Sources have revealed that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team is actively investigating a tumultuous Oval Office meeting that took place in the final days of the Trump administration. The meeting, held approximately six weeks after Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election, saw the former president entertaining desperate proposals to retain power, despite objections from his White House counsel.
According to CNN, multiple witnesses have been called before the grand jury and interviewed by investigators regarding this chaotic gathering, which has become a focal point of the ongoing investigation. Notably, Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, voluntarily sat down for two consecutive days with investigators last month to discuss various topics, including the controversial December 2020 meeting.
Prosecutors are particularly interested in three external advisers who were present at the gathering: Sidney Powell, former Trump lawyer; Michael Flynn, one-time national security adviser; and Patrick Byrne, former CEO of Overstock. The questioning indicates the special counsel’s focus on understanding the events surrounding the meeting and their potential implications.
The significance of this meeting lies in its connection to the broader investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. The Special Counsel and his team are nearing charging decisions as they continue to gather evidence, reaching out to new witnesses and scheduling further interviews.
The sources told CNN that the December 18, 2020, Oval Office meeting was marked by heated exchanges and intense discussions. Advisers clashed with top White House attorneys over a proposal to involve the military in seizing voting machines in key states that Trump had lost. Additionally, they explored the idea of appointing Sidney Powell as a special counsel to investigate alleged voter fraud and even contemplated invoking martial law as part of their strategy to overturn the election outcome.
The meeting concluded with Trump tweeting that an upcoming event in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, to protest the election results would be “wild.” The testimonies of witnesses, including former national security adviser Robert O’Brien, provide a glimpse into the tumultuous atmosphere that permeated the gathering. O’Brien revealed that he joined the meeting by phone and witnessed a fierce confrontation between Flynn, Powell, and White House lawyers.
Prosecutors have expressed particular interest in the events of December 14, when alternate Republican electors in seven battleground states signed certificates falsely asserting Trump’s victory. On the same day, the Electoral College officially cast their votes, confirming Joe Biden as the winner with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
Investigation efforts have centered around the recruitment of these illegitimate electors, who were used to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence into delaying the certification of Biden’s Electoral College win on January 6. One source revealed that at least one witness informed prosecutors that Trump allies urged Pence to reject Biden’s electors in the seven states, citing unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud. They further suggested that Pence should return the certification decision to the states themselves.
Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, declined to comment. Attorneys for Powell and Byrne also refrained from providing any statements on the matter. CNN also reached out to Flynn’s attorney for comment but has yet to receive a response, the news network wrote.