Andrew Harnik/AP

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied Donald Trump’s attempt to withhold White House documents from Congress’s January 6 committee. Today, new records are already coming to light—and illuminating the extreme steps the Trump administration considered when seeking to maintain power.

Among the documents now in committee hands is a draft executive order which, had it been issued, would have directed the secretary of defense to seize voting machines. According to Politico, which broke this news, the draft, dated December 16, 2020, reflects advice given to Trump by attorney Sidney Powell.

On Dec. 18, 2020, Powell, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump administration lawyer Emily Newman, and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne met with Trump in the Oval Office.

In that meeting, Powell urged Trump to seize voting machines and to appoint her as a special counsel to investigate the election, according to Axios.

Citing conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines, the order directs the nation’s top military leader to “seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information.” The order called for a special counsel to bring charges based on the seized information and authorized the defense secretary to use the national guard.

Reporter Betsy Woodruff Swan, who broke the story, notes that the order may have been part of a plan to keep Trump in office after January 20, 2021.

There’s a lot more to learn from the committee’s investigation, but one thing is clear: Trump’s coup attempt could have been even scarier.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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