Who Is Phil Waldron, and Why Did the January 6 Committee Subpoena Him?

Phil Waldron. (Screengrab from YouTube.)

After telling the Washington Post last week that he met with Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, “maybe 8 to 10 times” and briefed members of Congress before the January 6 Capitol insurrection, Phil Waldron is being subpoenaed by the January 6 House Select Committee.

According to a December 16 press release from the committee, Waldron is being subpoenaed for reportedly playing a “role in promoting claims of election fraud and circulating potential strategies for challenging results of the 2020 election.” The committee further notes that Waldron was “also apparently in communication with officials in the Trump White House and in Congress discussing his theories in the weeks leading up to the January 6th attack.”

Earlier this week, Waldron was invited by Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin to speak at a state  election commission hearing. The Washington Post reports that he told the commission to stop depending on “black box” voting machines and electronic tabulators, and instead use paper ballots to be counted by hand. Ardoin, who chairs the commission, did not mention Waldron’s role in promoting the idea that Joe Biden’s win should not be certified. 

Waldron has suddenly become more prominent for his role in the Stop the Steal Movement, but he was part of the effort to overturn the election since last year. Just who is he, and what has he done?

Waldron, 57, is a retired colonel and cyber security consultant who appeared as an expert on behalf of Trump’s outside legal team in various cases across multiple states as the former president sought to overturn state election results. He also appeared in Mike Lindell’s Absolute Proof documentary. But he’s making news now for circulating a 38-page PowerPoint presentation titled: “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference, & Options for 6 JAN.” The presentation, which included Waldron’s contributions, outlined a plan to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

The Washington Post reports that Meadows received a version of the presentation on January 5, which became public last week after the January 6 Select Committee released a letter saying that Meadows had turned the information over to the committee. Meadows later announced that he would no longer cooperate with the committee.  

The PowerPoint presentation goes through a litany of familiar voter fraud claims, beginning with the baseless claim that: “The Chinese systematically gained control over our election system constituting a national security emergency.” Another slide claims: “The electronic voting machines were compromised and cannot be trusted to provide an accurate vote count.” 

The presentation, the Washington Post reports, also mentioned “proposals for Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6 to reject electors from ‘states where fraud occurred’ or replace them with Republican electors. It included a third proposal in which the certification of Joe Biden’s victory was to be delayed, and U.S. marshals and National Guard troops were to help ‘secure’ and count paper ballots in key states.”

Waldron also told the Washington Post that before the election he was working with the Texas based company, Allied Security Operations Group (ASOG). The head of ASOG is Russell Ramsland, a former Republican congressional candidate who has a history of promoting false voter fraud claims, and is largely responsible for perpetuating baseless election rumors in Antrim County, Michigan.

In December 2020, Allied Security Operations Group released a forensics audit report signed by Ramsland that purported to prove there was voter fraud in Antrim County. There wasn’t. The rumor originates from what election officials have explained was the result of “human error” in Antrim County that was quickly corrected and did not  affect the final vote tally, according to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

We fact checked the report in depth, but it’s worth repeating here that: “Jonathan Brater, director of elections in Michigan, said in a court filing  December 13 that the Allied Security Operations Group’s report ‘makes a series of unsupported conclusions, ascribes motives of fraud and obfuscation to processes that are easily explained as routine election procedures or error corrections, and suggests without explanation that elements of election software not used in Michigan are somehow responsible for tabulation or reporting that are either nonexistent or easily explained.’”

Waldron has been a major player in the Stop the Steal movement even before his PowerPoint was revealed. He appeared in Lindell’s Absolute Proof, and also appeared as an “expert” as part of a “red team” at Lindell’s failed “cyber forensic symposium” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this past August.

Furthermore, Waldron, as we have noted, has appeared as an expert on behalf of Trump’s legal team in states like Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia, where election results have been hotly contested. 

Absolute Proof, which attempted to show that Trump won the 2020 presidential election, was removed from both Vimeo and YouTube shortly after its February 2021 release for violating community guidelines. Our fact check on it can be found here.

In the film, Lindell explains that Absolute Proof  would show “deviations on election night” that, according to him, “didn’t make any sense.” More specifically, Lindell continually repeated the baseless claim that there was “100 percent evidence” that “these [voting] machines were used to steal our election by other countries including China.” 

Waldron, who described himself as having a background in “information warfare,” was the first expert to appear in the film. He repeated the familiar false claim that Dominion Voting Systems switched votes from Trump to Joe Biden. 

We fact checked this claim multiple times, but here is the basic explanation again from The Dispatch’s Alec Dent: “Many of the claims about Dominion can be traced to its alleged role in vote-counting errors in Antrim County, Michigan, and several counties in Georgia. Antrim County revealed it had inadvertently misreported a number of votes in unofficial results. Michigan’s secretary of state announced that it was not a software issue, but ‘user human error’ that led to the misreporting, and clarified that ‘the correct results always were and continue to be reflected on the tabulator totals tape and on the ballots themselves. Even if the error in the reported unofficial results had not been quickly noticed, it would have been identified during the county canvass.’”

Just like Waldron’s PowerPoint presentation, his Lindell appearance also doubles down on the baseless assertion of Chinese election interference, claiming that Dominion has ties to China and that the Chinese Communist Party has “access to Dominion code.” In response to false claims of foreign ties, Dominion made the following statement: “Dominion is a nonpartisan, U.S. company that provides voting systems to ‘red’ and ‘blue’ jurisdictions in 28 states. Dominion has no ownership ties to any national U.S. political party leader – or to any foreign governments, including living or deceased foreign leaders. Dominion is a private company that provides election technology to government customers. All votes are cast and counted in the U.S. as part of the election process, which is administered and overseen by election officials.”

Waldron’s connection to Lindell was not just isolated to one video appearance. As noted, he was also a major figure this past August at Lindell’s cyber symposium. On August 10, the first day of the three-day event, Waldron, speaking on stage in front of an audience, described himself as running a “red team” on behalf of Lindell to analyze voter information and poke holes in the “data.” The event, as we reported, revealed no evidence of fraud, but was, once again, an opportunity for Lindell’s “experts,” including Waldron, to repeat long debunked voter fraud claims. 

Despite Waldron’s involvement in Lindell’s work, Lindell claims his relationship to Waldron is limited. He said that when he interviewed Waldron for his film, it was the first time he met him. In fact, Lindell told The Dispatch in an interview this week that he “didn’t know anybody in those movies” and that “people were recruited,” but not by Lindell. There was a point, Lindell notes, that he was “like a hub of the country for evidence and everybody was just pouring in evidence.” Waldron, Lindell explained, was just one of those people who had evidence.