A trove of text messages sent and received by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sheds new light on efforts by former President Donald Trump’s inner circle, confidants and Republicans in Congress to cancel the results of the 2020 presidential election.
CNN reported on Monday that it obtained 2,319 text messages that Meadows provided to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol. The text messages, which were sent or received between Election Day 2020 and Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021, include exchanges with administration and campaign officials, Trump’s family, Fox hosts News and more than 40 current and former Republican lawmakers, among others. . They put Meadows at the center of a campaign to promote baseless conspiracy theories about a stolen election and prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s electoral victory.
The texts contain numerous exchanges that took place on January 6 as the riot led by Trump supporters was broadcast on television screens across the country. In frantic posts, a number of Republicans implored Meadows to force the president to do something about the violence while others insisted the rioters were not actually Trump supporters but antifa members.
“It’s really bad here on the hill,” read a message sent by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., Jan. 6. “They violated the Capitol.”
“POTUS is engaging,” Meadows replied.
Texts reported by CNN also show that Meadows was in touch with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Election Day, apparently giving him walking orders on what to tell his audience. “Emphasize that every vote counts. Get out and vote,” Meadows emailed Hannity.
“Yes sir,” Hannity replied.
On Nov. 19 and Dec. 5, Meadows reportedly sent messages to Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that Trump had tried to pressure him to nullify his state’s election results. He also responded to text messages from Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and attendee of the January 6 rally, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the most prominent proponents of election conspiracy theories. . The texts included discussions of whether then-Vice President Mike Pence would stay with Trump and reject election results that the president said were illegitimate.
On Jan. 5, Meadows received a text message from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as Speaker of the Senate, should call all electoral votes that he deems unconstitutional because no electoral votes at all – in accordance with the guidelines of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and the case law “, Jordan wrote.
The next morning, Meadows texted Jordan, “I pushed for this. I’m not sure this is going to happen.”
There are also a number of posts from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., including one from Jan. 17 in which she appears to endorse the idea of Trump declaring martial law rather than allowing a transition of power to Biden. .
Greene tells Meadows she’s been in touch with other reps who ‘say the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call Marshall [sic] law”, adding that “They [Democrats] stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Greene is currently facing a lawsuit in Georgia that could remove her name from the ballot this fall for her role in the Jan. 6 events.
CNN’s report revealing the texts to and from Meadows followed the release of texts earlier this month showing Meadows discussing possible legal action with Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, seeking to overturn the election results.
The House Jan. 6 committee accused Meadows of continuing to withhold crucial information about his role in the events leading up to, during, and after Jan. 6. According to a court filing released by the committee on Friday, in addition to the 2,319 text messages, which were turned over in December, Meadows’ attorney provided the panel with a privilege log “showing that Mr. Meadows withheld more than 1,000 text messages. on his personal cell phone based on claims of executive, spousal, and attorney-client privileges”.
After initially agreeing to cooperate with the panel last fall, Meadows backtracked in December, refusing to appear for a deposition and filing a lawsuit to block subpoenas from the committee. In response, the select committee voted to remove him for criminal contempt of Congress. Although the referral passed the House of Representatives in December, the Justice Department has yet to say whether it will pursue criminal charges.
In its recent Justice Department filing, the select committee sought summary judgment dismissing Meadows’ claims of privilege, noting that President Biden chose to waive executive privilege for documents relevant to the investigation, including those specifically requested from Meadows. Trump’s attempts to prevent Biden from waiving the privilege were blocked by a U.S. District Court judge, a federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court, the filing notes.
The recent motion for summary judgment notes that the select committee’s investigation “has progressed significantly” since it first issued a subpoena to Meadows in September and highlights previously undisclosed details obtained from interviews. and depositions with “dozens of witnesses who interacted directly with Mr. Meadows, either at the White House or as part of the Trump campaign to overturn the 2020 election.” In one such detail, the Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson told congressional investigators that the chief of staff was warned of the potential for violence from Trump supporters on Capitol Hill before Jan. 6.
In a statement released Friday with the filing, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chair of the Jan. 6 committee, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the committee, urged the court to “dismiss Mark Meadows’ baseless claims and end his obstruction of our investigation.
“Mr. Meadows hides behind broad claims of executive privilege even though much of the information we seek could not be covered by privilege and the courts have rejected similar claims because the committee’s interest in uncovering the truth is so compelling,” Thompson and Cheney said in the statement. “It is essential that the American people fully understand Mr. Meadows’ role in the events before, during and after Jan. 6. His attempt to use the courts to cover up this information must cease.