last week, saying that the president should use the military to seize voting boxes and “rerun” the election in certain states.
“He could take military capabilities and he could … basically rerun an election,” Flynn said. “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’s statement has been condemned by numerous retired officers who referred to Flynn as a “disgrace to his uniform.”
Trump has so far denied the martial law suggestion publicly.
Martial law = Fake News. Just more knowingly bad reporting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2020
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Lincoln Project Trolls Trump with New TV Ad Where He’s Currently Vacationing
According to the Sun Sentinel, the group has bought air time in the West Palm Beach market from Wednesday through Jan. 5. Trump is scheduled to be in the area until Jan. 3.
“A major pillar of The Lincoln Project’s 2020 strategy was aiming to torment an audience of one — Trump — through advertising on cable shows he’s sure to watch on channels such as Fox News,” the Sentinel reports. “That’s the aim of the latest effort, which seeks to drive a wedge between Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress at which the electoral votes making Joe Biden the next president will be counted.”
The ad focuses on recent reports that say Vice President Mike Pence is “backing away” from Trumpworld’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“When Mike Pence is backing away from you, you know it’s over,” the ad states.
Watch the ad below.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) December 22, 2020
‘A Parting Gift to Dictators’: Trump Issues Final Round of Foreign Military Sales in Middle East
On Monday, writing for The Washington Post, columnist Brian Klaas tore into outgoing President Donald Trump for a final round of foreign military sales in the Middle East that function as a “parting gift to dictators” — and suggested he could even be using them to set up a private quid pro quo down the road in his post-presidency.
“All three regimes have abysmal human rights records,” wrote Klaas. “Saudi Arabia has beheaded dissidents, subjugated women and detained female activists who have pushed for reforms, and murdered and dismembered Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The United Arab Emirates is home to torture, arbitrary detention and forced disappearances. Egypt’s dictatorship has carried
“Given past behavior, we know how these weapons will likely be used,” warned Klaas. “Despots will use them to help facilitate war crimes in places such as Yemen and the Sinai Peninsula while maintaining an iron grip over their own populations — all aided and abetted by the U.S. government.”
And even worse, Klaas argued, Trump himself could be using these sales to call in a personal favor from these countries in his post-presidency. “Once Trump leaves the White House, odds are good that he will cash in,” he wrote. “Seen in that light, the recently approved arms sales and military technology transfers are even more worrying. Are they just the beginning of a quid pro quo?”
All of this is occurring as President-elect Joe Biden alleges the Pentagon is obstructing him from getting all of the national security information he requires for the transition — something administration officials deny.
“For the past four years, Trump has painted the image of a United States that consistently sides with tyrants,” concluded Klaas. “Biden now has an opportunity to reverse Trump’s catastrophic foreign policy. He should take it.”
You can read more here.
Trump’s $2,000 Stimulus Talk Could Hand Democrats the Senate Majority
An editorial that ran Monday in the The Wall Street Journal spelled out a Democratic victory in the Senate following President Donald J. Trump’s push for $2,000 stimulus checks.
The WSJ editorial board referred to the move as an “in-kind contribution to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden.”
“Senate Republicans oppose the $2,000 for these sound reasons, but Mr. Trump has put them in a political spot. Democrats immediately joined Mr. Trump’s call for the $2,000, and on Monday they passed the larger amount through the House, 275-134,” the WSJ editorial board wrote.
“That leaves Mr. McConnell with a tough call of barring a vote as Democrats bang away in TV ads in Georgia against GOP incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Or he can hold a vote, which would split the GOP caucus and upset fiscally conservative voters,” they continued.
“By all accounts Mr. Trump is angry about his election defeat, and he is lashing out at anyone who won’t indulge his hopeless campaign to overturn it. … Mr. Trump’s narcissism isn’t news,” they wrote. “But if Republicans lose the two Georgia seats and their majority, Republicans across the country should know to thank Mr. Trump for their 2021 tax increase.”
An important notation: The Wall Street Journal has not endorsed a presidential candidate since 1928, but the newspaper’s editorial board — along with other Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlets such as Fox News and the New York Post — has traditionally been favorable to Trump.
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