A close-up photo of meeting notes carried by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell appears to include drastic national security moves in his meeting with Trump

Michael Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, Inc., waits to go into the West Wing of the White House, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Washington.
  • A Washington Post photographer caught a glimpse of President Donald Trump and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s meeting notes on Friday, where they appeared to discuss explosive national security moves.
  • One line reads, “Move Kash Patel to CIA acting,” previewing more personnel changes Trump could push. Another reads,”… foreign interference in the election trigger [illegible] powers. Make clear this is China/Iran.”
  • Lindell has offered a renewed solidarity to Trump, doling out a MyPillow discount with the code “FightForTrump,” and appearing on Newsmax and calling insurrectionists “very peaceful,” and blaming antifa for the insurrection.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On President Donald Trump’s final Friday in office, his public schedule predictably says he “will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings.” 

It appears that one of those meetings was discussing drastic national security measures with Trump ally MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

A close-up photo of Lindell and Trump’s meeting notes was captured by Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford, including a number of phrases and agenda items.


Lindell is holding the notes with a phone in one hand and a coffee cup in the other hand, bending the notes face open so that some sentences are legible. One of those phrases reads “”Insurrection Act now as a result of the assault on the… martial law if necessary upon the first hint of any…”,

Another reads, “Move Kash Patel to CIA acting,” previewing more personnel changes Trump could enact on his way out. Another note reads,”… foreign interference in the election trigger [illegible] powers. Make clear this is China/Iran.”

My Pillow CEO Michael Lindell
My Pillow CEO Michael Lindell is seen outside the door of the West Wing at the White House on Friday, Jan 15, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Patel, who currently serves as the chief of staff to acting defense secretary Christopher Miller, has been a Trump ally. One note suggests a new National Security director “NOW.”

Other phrases, which are not fully legible, reference investigating the 2020 election, which Trump lost and has yet to concede. Lindell did not take any questions from press upon leaving the West Wing.

Lindell has been an oddly prominent and loyal figure throughout Trump’s presidency, appearing in key meetings and speaking at Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation at the White House Lawn. 

In the wake of last week’s deadly riots, Lindell has offered a renewed solidarity to Trump, doling out a MyPillow discount with the code “FightForTrump,” and appearing on Newsmax and calling insurrectionists “very peaceful,” and blaming antifa for the violence and destruction at the Capitol.

Read more: My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell and pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood spread misinformation about Antifa leading the Capitol rioters

On December 19, Lindell also tweeted and deleted a call for Trump to impose martial law after Georgia’s officials refused to overturn the legitimate election results, according to Newsweek. Twitter has since labeled many of Lindell’s tweets as election misinformation.

The New York Times reported that Lindell denied claims that “martial law” was written on his notes or discussed at his meeting with the president, but an administration official confirmed to the outlet that the words were indeed on his notes. Lindell presented more election conspiracies during the meeting, but Trump was not entertaining the notions, leaving Lindell frustrated, an administration official told The Times.

Steve Vladeck, a national security law expert and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, responded to the alleged agenda items on Twitter.

“And just for the record, no-none of this could actually work,” Vladeck said, referencing discussions of invoking the Insurrection Act.

“Under the absolute terms of Section 1 of the Twentieth Amendment, Trump’s term is over at noon (EST) on Wednesday, no matter how much nonsense he – or his “advisers” – tries to pull between now and then,” Vladeck added. 


The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 means that if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act to delay the inauguration, and neither him nor Biden were president by noon on January 20th, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, would assume temporary power before choosing a President and Vice President.

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Trump raised the idea of imposing martial law to overturn the election in a White House meeting, according to reports

Michael Flynn
Former General Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s recently pardoned national security adviser, departs a protest of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election outside the Supreme Court on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • President Donald Trump in a White House meeting Friday touted the idea of imposing martial law to overturn the election result, reported The New York Times and Axios.
  • The idea had first been touted by Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, who was reportedly present in the meeting. 
  • John Bolton, a former national security advisor to Trump, in a CNN interview described the suggestion as “appalling” and “unprecedented.” 
  • Trump dismissed the reports as ‘fake news.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump, in a White House meeting, raised the possibility of imposing martial law in a bid to overturn the result of the presidential election, according to reports Saturday. 

In a raucous meeting Friday with top aides about his ongoing attempts to overturn the election, Trump was joined by General Michael Flynn, his former national security advisor, reported The New York Times. 

A few days earlier on the conservative Newsmax network, Flynn had called for the president to impose martial law, and “rerun an election” in swing states that he lost to President-elect Joe Biden in November. 

In the meeting, according to the Times, Trump asked about the idea. 

According to the report, it wasn’t the only last-ditch plan to subvert the election discussed in the meeting, with Trump also proposing appointing conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell as a special counsel to probe election fraud claims. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, touted the idea of ordering the Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines. 

Axios confirmed key details of the meeting, reporting that Trump had expressed interest in Flynn’s plan, and that White House officials are concerned Trump is “spending too much time with people they consider crackpots or conspiracy theorists and flirting with blatant abuses of power.”

Shouting matches broke out in the meeting as other officials pushed back against Flynn’s and Powell’s proposals, reported CNN, whose source said it was unclear if Trump had endorsed the notion. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and counsel Pat Cipollone were among the officials who pushed back against the ideas, according to the report. 

In a tweet Saturday, Trump responded to the reports, dismissing them as “fake news.” 


The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reports.

The president has broad powers to suspend normal legal constraints on his authority in response to a “national emergency,” such as a natural disaster or terror attack, including deploying troops within the US to subdue unrest and assist law enforcement officers. 

However, Joseph Nunn, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, in October, wrote that the legal precedents for a president imposing martial law are vague, with no clear Constitutional principles or Supreme Court rulings governing its use. He wrote that under current law, “the president lacks any authority to declare martial law.”

In an interview on CNN Saturday night, John Bolton, Trump’s former national security advisor, described Flynn’s plan to impose martial law as “appalling.” 

“Look, this is appalling,” he continued. ‘There’s no other way to describe it. It’s unbelievable, almost certainly completely without precedent.”

Trump has previously been accused of seeking to violate norms against deploying the military against US citizens. The president planned to invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy troops to quell anti-racism protests over the summer. 

On Twitter, former White House ethics counsel Richard Painter responded to Trump discussing invoking martial law with a one-word message: “Treason.”

On Friday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, in a joint statement reported by Task and Purpose, responded to Flynn’s call for martial law to be imposed, reiterating the US military’s policy of having no involvement in domestic elections.

They said that that there “is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election.” 

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