On Dec. 12, Talking Points Memo (TPM) published an article announcing it had obtained access to the entire cache of text messages turned over to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. TPM intended to analyze and publish these texts—the majority of which have never been publicly disclosed—in a multi-part series of additional articles. The series, titled “The Meadows Texts,” will disclose the salient contents of many of these 2,319 messages, which date from the Nov. 3, 2020 election, through Jan. 20, 2021, the date of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
As Hunter Walker, lead author of the series for TPM explains:
The text messages, obtained from multiple sources, offer new insights into how the assault on the election was rooted in deranged internet paranoia and undemocratic ideology. They show Meadows and other high-level Trump allies reveling in wild conspiracy theories, violent rhetoric, and crackpot legal strategies for refusing to certify Joe Biden’s victory. They expose the previously unknown roles of some members of Congress, local politicians, activists and others in the plot to overturn the election. Now, for the first time, many of those figures will be named and their roles will be described — in their own words.
Walker notes that these constitute only those messages which have been provided by Meadows and that their content “hints” in multiple ways that additional texts were generated, including encrypted texts. Walker previously co-authored (with Republican adviser on the Jan. 6 committee and former GOP Congressman Denver Riggleman) a book, titled The Breach, in which several of the texts were previously discussed, and TPM, along with other media outlets such as CNN and the Washington Post have also released some of the texts (notably Meadows’ messages to and from Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas). This disclaimer aside, the first article in the series specifically addresses nearly 450 texts between Meadows and 34 currently serving Republican members of Congress. According to Walker’s introductory article, recipients and senders of these texts were determined through searches of “law enforcement databases of public records” as part of an extensive five-week review conducted by TPM editors and staff.
As Walker notes:
Those texts show varying degrees of involvement by members of Congress, from largely benign expressions of support for Trump to the leading roles played by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Jody Hice (R-GA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the plot to reverse Trump’s defeat.
Most importantly, as Walker emphasizes, the texts, which reveal “the roots of the violence and its key enablers in Washington,” provide a concise roadmap to what occurred on Jan. 6 in venues which, unlike proceedings in the courts, have not been made public.
The first installment of “The Meadows Texts” is here. Authored by TPM’s Hunter Walker, Josh Kovensky, and Emine Yucel, it primarily analyzes Meadows’ texts with at least 34 Republican members of Congress. All texts set forth below, as well as their attribution, are taken directly from the TPM article.
The messages document the role members played in the campaign to subvert the election as it was conceived, built, and reached its violent climax on Jan. 6, 2021. The texts are rife with links to far-right websites, questionable legal theories, violent rhetoric, and advocacy for authoritarian power grabs.
As the article observes, taken both collectively and individually, the texts document the degree to which the insurrection was fueled by conspiratorial fantasies as well as the degree to which our Republican representatives were willing to sanction violence and authoritarian acts in order to achieve their goal of keeping Trump in office. They also clearly point to a much broader effort to thwart the will of the American people on the part of these representatives than is generally understood by most of the American public.
For example, here is a text from Republican Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina:
Mark, in seeing what’s happening so quickly, and reading about the Dominion law suits attempting to stop any meaningful investigation we are at a point of � no return � in saving our Republic !! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!
Other texts, notably one emphasized by TPM, by Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller, demonstrate the involvement between the Trump campaign and the planned insurrection. That text references Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama as the “ringleader on the Jan. 6 deal.” TPM contacted Brooks who willingly acknowledged his role as one of the “leading” representatives objecting to the election results. Brooks, in what appears to be a fairly clumsy deflection, suggested the basis of his objections lay in a 2005 report co-authored by former President Carter and former Sec. of State James Baker. The authors of the TPM article note that this report has been exaggerated by the right wing as evidencing the existence of alleged massive fraud in our elections. (The reality, as TPM explains, is that it evidences no such thing.)
As the TPM article illustrates, other representatives acted as cheerleaders for the effort to overturn the election. Here is a text from Republican Rep. Brian Babin of Texas, exhorting the actions of Meadows:
Mark, When we lose Trump we lose our Republic. Fight like hell and find a way. We’re with you down here in Texas and refuse to live under a corrupt Marxist dictatorship. Liberty! Babin
Still more texts document the involvement of GOP dark money groups in funding and disseminating the insurrectionist theme through social and other media. As the article explains, one of these, the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) served as a type of “headquarters” for so-called “Freedom Caucus” members eager to disenfranchise the American public. Another text, from Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, indicated he was “participating in election protests organized by Club For Growth.” (According to the article, “Gohmert was hoping for a ride on Air Force One or a White House visit.”)
Other Republican representatives were almost comically sycophantic in their efforts to be included in this treachery. Rep. Billy Long, a Republican out of Missouri, breathlessly texted Meadows on Nov. 4, claiming he knew of two instances where mail-in voters had succeeded in voting in-person in Nevada, thus justifying reviewing all votes in that state. Some heroically nominated others to lead the charge in various states. Still others, such as Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, praised themselves and their efforts to overturn the valid election results:
We’re in Philadelphia suing Pa. Sec. of State for her illegal meddling in this election and will continue to expose fraudulent actions. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to fight these MF’ers in Pa.? Our President is heroic !! Thank you for all you’ve done and please let the President know just how much he’s loved and appreciated in Pennsylvania! Sincerely, Mike Kelly
The effort was not limited to House members. As the TPM article notes, “Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) piped in with an offer to ‘put some cash together for the defense fund,’” a suggestion which he confirmed to TPM. Then-representative (now senator) Ted Budd of North Carolina also messaged Meadows with a text purporting to link Dominion voting machines with George Soros.
Some more cogently floated the idea of outright sedition. One text from Rep. Mark Green, a Republican in Tennessee, is illustrative:
Dick Morris is saying State Leg can intervene and declare Trump winner.�NC, PA, MI, WI all have GOP Leg. �
As Walker, Kovensky, and Yucel’s first installment article indicates, the texts also show a coordinated effort by Republican politicians to foment protests against the election results, as well as the enlistment of involvement by right-wing fringe groups, and communications between Meadows and Fox News and other media personalities.
The text log shows Meadows was in communication with Amy Kremer, who organized a “March For Trump” bus tour and ultimately helped plan the Jan. 6, 2021, rally on the White House Ellipse where the former president spoke and urged the crowd to “fight like hell” before many of them marched to the Capitol as it was being stormed. Messages in the log also highlight how Republican members of Congress were participating in a series of pre-Jan. 6 election protests around the country.
And then there was Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona:
When is the 45 days up? What date starts the clock ?? Nov 3rd? If it is, then that is December 18!!! China bought Dominion in October for $400 million. If that’s not interference, then should have a report with details and specifics that would validate that either way. And if they didn’t…… Call me I have some fireworks coming out of AZ early tomorrow. Call me anytime, I’m up.
(“China” did not “buy” Dominion.)
Other representatives generously supplied articles from right-wing “news” sites purporting to document the “fraud.” Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz weighed in with a statement he prepared with Rep. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican from Wyoming, declaring an intent to reject electors from “disputed states.” And, as pointed out in the article, perhaps most arrogantly of all, noted constitutional scholar Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio weighed in with his novel interpretation of the role of Vice President Mike Pence in the electoral process:
On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all — in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. �No legislative act,� wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, �contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.� �The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: ��That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion
Taken as a whole, the collection of texts to and from Meadows reveal a wide-ranging and multi-faceted effort by Republicans at all levels of the federal government geared toward overturning the verdict of the American people. Notably absent from any of the texts highlighted is any degree of self-awareness, nor the slightest concern that what they were plotting smacked of outright sedition and treachery. The slavish ingratiation, the insular, delusional outrage and the sheer dishonesty of it all is truly remarkable, if not disturbing. But what is most disturbing—and disgusting—is that nearly all of these people remain in office.
TPM’s further analyses of the Meadows texts will be published throughout the coming week.