In late 2020, as then-President Donald Trump was waging a multi-front marketing campaign to cling to energy, a little-known legal professional and self-described former particular ops commander started engaged on Trump’s behalf, badgering senior Justice Division officers in an effort to rope them into the plot.
Within the months since Trump’s failed coup try, authorities paperwork and emails have additional revealed the extent of this legal professional Kurt Olsen’s behind-the-scenes campaign to attempt to maintain him in energy. The twice-impeached former president had clearly taken a shine to Olsen and his work. However because the fallout from the 2020 presidential election, it seems that Olsen’s former colleagues wish to distance themselves from him—to the purpose the place his onetime legislation agency has successfully disowned him and airbrushed him from its historical past.
Olsen’s recurring appearances within the ongoing Capitol Hill investigations into what led to the MAGA riot on Jan. 6 elevate some evident questions. How did a just about unknown non-public legal professional and affiliate of maximum MAGA personalities stumble his manner into influencing the features of the chief department—to the diploma that probably the most senior DOJ personnel needed to concoct plans to struggle off his onslaught?
For 18 years, Olsen labored as a accomplice at Klafter, Olsen & Lesser, a small New York-based legislation agency he co-founded. However shortly after he signed on to assist Texas Lawyer Normal Ken Paxton’s failed bid to overturn the 2020 election on the Supreme Courtroom, the agency modified its title and registered a brand new web site—with out Olsen’s title within the URL—on Feb. 24. Now, the place Olsen’s bio was, a disclaimer says, “Kurt Olsen is just not affiliated in any manner with Klafter Lesser LLP.”
Companions at Klafter Lesser didn’t reply to requests from The Day by day Beast for remark. Olsen didn’t present remark, both.
Emails launched by the Home Oversight Committee and reporting by Politico present that after the election, the Maryland legal professional rose from relative obscurity in conservative politics to seize the ear of then-President Trump. Regardless of his entry, a number of legal professionals and administration officers intimately concerned with the anti-democratic effort didn’t know or just couldn’t bear in mind Olsen—a mirrored image of the disjointed and chaotic state of post-election MAGA politics as totally different factions pushed competing authoritarian ideas and fought amongst themselves
Out of six educated Trumpworld sources contacted for this story, a number of stated they hadn’t instantly dealt in any respect with Olsen, although they knew Trump was enamored by the concepts he was promoting. One former senior Trump aide stated they purposely prevented contact or involvement with Olsen, describing his authorized theories as pure “nonsense.”
Predictably, none of that trepidation from Trump administration brass prevented the then-president from embracing Olsen or his fringe authorized opinions.
Olsen’s ascent to the heights of MAGA activism started in December 2020 when Paxton put collectively a Supreme Courtroom case to toss out Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Pennsylvania. The Texas legal professional normal reached outdoors his workplace for assist and appointed two particular counsels to help within the case: Lawrence Joseph, a conservative legal professional with expertise submitting briefs on the Supreme Courtroom supportive of conservative causes and figures, and Olsen, whose workplace sat a number of flooring down from Joseph’s agency in the identical Washington, D.C., workplace constructing.
The transfer positioned Olsen, who had little-to-no nationwide profile in conservative politics, on the tip of the spear within the Trump-backed effort to overturn the 2020 election in court docket. Previous to his authorized profession, the legal professional “served as a Naval Particular Warfare Officer assigned to SEAL Staff 5” who “has traveled extensively within the Center East and Far East, primarily as a particular operations platoon commander,” in accordance with a since-deleted bio at his former agency.
Paxton’s Supreme Courtroom swimsuit finally failed when all 9 justices unanimously voted to throw it out on the grounds that the state of Texas lacked the standing to deliver the case. Regardless of the swimsuit’s failure, Olsen’s star continued to rise among the many more and more weird world of “Cease the Steal” notables.
Emails despatched by Olsen to Justice Division officers, obtained by the New York Occasions and Home Oversight Committee, present that after the Supreme Courtroom tossed the Texas swimsuit, Olsen managed to get in contact with Trump himself to temporary him on an effort to revive the case.
Sooner or later after the Texas swimsuit’s failure, Olsen managed to get in contact with the president to pitch him on the thought of getting the Justice Division deliver a swimsuit “modeled after the Texas motion,” which might theoretically sidestep the shortage of standing that had doomed the state-led effort.
“The President of the US has seen this criticism, and he directed me final night time to temporary AG Rosen in individual as we speak to debate bringing this motion,” Olsen wrote in an e-mail to the Justice Division. “I’ve been instructed to report again to the President this afternoon after this assembly.”
Olsen by no means acquired his assembly with Rosen, and the appearing legal professional normal by no means took up Texas’ quixotic try and overturn the election. However, as Politico reported this month, the president’s curiosity in Olsen’s work grew so intense that in December, Trump himself made a degree of bothering Rosen concerning the 54-page draft criticism that Olsen had been pushing to the best ranges of the federal authorities.
Based on Politico, Rosen just lately informed Senate investigators that he recommended the then-president that the draft criticism was, at finest, a waste of time.
Moreover, Olsen’s title additionally appeared on a memo that was hand-delivered to Trump in his final days in workplace—a memo that additionally appeared to incorporate a advice on resorting to “martial law if necessary.” When pillow magnate and staunch Trump ally Mike Lindell visited the White House to brief Trump and administration officers and attorneys on his wild claims of Chinese language hacking efforts within the 2020 election, Olsen’s title even appeared in a photograph of paperwork Lindell delivered to Trump, subsequent to figures like Sidney Powell and Kash Patel, as solutions for who Trump ought to appoint to senior positions throughout his quest to remain in energy.
Lindell’s fondness for Olsen continued into the post-Trump period. As Lindell’s “cyber symposium” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was ongoing final week, Olsen commented on a Washington Occasions story and was known as a member of the MyPillow CEO’s crew of legal professionals.
Olsen’s reported presence on Lindell’s authorized crew reveals how he isn’t finished associating himself with doomed efforts to overturn the 2020 election outcomes or to reinstall Trump. The Aug. 11 Washington Occasions article wherein Olsen is featured is headlined, “Cyber professional says his crew can’t show Mike Lindell’s claims that China hacked election.”