Military on red alert amid talks of Trump declaring martial law: 'The planning is being kept out of sight'
Military commands in Washington DC are reportedly devising a secret contingency plan in case armed forces are summoned to maintain civil order during the inauguration and transition period of the next administration, a report said
Military leaders in the Pentagon and Washington area are reportedly on red alert due to the uncertainty of what actions President Donald Trump might take in the remaining days of his tenure. Ranking officers reportedly spoke to Newsweek on condition of anonymity, discussing what they would do if the commander-in-chief declared martial law, though he has already dismissed the subject as "fake news."
According to the outlet, military commands in Washington DC are devising a secret contingency plan in case armed forces are summoned to maintain civil order during the inauguration and transition period of the next administration. One officer told Newsweek that the planning was being kept "out of sight" of the White House and the president's loyalists in the Pentagon so they wouldn't shut it 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," the retired flag officer said on condition of anonymity, reportedly fearing a reprisal.
Meanwhile, some other officers allegedly agreed that the military wouldn't involve itself in any plot to reverse the election. However, they worry they would have to get involved if Trump attempts to rally "pro-Trump paramilitaries in an effort to disrupt the transition and bring violence to the capital," per the outlet.
"Right now, because of coronavirus," one retired judge advocate general told Newsweek, "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."
"But martial law," the lawyer added, "is the wrong paradigm to think about the dangers ahead."
Officers who spoke to Newsweek denied the existence of a secret cabal of officers who would support the president if he proclaimed martial law. However, they admitted there could still be "room for mischief, confusion, and even use of military force" if Trump continued his quest to overturn the election based on allegations of widespread voter fraud.
"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 clarified in a joint statement last Friday.
But a former Northern Command (NORTHCOM) commander told Newsweek on condition they were worried about "what the president might do in the next month." "Though I'm confident that the uniformed military leadership has their heads screwed on right, the craziness is unprecedented and the possibilities are endless," they added.
The military was dragged into the issue primarily after retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security advisor, publicly broached the subject of martial law last week. According to him, the president has the power to 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 told Newsmax. "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.'