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Former National Security Adviser Michal Flynn tiptoed once again toward urging President Trump to declare martial law to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory, citing discredited voter fraud claims. Trump "could immediately, on his order, seize every single one of these voting machines," Flynn told Newsmax host Greg Kelly Thursday night. "He could order the, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities, and he could place those in states and basically rerun an election in each of those states."
Using the U.S. military to force states to redo an election is "not unprecedented," Flynn added. "These people are out there talking about martial law like it's something that we've never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times, Greg. So I'm not calling for that. We have a constitutional process," and "that has to be followed."
Here's Michael Flynn on Newsmax saying that Trump could order "military capabilities" to swing states and "rerun an election in each of those states."
"People out there talk about martial law like it's something that we've never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times." pic.twitter.com/KNmiAGGiPF
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 18, 2020
The federal government hasn't implemented martial law since after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, and then only in the territory of Hawaii. "Flynn's insane rant" appears to rely on "the numerous invocations of martial law" before and during the Civil War, University of Texas law professor Steve Vladek said. Since then, Supreme Court precedents and several laws — notably the Posse Comitatus Act — have severely constrained the president's ability to declare martial law.
"Nothing to see here," Slate's Will Saletan tweeted. "Just a retired general and former undeclared foreign agent for an authoritarian regime, freshly pardoned by the president for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia, asserting precedents for martial law to overturn the president's electoral defeat."
Former President Barack Obama fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, then "tried to warn Trump about him," New York Times reporter Maggie Haberbman noted. "Trump hired him, fired him, complained about him and his son during transition, and then has obviously changed course." The Bulwark's Tim Miller added: "Michael Flynn lying to the FBI was the biggest break the nation caught during the Trump years. The thought of the insane mad man in the room when Trump was making decisions is frightening."
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