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In an extraordinary rebuke to President Donald Trump, the 10 living former defense secretaries warned Sunday against any move to involve the military in pursue allegations of voter fraud, arguing that it would lead the country to “dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional territory.”

The 10 men, both Democrats and Republicans, signed an op-ed in The Washington Post that implicitly questioned Trump’s willingness to fulfill his constitutional duty to peacefully resign from power on January 20.

After the Nov.3 election and subsequent recount in some states, as well as failed court challenges, the result is clear, they wrote, though they did not specify Trump in the article.

“The time to question the results is past; The time has come for the formal counting of the votes of the electoral college, as prescribed in the Constitution and the statute, ”they wrote.

Donald Trump has had dozens of lawsuits challenging the election outcome thrown out.
Donald Trump has had dozens of lawsuits challenging the election outcome thrown out. (AP)

“Efforts to involve the US military in the resolution of electoral disputes would lead us into dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional territory,” they wrote. “The civil and military officials who direct or execute such measures will be held responsible, even facing possible criminal sanctions, for the serious consequences of their actions in our republic.”

Several high-ranking military officials, including General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said publicly in recent weeks that the military has no role in determining the outcome of the American election and that its allegiance is to the Constitution. , not to an individual leader or a political party.

The 10 former Pentagon leaders also warned in their Post article about the dangers of preventing a full and smooth transition at the Defense Department before Inauguration Day as part of a transfer to power from President-elect Joe Biden. Biden has complained about efforts by Trump-appointed Pentagon officials to obstruct the transition.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. (AP)

Without mentioning a specific example, the former defense secretaries wrote that transfers of power “often occur at times of international uncertainty about the United States’ national security policy and posture,” adding: “They can be a time when make the nation vulnerable to the actions of adversaries who seek to take advantage of the situation. “

The tensions with Iran represent precisely that moment. Sunday marked a year since US assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the main Iranian general; Iran has vowed to avenge the killing, and US officials said in recent days that they are on heightened alert for a possible Iranian attack on US forces or interests in the Middle East.

In a new sign of tension between the United States and Iran, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Milller announced Sunday night that he has changed his mind about sending the Navy’s aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, home from the Middle. East and that, instead, will keep the ship. on call. Last week, Miller announced that he would send the Nimitzes home, a decision that senior military officials had opposed.

The United States flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East on December 30, 2020 in the latest show of force aimed at deterring Iran.
Ten former Pentagon leaders warned President Donald Trump against using the military in his attempt to demonstrate electoral fraud. (CNN / STAFF / AFP / Getty Images)

In backing down, Miller cited “recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other US government officials.” He did not elaborate and the Pentagon did not respond to questions.

The Post’s op-ed was signed by Dick Cheney, William Perry, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Ash Carter, James Mattis, and Mark Esper. Mattis was Trump’s first defense secretary; resigned in 2018 and was succeeded by Esper, who was fired just days after the November 3 elections.

The Post reported that the idea to write the op-ed began with a conversation between Cheney and Eric Edelman, a retired ambassador and former senior Pentagon official, about how Trump might attempt to use the military in the coming days.

Trump, on tape, pressures official to ‘find’ votes

President Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state’s presidential election, repeatedly citing refuted fraud allegations and raising the possibility of a “criminal offense” if officials They did not change the vote count, according to a recording of the conversation.

The phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to pressure a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election he lost. The president, who has refused to accept his defeat to Democratic President-elect Biden, repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”

Georgia counted its votes three times before certifying Biden’s victory by a margin of 11,779, Raffensperger noted: “President Trump, we have had several lawsuits and we have had to answer the lawsuits and arguments in court. We disagree. you have won “.

The Washington Post first published audio snippets of the conversation online.

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