Special counsel Trump was repeatedly warned by national security officials that he did not have the authority to seize voting machines.


CNN has learned that former top national security officials have testified to a federal grand jury and told prosecutors that they repeatedly told former President Donald Trump and his allies that the government did not have the authority to seize voting machines following the 2020 election.

Three people with knowledge of the proceedings claim that Ken Cuccinelli, the former second in command of the Department of Homeland Security, was questioned about administration-wide discussions regarding DHS seizing voting machines when he appeared before the grand jury earlier this year. According to one of the sources, Cuccinelli testified that he “made clear at all times” that DHS did not have the authority to take such a step.

Cuccinelli’s previous supervisor at DHS, ex-acting secretary Chad Wolf, met with Equity investigators and FBI authorities recently subsequent to getting a fabulous jury summon from unique direction Jack Smith’s group, as per Wolf’s legal counselor John Coale. Coale told CNN that Wolf told prosecutors that after the 2020 election, White House officials asked him if DHS had the legal authority to seize voting machines, and each time he said no.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Trump’s former national security adviser Robert O’Brien also recounted conversations about seizing voting machines after the 2020 election, including during a heated Oval Office meeting, in a closed-door interview with federal prosecutors earlier this year.

Special counsel Smith and his prosecutors are looking into the various ways that Trump attempted to overturn his electoral loss despite some of his top officials advising him against the ideas. Details about the secret grand jury testimony and closed-door interviews, neither of which have been reported previously, illustrate this.

Presently a portion of those equivalent authorities, including Wolf, Cuccinelli and O’Brien, as well as other people who have so far would not affirm, may need to get back to the stupendous jury in Washington, DC, to give extra declaration after a progression of urgent court decisions that were uncovered lately dismissed Trump’s cases of chief honor.

That line of questioning gets right to the heart of Smith’s challenge in any criminal case he might bring, which is to demonstrate that Trump and his allies continued their efforts despite knowing that their fraud claims were false or their gambits were illegal. To bring any likely lawbreaker accusations, examiners would need to beat Trump’s public case that he accepted then and now that misrepresentation truly cost him the political decision.

There are numerous ways to demonstrate that. Adav Noti, an election law attorney who has previously worked in the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, as well as in the general counsel’s office of the Federal Election Commission, stated, “But certainly one of them is if they were told by people who knew what they were talking about, that that there was no basis to take the actions.”

“I would have zero desire to be a guard legal counselor attempting to contend, ‘All things considered, indeed, my client was informed that, yet he never truly trusted it,'” Noti said.

creating orders from above

Those orders, which refered to exposed claims about casting a ballot framework inconsistencies in Michigan and Georgia, were introduced to Best by his previous public safety consultant Michael Flynn and afterward legal counselor Sidney Powell during a now-scandalous Oval Office meeting on December 18.

Multiple sources told CNN that Smith’s team has questioned witnesses about that meeting both in front of the grand jury and in interviews conducted behind closed doors. Among them was O’Brien, who told the January 6 House select council that he was fixed into the December 18 gathering by telephone after it had previously decayed into a shouting match between Flynn, Powell and White House legal counselors, as indicated by a record of O’Brien’s statement that was delivered by the board.

O’Brien told the committee that somebody asked him at some point whether there was evidence of election fraud or foreign interference in the voting machines. And he responded, “No, we’ve looked into that and there’s no evidence of it,” according to O’Brien. We did not have any evidence of voter machine fraud in the 2020 election, it was informed to me.

According to a source familiar with the situation, when federal prosecutors working for Smith inquired about that meeting, O’Brien reiterated that he stated that there was no evidence of foreign interference affecting voting machines.

O’Brien is one of the Trump officials who could be called back to discuss conversations with Trump under the judge’s recent decision on executive privilege. He met with prosecutors earlier this year after receiving a subpoena from Smith’s team.

The judge made the decision that former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who personally informed the former president’s allies that there was no evidence of widespread fraud or foreign election interference that would justify taking extreme measures like seizing voting machines, must also testify.

CNN contacted Ratcliffe for comment, but they did not respond. Wolf declined to remark.

Cuccinelli recognized to the January 6 panel last year that, after the political race, he was asked a few times by Trump’s then-lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and on something like one event by Trump himself, in the event that DHS had power to hold onto casting a ballot machines. Wolf told the committee that Mark Meadows, the White House’s chief of staff at the time, repeatedly asked him the same question.

Before Smith took over the investigation, Giuliani was subpoenaed by the Justice Department. He previously acknowledged to the committee on January 6 that he was a participant in the December 18 Oval Office meeting and other discussions regarding having DHS and the military seize voting machines.

According to the transcript of his interview with the committee, Giuliani said that he and his team “tried many different ways to see if we could get the machines seized,” including options involving DHS. In addition, Giuliani acknowledged having participated in conversations prior to the meeting in the Oval Office on December 18 in which the idea of utilizing the military to seize voting machines was brought up.

“The military issue came up much earlier, and I can recall repeatedly asking, ‘Will you please forget about it?’ Please silence. You want to be imprisoned? Please silence. He continued, “We are not employing the military.”

CNN was informed by Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, that Smith has not issued Giuliani a subpoena. Costello stated that the DC US Attorney subpoenaed Giuliani for documents and testimony at the beginning of November. According to Costello, he informed the Justice Department that Giuliani was unable to meet the stipulated deadlines because they were undergoing disciplinary proceedings at the time. Costello asserts that was the last time Giuliani heard from the DOJ.

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