Military on 'red alert' that Trump may invoke martial law to stay in power: report

Military on 'red alert' that Trump may invoke martial law to stay in power: report
President Donald J. Trump boards Marine One on the South Lawn of The White House for his flight to Joint Base Andrews, Md. Wednesday, May 8, 2019, and his trip to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

A series of pardons, post-election protests claiming voter fraud that has never been proven, and one man's probable mental illness at the head of the nation are adding up to a "red alert" in what has normally been a quiet time of the year for many: the holidays. But not this year.

"Pentagon and Washington-area military leaders are on red alert, wary of what President Donald Trump might do in his remaining days in office," Newsweek reported on Thursday.

One officer who spoke with Newsweek on the condition of anonymity said the inaugural and transitional planning is being kept out of sight of the White House and Trump loyalists in the Pentagon for fear that it would be shut down.

"I've been associated with the military for over 40 years and I've never seen the discussions that are being had right now, the need for such discussions," said the retired flag officer, who is currently a defense contractor. He was granted anonymity in order to speak without fear of reprisal.

"Right now, because of coronavirus," one retired judge advocate general said, "the president actually has unprecedented emergency powers, ones that might convince him—particularly if he listens to certain of his supporters—that he has unlimited powers and is above the law."

He continued, "But martial law is the wrong paradigm to think about the dangers ahead."

"There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election," Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said in a joint statement last Friday.

"At this point there's no telling what the president might do in the next month," a former Northern Command (NORTHCOM) commander told Newsweek. "Though I'm confident that the uniformed military leadership has their heads screwed on right, the craziness is unprecedented and the possibilities are endless."

The retired flag officer also requested anonymity because he is actively advising senior officers and is not authorized to speak on the record.

Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, President Trump's first national security advisor and a recently pardoned felon, publicly broached the subject of martial law on the conservative channel Newsmax last week, saying that the president should use the military to seize voting boxes and "rerun" the election in certain states.

"He could take military capabilities and he could … basically rerun an election," Flynn said. "The president has to plan for every eventuality because we cannot allow this election and the integrity of our election to go the way it is."

Flynn's statement has been condemned by numerous retired officers who referred to Flynn as a "disgrace to his uniform."

Trump has so far denied the martial law suggestion publicly.


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