Trump allies explored sending private contractors to seize voting machines

Supporters on the fringes of former President Trump’s circle explored seeking sweeping authority after the 2020 election to enlist armed private contractors to seize and inspect voting machines and election data with the assistance of U.S. marshals, according to a draft letter asking the president to grant them permission.

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The previously undisclosed “authorizing letter” and accompanying emails were sent on Nov. 21, 2020, from a person involved in efforts to find evidence of fraud in the election that year. The documents, which were reviewed by The Times, are believed to be among those in the possession of the House Jan. 6 committee, which is scheduled to begin public hearings Thursday.

The letter appears to be one of the earliest iterations of a draft executive order presented to the then-president in the Oval Office on Dec. 18, 2020, by then- Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, former national security advisor Michael Flynn and former Overstock.com Chief Executive Patrick Byrne in an effort to take control of voting machines.

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