According to Newsweek December 24th, the top military in the Pentagon and Washington are on “red alert” due to concerns about the actions of current U.S. President Trump during the remainder of his term.
Senior U.S. military officers have discussed how they will respond if the president declares martial law. The military command in charge of Washington, D.C., is also secretly scheduling contingency plans in case the armed forces are ordered to come forward to maintain social order during the inauguration ceremony and power transition.
A retired U.S. military general told Newsweek anonymously that Trump supporters in the White House and the Pentagon did not know about the fear of sabotage of the plan. He said: “I have been in the army for more than 40 years, but I have never seen such a discussion, and there is no need for such a discussion before.”
According to the report, several officers expressed a similar attitude. Although it is completely impossible for senior U.S. military officials to participate in any plan that attempts to reverse the election results, they are still worried that the military may be involved in the crisis created by Trump, especially when the current president tries to summon militias and paramilitary organizations that support Trump. Bring violence to the U.S. capital to undermine the time of power transfer.
“The current president actually has unprecedented emergency powers, which could convince him that he has unlimited power and above the law if he listens to certain supporters,” said a retired U.S. Navy law enforcement official.
“The U.S. military does not have the right to participate in determining the outcome of the U.S. election,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said in a joint statement Friday. However, the Pentagon refused to talk about the post-election crisis or the discussion of martial law, and transferred the issue to the White House. The White House is also silent about this.
Similarly, officials who are willing to talk about this topic insist on being anonymous, and they are unwilling to take the risk of angering the president. They fear that open opposition to the president’s plan to sabotage the election, whether it is the declaration of martial law, the search for voting machines, or even preventing Congress from approving the results of state voters’ votes on January 6, may actually encourage Trump to take action.
“It’s not known what the president will do next month,” a former Northern Command commander said anonymously. “While I believe the top military is clear-headed, this madness is unprecedented and the possibilities are endless.”
According to the report, in some ways, the U.S. military has been involved in this issue. Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser and recently pardoned by the president, publicly raised the topic of martial law last week. He said that the president should use the army to seize the general election and hold the election again in some states.
“The president can use military force and basically repeat the election, and the president must plan for every possible situation. We can’t allow this election or the fairness of the election to be maintained like this.” Flynn said.
Despite President Trump’s own statement, “Martial law=fake news,” former White House officials “rew the stage,” saying that the president’s mention of “things that people don’t know” herald real danger, because the president does have secret powers and has been fascinated by them.
A former NSC staff member said that in the early months of the outbreak, various plans communicated in the Oval Office of the White House included what was called the “presidential emergency action document”.
Presidential Emergency Action Documents (PEADs) originated on the darkest days of the Cold War and were proclamations, executive orders, presidential information, and draft legislation prepared and approved by the White House, the Department of Justice, and congressional lawyers.
While officials cautioned that none of the “Presidential Emergency Action Papers” were applicable to any election scenarios, they have been reviewing these secret directives to update the COVID-19 situation and to take into account the possibility of a nationwide collapse in situations other than war.
The report said that the “Presidential Emergency Action Document”, sometimes referred to as Directive 20, gives the Secretary of Defense the power to maintain public order, ensure public safety and enforce federal, state and local laws. It can also instruct the Minister of Defense to form an interim government.
However, a former judicial official warned that the assumption of Directive 20 is that the United States has been armedly attacked, millions of deaths, Washington has been destroyed, state and local governments have been paralyzed, and basic services have been disrupted. He pointed out that Directive 20 could certainly not be implemented, both because conditions were not met and because the military would not cooperate.
More applicable to the current situation is the “Presidential Emergency Action Document” that allows “the declaration of an unlimited state of emergency”. Moreover, an executive order has defined a “national security emergency” as “other states of emergency” that include military attacks, natural disasters, technological disasters and threats to the security of the United States of the United States.
According to the long-standing regulations of the U.S. federal government, the conditions of “public needs” echo the conditions of Directive 20: that is, there are special circumstances requiring military intervention and that the time and purpose of martial law should be clearly stated.
The threat to public safety and order must exist within the capabilities of the federal government or state and local governments, military lawyers said.
But in Oregon, Portland and other U.S. cities, the Department of Homeland Security has declared that local governments are “out of control” and federal intervention is necessary. Even without the permission of the state government, this precedent may make the White House fearless and think it has the right to act.
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