In the final week of his presidency, Donald Trump met in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon with Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and a personal friend of the president’s who presented Trump with six pages of documents, loaded with unproven conspiracy theories, that he told him proved that China and other countries helped steal the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
Lindell says that after a “five-to-ten minute meeting” in the Oval, Trump asked someone to take the MyPillow inventor to a different room to show his documents to “the lawyers,” and then asked for staff to bring Lindell back afterwards. Following a roughly two-hour wait, according to Lindell, he finally met with White House attorneys who dismissed his claims but said they would “look into it.” He was then not allowed to see the president again on Friday.
The Daily Beast could not confirm with other sources if the people Lindell met with were attorneys or other White House staff.
“Maybe [Trump] got busy, I don’t know,” Lindell said in an interview on Friday evening.
During the meeting, Lindell says that he informed President Trump—who after inspiring a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week still hasn’t accepted that his Democratic opponent beat him in the 2020 presidential election—that materials alleging China and other nations’ involvement in a supposed anti-Trump election-hacking operation were “all over the internet,” but were being suppressed by Big Tech.
In the brief meeting, Lindell, a staunch Trump ally (who has also been a major financial backer of several legal efforts and rallies to try to nullify the 2020 election outcome) told the president, “Mr. President, this is real, you really won by at least 10 million votes.”
Lindell said Trump replied by saying, “Well, yeah, we all know there was fraud, Mike.”
Then, Lindell added, “He was upset to hear that this was happening to all the people who backed him for all these four years. He said, ‘Can you believe how they’re treating us out there?’”
Asked about other things the president told him during the meeting, Lindell simply described the rest of the conversation as mostly “generic.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.
Lindell says he handed Trump a total of six pages, two of which were from a document he says was given to him by “an attorney,” though he would not name who it was. Lindell is, however, close to and has funded some of the 2020 operations of Trumpist lawyers Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, both of whom have had direct contact with the president in recent weeks and the latter of whom was so extreme that she was ejected from Trump’s legal team late last year. That first document was captured in a photo tweeted by Jabin Botsford, a Washington Post photographer who was at the White House on Friday, and it quickly made the rounds on political social media. Those notes that Lindell handed to Trump on Friday appeared to include a suggestion on invoking the Insurrection Act, and “martial law if necessary.”
The MyPillow honcho told The Daily Beast that he didn’t think Trump even read those two pages. The president, in Lindell’s account, didn’t even get through the first four pages before sending Lindell out of the room.
Those four pages detailed the theory that Lindell discussed with Trump for a few minutes on Friday afternoon: that China is possibly the “Number 1 perpetrator” in robbing the outgoing president of a second term.
Biden, of course, won decisively.
Lindell said he showed Trump an article from The American Report, a conspiracy theory website that’s fringe even by the standards of Trump’s late presidency, that purports to show that China and a host of other entities hacked the election through an analysis of IP addresses.
But the president seemed just as, if not more, interested in the pictures on the article, rather than the text or the chart. On the second page of the report, a copy of which Lindell sent to The Daily Beast, are two photos of a man and a woman. “The president asked who the images were and I said I don’t know,” Lindell said.
The photos that puzzled Trump are side-by-side pictures of Russian anti-virus magnate Eugene Kaspersky and his ex-wife, Natalya Kaspersky. But while accusations that Eugene Kaspersky is close with the Russian government prompted the Department of Homeland Security to phase out federal use of his software in 2017, not even The American Report article makes clear what either Kaspersky has to do with a supposedly stolen American election.
It’s not clear what point The American Report article, which is currently offline but preserved in archive form, wants to make. The banner image attached to the article alleges a wide-ranging election conspiracy that includes the Chinese government, telecom giant Huawei, the Czech Republic, Amazon, and even the German University of Stuttgart. The article claims, for example, that a device with a Huawei IP address "hacked into IP addresses" in a battleground state on Election Day, but fails to offer any proof that any hacking actually occurred.
The American Report article appears to be tied into the conspiracy theory that the site has repeatedly championed after the election: a truly bizarre hoax that the CIA used a nefarious supercomputer called “Hammer” and a program called “Scorecard” to steal the election.
That idea came from Dennis Montgomery, a software engineer and purported master hoaxster who claims to have created Hammer. But Montgomery is far from credible — he allegedly ripped off federal agencies for millions of dollars in post-9/11 America with software he claimed, falsely, could detect hidden al Qaeda transmissions.
While it’s unclear where The American Report got its “data” proving the hacking, there are suggestions that the claims came from Montgomery. At the end of the article that Lindell showed to Trump, The American Report links to a website called “Blxware,” the same name as a company Montgomery once founded. That page promotes Montgomery as a heroic election whistleblower, and links to a fundraiser where he has raised more than $60,000 from Trump supporters interested in his election fraud claims.
Lindell promoted the Hammer and Scorecard hoax more explicitly earlier this week, tweeting a link to a Jan. 3 The American Report article that mentioned the conspiracy theory.
“This is what we need the president to de-classify!” Lindell tweeted on Jan. 11.
After their brief Oval get-together, Trump, according to Lindell, told him, “I gotta give it to them,” referring to his White House lawyers, and then Lindell was escorted out for a meeting with the attorneys. Following what he described as “an hour and a half or two hour” wait, he says he was taken to a different area of the building for a chat with two lawyers who he said he couldn’t identify.
This led to an argument during which Lindell accused them of trying to “discredit” the claims he presented.
“They tried to deny it, saying, ‘We don’t think it’s relevant,’ and I said, ‘Don’t try to discredit it.’ They said they would ‘look into it and get back to you.’ And I told them I just want them to know the truth… How horrible is it that we are about to have an illegitimate president? People on the left and right should want to know the truth.”
Following this exchange, Lindell says, White House officials did not permit him to see Trump again on Friday.