On Monday, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly wrote his favorite Supreme Court justice in an effort to get the entire election in his home state thrown out. And every single day of the week Sidney Powell hasn’t let a line of continuous defeats stop her from making ever more ridiculous claims.
But for some Donald Trump supporters, trying to find a court friendly enough to overrule millions of voters is just not coup-ing hard enough. Maybe it helps to have just been handed a pardon that absolves the bearer of all crimes past, present, and potentially future, because recently blessed, twice-confessed liar Michael Flynn is ready to throw out the voters, the legislatures, and the courts. Instead of the kind of political coup that Trump has been waging via Rudy Giuliani and his ever-changing legal team, Flynn is suggesting that other kind of coup. The one where the military takes over and installs their preferred leader.
Michael Flynn is drinking his authoritarian dictatorship straight, and absolutely testing whether or not his freshly minted pardon covers an act of outright sedition. And he made his demand not just on Twitter and other social media, but in a full page ad in The Washington Times.
There’s nothing vague about Flynn’s call for simply overthrowing the civilian government and replacing it with Generalissimo Trump. Flynn calls on Trump to declare a “limited form of martial law.” Though in what sense it would be limited is not clear, as Flynn then tells Trump he should “suspend the Constitution and civilian control of federal elections” while putting the military in charge of a do-over.
Since Flynn is demanding an election process that the Constitution neither authorizes nor contemplates, it makes perfect sense that he then goes on to set the rules for who is allowed to “vote” in this military-approved coronation. This election can only be carried out under the watchful eye of people with guns, says Flynn, because all politicians and judges can’t be trusted. And people have to meet his requirement for who is a legitimate voter, produce the kind of ID that Flynn says they must have, and use the ballots he specifies—which presumably have just one line.
While he’s at it, Flynn also tells Trump to just go ahead and trash the First Amendment. Which seems almost unnecessary, seeing that he’s also indicated the entire Constitution is to be set alight. And then Flynn finishes up by threatening violence if Trump fails to come through with a military coup.
Having spent a lot of time throwing back shots with Vladimir Putin and plotting assassinations with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it would be nice to think that Flynn has simply forgotten how things are done in the United States. Unfortunately, this is how things are now done in a country where Trump refuses to acknowledge the outcome of the vote or the verdict of the courts.
As with Trump and Powell, Flynn and his “We the People” organization offer no evidence of a fraudulent vote, much less millions. Unlike Powell, whose statements range from simply nonsensical to outright false, and whose punishment should start with disbarment, Flynn’s statements are … something else. Flynn isn’t court shopping for someone who will ignore his nonsense long enough to issue a stay or at least provide another platform for pounding the podium. Flynn is calling for Trump and the military to overthrow the legitimate civilian government of the United States.
The Constitution contains a narrow definition of treason, one that allows even the most outrageous encouragements to violence to skate clear of the term “traitor.” However, what Flynn is doing absolutely falls within the realm of sedition. In fact, it fits every definition of sedition.
- To conspire to overthrow or destroy by force the government of the United States or to level war against them;
- To oppose by force the authority of the United States government; to prevent, hinder, or delay by force the execution of any law of the United States; or
- To take, seize, or possess by force any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.
And Trump will not always be there to pardon him.