Extraordinary new details have emerged of a meeting former US president Donald Trump hosted in the Oval Office, where a group of conspiracy theorists tried to convince him to invoke emergency powers in an effort to overturn the election result.
Axios, led by Australian reporter Jonathan Swan, has recently published an extensive series of stories going behind the scenes of Mr Trump’s attempts to stay in office.
Today it put up a “bonus episode”, featuring new details of a particularly wild meeting between Mr Trump, his advisers and a group of supporters led by lawyer Sidney Powell.
We already knew about this meeting, but not in the sort of blow-by-blow detail provided by Axios’s report.
It happened four days after the electoral college had certified Joe Biden’s victory. Most of Mr Trump’s court challenges had already been dismissed. The only event of any significance left on the calendar was the joint sitting of Congress on January 6, where the electoral votes would be formally counted – and we all know what happened on that day.
Ms Powell’s group included retired US Army General Michael Flynn, who served as Mr Trump’s first national security adviser before he was fired and then convicted for lying to the FBI. Mr Trump later pardoned him.
They were followed into the Oval Office by White House adviser Eric Herschmann. Over the next few hours, he and other advisers, including White House lawyers, argued vociferously against Ms Powell and her colleagues, who wanted Mr Trump to give them top secret security clearances and make the US government seize Dominion’s voting machines.
There were several fiery confrontations. At one point, Gen Flynn “went berserk”, standing up and “ranting”.
“You’re quitting! You’re a quitter! You’re not fighting!” he shouted at Mr Herschmann, turning to Mr Trump and telling him “we need fighters”.
“Why the f*** do you keep standing up and screaming at me?” Mr Herschmann said.
“If you want to come over here, come over here. If not, sit your ass down.”
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