Donald Trump has made what he says are "jokes" claiming that he will not leave office at the end of his term on at least 27 separate occasions, according to one researcher's count, sparking fears that he will refuse to step down even if he is defeated in the 2020 presidential election. On Saturday, the bestselling author of two investigative books about Trump outlined what he says is Trump's "step-by-step" plan for holding on to the presidency, even if he loses in November.
According to Seth Abramson, the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, Trump's plan to remain in office despite an electoral defeat would not involve using the military or law enforcement to stage a "coup."
Instead, Abramson wrote in a lengthy Twitter essay compiled by Thread Reader, the plot to reject the election results would unfold primarily through the media and the court system.
Abramson, in his essay, writes that "everyone who knows him" believes that Trump will attempt to undermine the election results in an attempt to remain in office if he loses. As seen in the video below on this page, Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified to Congress in February 2019, that Trump would not allow a "peaceful transition of power" in the event that he is defeated in 2020.Trump's plan would begin with attempts by surrogates — Republican politicians and media figures — to "delegitimize" the election, according to Abramson's scenario. Trump and his lawyers would then file lawsuits challenging the election results in order to "create the appearance of 'legitimate' doubt."
The Trump campaign would next recruit "sycophants" who would "challenge a state's slate of electors," Abramson says. Finally, Trump and his supporters would call for a new election to be held, Abramson writes.
Abramson's scenario is similar to speculation by Washington Monthly editor Daniel Block, who wrote in a June 2019essay that Trump is likely to claim that he is the victim of electoral fraud if the results of the election fail to go in his favor.
Trump would then take his "fraud" case to court, Block wrote, where politically "polarized" judges are likely to rule in his favor. Like Abramson, Block speculated that Trump's supporters would challenge state Electoral College voters, as well, in an attempt to remove electors who are committed to voting for Trump's Democratic opponent.
Abramson added another possible factor that could help Trump defy the outcome of an election that does not result in his victory — foreign interference, such as the Russian interference in the 2016 election that was detailed by special counsel Robert Mueller. The report of findings in Mueller's two-year investigation remains accessible via The New York Times.
Trump "has more state-actor allies" than Russia alone in 2020, according to Abramson, who says that those other countries who have an incentive to "do Trump a solid" include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, China, and North Korea.
"If it looks like he'll lose, a major interference attempt (even if failed) can cast the result into doubt," Abramson, who also authored the bestselling book Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy, wrote in his Saturday Twitter essay.