1125 GMT July 04, 2022
The explosive document, released by the National Archives and obtained by Politico, highlights the extreme measures Trump may have been willing to take to cling to power against the will of voters who picked Joe Biden to be their next US president, according to AFP.
Dated December 16, 2020, the order sought to appoint a special counsel to bring charges on any fraud allegations that arose from the seizures. But it was never signed.
It is among 750-plus records turned over to the House of Representatives select committee investigating the 2021 Capitol assault after the Supreme Court rejected Trump's appeal to block their release.
"Effective immediately, the Secretary of Defense shall seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention," says the three-page draft.
The document reprises many of the debunked conspiracy theories about hacked voting machines that were pushed by figures in Trump's orbit now being targeted by congressional investigators, including right-wing attorney Sidney Powell.
She falsely told reporters the election had been targeted by “communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China”.
Powell and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani led unsuccessful efforts to have courts throw out election results in key swing states in the weeks after Trump's defeat.
The ex-president and his allies spent months pressing false claims of widespread fraud, despite experts in his own government affirming that it was the most secure vote in US history.
The claims were also rejected by Trump-appointed attorney general William Barr, and Trump was eventually impeached for inciting the attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.