House Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas ‘Coup PowerPoint’ Author

Election conspiracy theorist Phil Waldron was ordered to turn over documents and sit for a deposition next month regarding his work to overturn the 2020 election.
Protesters gather storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C.
Protesters gather storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C.
Kent Nishimura via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The author of a PowerPoint slideshow advocating for the overturning of the 2020 presidential election that wound up in the possession of Donald Trump’s chief of staff was subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 committee Thursday.

“The document he reportedly provided to administration officials and members of Congress is an alarming blueprint for overturning a nationwide election. The select committee needs to hear from him about all these activities,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement.

Phil Waldron, a key player in the spread of election falsehoods following Trump’s November loss, has until Jan. 10 to turn over documents and has been ordered to appear for a deposition on Jan. 17. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

His 38-page presentation, titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN,” was largely a recycling of debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud in states that Trump had thought he would win but wound up losing to Democrat Joe Biden.

The plan asserted: “The Chinese systematically gained control over our election system constituting a national security emergency” — a wild falsehood championed by Trump advisers Sydney Powell and Mike Lindell. It advised the use of the military to seize ballots nationally and appoint a “trusted lead counter” to count them all by hand. Alternatively, it recommended that Vice President Mike Pence simply disregard electoral votes from states where Trump was alleging “fraud,” thereby giving Trump a second term on his own.

The document was turned over to the Jan. 6 committee by Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, when he was still cooperating with the committee’s investigation, as an email attachment. Meadows, whose new book about his time working for Trump angered his former boss for, among other things, revealing that the former president tested positive for COVID nearly a week before he admitted to it, has since stopped cooperating. This week, the House voted to refer Meadows to the Department of Justice on charges of criminal contempt of Congress.

Meadows became the third Trump associate to be referred by the committee for contempt, along with former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark and top Trump White House aide Stephen Bannon. Clark’s referral is awaiting a vote by the House, while Bannon has already been indicted by a grand jury.

Trump, who lost the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of U.S. elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol ― a last-ditch attempt to remain in office ― resulted in five deaths, including that of one police officer. One hundred and forty officers were injured that day and four died by suicide after the event.

Despite this, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly speaking about running for the presidency again in 2024.

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