Former President Obama had a previously unreported plan in place for after the 2016 election in the event that then-candidate Donald Trump lost and refused to accept the results.
Two former Obama aides told New York Magazine’s newly relaunched Intelligencer that the administration devised a bipartisan plan to validate the election results and reveal the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian interference had sought to promote Trump’s campaign.
The validation plan involved former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, in addition to former presidents and congressional Republicans, according to Intelligencer.
Ben Rhodes, a top aide and speechwriter for Obama, told the outlet that the administration had reason to be worried that if Hillary Clinton won the election, Trump would not accept the results.
“It wasn’t a hypothetical,” Rhodes said. “Trump was already saying it on the campaign trail.”
In the weeks leading up to the election, Trump had been suggesting openly that the election was "rigged," saying during the final debate that he would keep Americans “in suspense” about whether he would concede.
"I will totally accept the result of this great and historic presidential election," Trump told supporters during a campaign rally. "If I win."
Jen Psaki, communications director for Obama, told the Intelligencer that the plan was just one of a number of “red-teaming” conversations about potential post-election situations, including “protesting” by Trump supporters and intense political division.
Psaki said that Obama’s divisiveness “for a portion of the population” necessitated a back-up plan if Trump did not accept Clinton’s expected win.
“For them, just having him say the election was legitimate was not going to be enough,” she said.
“I don’t think there is any indication to suggest that if that’s where things headed, [Trump] would accept it,” Psaki added. “He’s laying the groundwork for delegitimizing the process now — questioning our institutions, attacking their leadership. This is all fodder for his supporters to work with in the event that things go down a dark path for him.”