President Trump, isolated and watching the clock count down on his time in the White House, spent some of it on Friday with the C.E.O. of MyPillow, Mike Lindell, who brought some notes with him.
In photographs captured by Jabin Botsford, a photographer for The Washington Post, Mr. Lindell held notes in his hand as he stood outside the doorway to the West Wing lobby mid-afternoon Friday. The notes included a mention of Sidney Powell, the lawyer and conspiracy theorist whom Mr. Trump at one point wanted to offer a job in the White House.
They were only partially visible, but there was also a suggestion about invoking the Insurrection Act, by which a president can deploy active military troops into the streets, and “martial law if necessary.” One line appeared to suggest moving Kash Patel, currently the Department of Defense chief of staff and a Trump loyalist, as “C.I.A. Acting,” which seemed to indicate the top job.
White House press aides were caught off guard by the photos as they circulated on Twitter, and said they had no idea what had transpired. Mr. Lindell did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Mr. Lindell has been one of the few supporters of Mr. Trump from corporate America who has stayed with him after the riot by Trump supporters at the Capitol complex on Jan. 6, which left five people dead and included chants calling for the death of Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Lindell appeared on Newsmax, the conservative cable network, the day of the riot and pushed the now-debunked claim that “antifa” protesters had masqueraded as Trump backers in order to cause damage.
And even after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory was certified, Mr. Lindell continued to insist that Mr. Trump will be inaugurated for a second term next week.
There was no move to fire Gina Haspel, the director of the C.I.A., on Friday or have Mr. Patel arrive at the C.I.A. headquarters to take over, according to people familiar with the matter. And Washington has already become a militarized fortress ahead of Mr. Biden’s inauguration, in order to clamp down on threats of new violence being planned for the day of the ceremony.
But Mr. Lindell’s ability to walk into the Oval Office and meet with Mr. Trump underscored the type of conspiracy theorists who still appeal to Mr. Trump, so long as they are saying what he wants to hear. It is unclear whether Mr. Lindell wrote the notes or if he was passing along someone else’s thoughts.
Mr. Trump has at times considered Ms. Powell too conspiratorial, as she has touted falsehoods about a global conspiracy to rig the 2020 election. At other times, he has welcomed her input.
Right-wing journalists have resumed demands for the declassification and release of documents related to the 2016 election, including material created by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, where Mr. Patel used to work.
Ms. Haspel has opposed the release of those documents. However both Mr. Trump and John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, have the authority to declassify the documents, and the White House would not need to force out Ms. Haspel to make the material public.