Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said a recent report that Donald Trump considered an executive order to have the military seize voting machines in 2020 battleground states ‘very serious’ during a Sunday television interview.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol attack, confirmed this morning that such an executive order was drafted.
The top GOP lawmaker on the House Foreign Affairs Committee told CBS News’ Face The Nation he hopes the ‘truth will come out’ in the Democrat-led investigation into the January 6 insurrection as well as the Justice Department’s probes into the matter.
It was a rare right-wing vote of confidence for the committee from a lawmaker whose re-election bid was endorsed by Trump as recently as November of last year.
His tone puts him at odds with the former president, who has been known to lash out at Republicans who express support for the committee or dispute his claims that the 2020 election was rigged.
It was also a stark departure from many of his colleagues in the House Republican Caucus, who routinely seek to undercut the committee and question its legitimacy.
‘Well, you know my reaction, it was a dark day, January 6. I want the truth to come out,’ McCaul said on Sunday.
He echoed Republican concerns that the panel had been ‘somewhat politicized.’
McCaul’s remarks appear to be a rare right-wing vote of confidence for the Democrat-led committee
‘But the truth should come out, and I think the Department of Justice has been conducting an investigation. I worked at DOJ for almost 15 years, and I trust their investigation — I in fact called upon them to investigate this, so I’m hopeful that the truth will come out on this,’ McCaul said.
He added of the reported executive order: ‘The allegations are very serious.’
Host Margaret Brennan asked if dealing with the report given Trump’s support for his campaign was ‘a little uncomfortable.’
McCaul appeared to acknowledge that it was before attempting to point out that the military never ended up seizing any voting machines.
‘Of course, I mean, when the executive– commander in chief– and these are allegations, I don’t think the executive order was ever followed through with,’ he said.
Brennan pressed him, ‘Right, it was a draft, but it was discussed in the Oval Office.’
‘Right. I think it should come out, the truth, obviously. I always think the truth should come out,’ McCaul said.
It’s not the first time the Texas Republican had a more critical tone about Trump. In the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, McCaul released a statement condemning Trump’s ‘rhetoric and behavior.’
He has previously condemned Trump for the Capitol riot though he didn’t vote to impeach him
He’d said he would vote against impeaching Trump over the riot with a ‘heavy heart’ only because he felt the proceedings were rushed.
Late last week Politico published the text of a draft executive order that would have forced the Defense Secretary to ‘seize, collect, retain and analyze’ voting machines in states that narrowly went to President Joe Biden in 2020.
The order, dated December 16, 2020, would also direct the Department of Homeland Security to aid the military effort and called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate baseless claims the election was rigged.
Thompson on Sunday confirmed his committee had knowledge of such a draft.
‘We have information that between the Department of Justice, a plan was put forward to potentially seize voting machines in the country and utilize Department of Defense assets to make that happen,’ he said on Face The Nation just before McCaul’s appearance.
The Mississippi Democrat said the next steps would be finding out ‘how far’ the defunct plan made it before it was killed.
McCaul was reacting to an earlier interview with the Democrat chair of the Capitol riot committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, during which the lawmaker said his panel had knowledge of a draft executive order that called for the military to seize voting machines in states Trump narrowly lost to Biden in 2020
Trump has routinely blasted the investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and mocked the panel as the ‘unselect committee.’
Most recently he took aim at the Democrat-led probe in a Friday interview published in the Washington Examiner, after it was revealed the committee sent a letter to his daughter Ivanka Trump asking for her cooperation.
‘It’s a disgrace what’s going on. They’re using these things to try and get people’s minds off how incompetently our country is being run. And they don’t care. They’ll go after children,’ Trump said.
‘It’s a very unfair situation for my children. Very unfair.’
Trump made no mention of January 6 or McCaul’s comments criticizing him in early November when he released a statement backing the Texas Republican.
‘Michael McCaul is doing an incredible job for the great State of Texas,’ Trump had said.
‘He works hard to protect our Borders, defend our now under siege Second Amendment, and support our brave Military and Vets. He will fight for our America First agenda, stand up to China, and hold Joe Biden accountable for his incompetent failure in Afghanistan. Michael McCaul has my Complete and Total Endorsement!’