Donald Trump invited pillow tycoon and ally Michael Lindell to the White House on Friday – and a glimpse of his notes captured by a Washington Post photographer revealed that martial law and the Insurrection Act may have been on the agenda.
Observers have feared that the outgoing president could invoke the Insurrection Act to declare martial law and mobilise the military in a coup to override the democratic presidential election.
Based on the notes Lindell, the multimillionaire CEO of My Pillow known widely in the US as the ‘My Pillow guy’, carried into the West Wing, he appeared to be about to discuss that very tactic with the White House.
Trump was impeached for a second time on Wednesday, charged with “incitement of insurrection.”
“Insurrection Act now as a result of the assault on the—” is one of the snippets from Lindell’s notes that Post photographer Jabin Botsford captured on camera, followed by “martial law if necessary upon the first hint of any—” on the next line of text.
Other visible phrases included “be taken immediately to save the Constitution,” “done massive research on these issues,” and “Foreign Interference in the election. Trigger... powers. Make clear this is China/Iran.”
There was also a notation: “Move Kash Patel to Acting CIA,” apparently meaning “acting CIA director.” Patel, a GOP operative and Trump loyalist, is currently the chief of staff for the Defence Department.
Lindell’s visit to the White House was brief, reported Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, citing an unnamed source. He was reportedly escorted to White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s office, though apparently did not meet with Cipollone.
Lindell told Haberman that the notes he was carrying were from an attorney, whom he did not identify. He denied there was anything about martial law in the notes, though quite clearly, those words appear in the photo.
Lindell told The Daily Beast he met with White House attorneys who said they would “look into” his suggestions. He told the Washington Examiner that he met with the president and an aide for ten minutes, and that Trump handed his notes back to him.
Haberman tweeted that Trump “wasn’t really entertaining what Lindell was saying,” citing an administration official.
Like other extremist Trump supporters, Lindell has relentlessly repeated the baseless claims that the president lost a “rigged” election. He insisted on Thursday in a Facebook post that Trump would be president for “four more years.”
Twitter critics didn’t much like the idea of the president plotting with a bedding manufacturer about a military coup.
HuffPost could not immediately reach Lindell for comment.