Six of Clubs, Mark Meadows, Trump Chief of Staff, Indicted in GA, Sought Pardon for His Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

“It was Mr. Meadows’s critical failure to tell the president what he didn’t want to hear that helped lead to the country’s greatest political scandal, and his own precipitous fall.”
– Chris Whipple, the author of “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.”

 

2021:

On January 2, 2021, Trump held a one-hour phone call with Raffensperger. Trump was joined by chief of staff Mark Meadows, trade adviser Peter Navarro, Justice Department official John Lott, law professor John C. Eastman, and attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Cleta Mitchell, Alex Kaufman, and Kurt Hilbert.

The infamous call that Trump placed to Raffensperger was in part focused on having Raffensperger re-certify the result. Instead of the Biden electors, Raffensperger would re-certify the Trump electors, sending them to Congress on Jan. 6.

“Under the law you’re not allowed to give faulty election results, OK? You’re not allowed to do that. And that’s what you done,” Trump told Raffensperger on the infamous Jan. 2 phone call. “This is a faulty election result. And honestly, this should go very fast. You should meet tomorrow because you have a big election coming up and because of what you’ve done to the president.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump%E2%80%93Raffensperger_phone_call

 

Mark Meadows . . . rewarded for his silence

 

Meadows, Giuliani and other Trump allies charged in Arizona 2020 election probe

The indictments cap a year-long investigation by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) into how the 2020 pro-Trump elector strategy played out in Arizona, which Biden won by 10,457 votes.

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

April 25, 2024

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/04/24/arizona-2020-election-charges-meadows-giuliani-ellis/
 

The Conservative Partnership Institute has become a breeding ground for the next generation of Trump loyalists and an incubator for policies he might pursue. Its fast growth is raising questions.

Sign up for the On Politics newsletter.  Your guide to the 2024 elections.

In the lobby of the grand Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., where a sprawling new force in Washington’s right-wing ecosystem, the Conservative Partnership Institute, was holding its winter conference, the former Trump legal adviser Cleta Mitchell was exultant.

“Did you hear the ‘War Room’ today? Bannon was on fire!” she said to a friend. She was referring to the podcast hosted by Stephen K. Bannon, the former Trump White House senior adviser who had been condemning Republican senators for supporting billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine and Israel earlier that day.

Ms. Mitchell was among some 150 conservative donors and activists who gathered in Coral Gables earlier this month to celebrate the ascendancy of a group that has become a well-paying sinecure for Trump allies and an incubator for the policies the former president could pursue if elected. The participants toted gift bags in the warm sunshine and swapped golf clothes for business attire at a dinner where they applauded as two Black speakers — Ben Carson, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Representative Byron Donalds of Florida — extolled conservative values while condemning the racial identity politics of the left.

The group’s top executive, Jim DeMint, the former U.S. senator from South Carolina, was there, as was Mark Meadows, President Donald J. Trump’s former chief of staff, who is paid $847,000 annually as the organization’s senior adviser. More than a dozen members of the House Freedom Caucus also turned up, as did Mollie Hemingway, the editor in chief of the right-wing journalism website The Federalist, whose parent company C.P.I. helps underwrite.

The message at the conference was “taking on the Swamp” from a nonprofit with a $36 million annual budget from private donors that now operates as a full-service nerve center for right-wing activity and a breeding ground for the next generation of Trump loyalists.

Legislators can hold fund-raisers in its event rooms; send their staff members to training sessions at the group’s getaway lodge in Maryland; do their TV news hits in its studio; or be fed, by text message, follow-up questions for lawmakers to ask witnesses during congressional hearings. Donors can funnel their money through the institute into a host of conservative causes, from promoting Christian values in education to helping pay legal fees incurred by what the group calls “America First public servants.”

“We’re just doing what the other guys have been doing for decades,” Robert Bruce, a retired Texas aviation entrepreneur and C.P.I. donor, said in an interview two days after the conference. “There’s been a void in Washington, D.C., and C.P.I. has filled it by giving conservatives a refuge.”

The organization aims to be much more than a refuge. One of the groups it has staffed and funded, the American Accountability Foundation, says in its mission statement that it seeks to “advance conservative messaging” by aggressively attacking appointees for the Biden administration. Another offspring, the Center for Renewing America, aims to take on what it calls a leftist “cultural revolution” as well as a “taxpayer-funded woke federal bureaucracy.”

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sued by book publisher for breach of contract

https://apnews.com/article/mark-meadows-trump-breach-contract-book-publisher

[Excerpt:]

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is being sued by his publisher for contradicting his book’s claim about the the 2020 election.

All Seasons Press alleges that sworn testimony by Meadows undermined “The Chief’s Chief,” in which he wrote that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

In a breach of contract lawsuit filed Friday in Florida, All Seasons cited media reports from last month alleging that Meadows knew Trump had lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

“Meadows’ reported statements to the Special Prosecutor and/or his staff and his reported grand jury testimony squarely contradict the statements” in “The Chief’s Chief,” according to the lawsuit, filed in Sarasota, Florida. A central theme of Meadows’ book is that “President Trump was the true winner of the 2020 Presidential Election and that election was ‘stolen’ and ‘rigged’ with the help from ‘allies in the liberal media,’” the court papers read in part.

 

Mark Meadows’ Publisher Sues Him for Millions Over Election Lies in Book

All Seasons Press said it pulled Meadows’ book from the market on Thursday.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/mark-meadows-publisher-sues-for-millions-over-election-lies-in-book

Mark Meadows Spills to Special Counsel About Trump’s Election Lies: Report

The former president’s allies are turning on him and cooperating with prosecutors, one by one

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/mark-meadows-flips-trump-spills-jack-smith

[Excerpts:]

Mark Meadows has reportedly testified before a federal grand jury impaneled by Special Counsel Jack Smith in exchange for immunity from prosecution in the Justice Department’s election interference case against Donald Trump.  

According to ABC News, the former White House chief of staff has testified under oath at least three times, twice before the special counsel’s office and once to a grand jury, regarding the investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Meadows reportedly testified that he had told the former president the election was lost and, according to sources, testified to the DOJ that “obviously we didn’t win.” 

Meadows has long been seen as the figure responsible for arranging an infamous phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During the call Trump requested that Raffensperger “find” the 11,780 votes he needed to win Georgia.

Meadows was indicted alongside Trump in a separate case in Georgia. Meadows, the former president, and 17 others were charged with participating in a widespread racketeering scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election in August, and the former president’s phone call with Raffensperger featured heavily in the charging documents. In August, as part of a bid to move the Georgia case to federal court, Meadows argued that his arrangement and presence during the phone call was simply a part of his job.

As previously reported by Politico, Meadows’ testimony to Georgia prosecutors has provided hints that he may be prepared to flip on Trump there, as well.

Mr. Whipple is the author of “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/31/opinion/mark-meadows-georgia-trump

[Excerpts:]

Mr. Meadows failed as Mr. Trump’s chief because he was unable to check the president’s worst impulses. But the bigger problem for our country is that his failure is a template for the inevitable disasters in a potential second Trump administration.

Mr. Trump’s final days as president could be a preview. He ran the White House his way — right off the rails. He fired his defense secretary, Mark Esper, replacing him with his counterterrorism chief, Chris Miller, and tried but failed to install lackeys in other positions of power: an environmental lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, as attorney general and a partisan apparatchik, Kash Patel, as deputy C.I.A. director.

Mr. Trump has already signaled that in a second term, his department heads and cabinet officers would be expected to blindly obey orders. His director of national intelligence would tell him only what he wants to hear, and his attorney general would prosecute Mr. Trump’s political foes.

For Mr. Meadows, his place in history is secure as a primary enabler of a president who tried to overthrow democracy. But his example should serve as a warning of what will happen if Mr. Trump regains the White House. All guardrails will be gone.

[Boldface added]

 

Mark Meadows, a former White House chief of staff, told a judge he believed his actions regarding the 2020 election fell within the scope of his job as a federal official.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/28/us/trump-georgia-meadows

 

Trump’s high-stakes day in court

August 28, 2023 
“POLITICO Playbook” <politicoplaybook@email.politico.com
[Excerpts:]— Another hearing, happening at the exact same time in Atlanta’s federal courthouse, could be even more important: It represents the first major test for Fulton County DA FANI WILLIS’ sweeping indictment of Trump and 18 alleged co-conspirators — one that could foreshadow how the election subversion charges will hold up in the future.Note that this isn’t the courtroom that Willis wants her case tried in. She sought her indictment in Georgia state court, but co-defendant MARK MEADOWS wants the case moved to federal court, arguing that his alleged illegal conduct was part of his job as then-White House chief of staff.The decision is in the hands of U.S. District Judge STEVE JONES, an appointee of former President BARACK OBAMA who has spent 12 years on the federal bench. Today’s session could “resemble a mini-trial,” as our colleagues Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney write in a story that just posted, with both Willis’ prosecutors and Meadows’ legal team expected to “air their strongest initial arguments about the case.”
.Witnesses have been subpoenaed to testify, including Georgia Secretary of State BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, whom Trump tried to browbeat to “find” more than 11,000 votes to carry the Peach State following the 2020 election.Underscoring the stakes of it all, Meadows unveiled last night in a court filing that he picked up new legal firepower to help make his case: attorney ROBERT BITTMAN, whom Josh noted was “one of the most hard-charging members” of independent counsel KEN STARR’s Clinton-era investigative team.Should Meadows succeed in getting the case “removed” to federal court, Willis would still oversee the prosecution and the charges wouldn’t change, but federal prosecutorial rules would prevail, potentially helping Trump and his co-defendants in the following ways:

  • Jury pool: As Josh and Kyle note, Willis’ turf of Fulton County went for JOE BIDEN over Trump by a whopping 73%-26% margin. But should the case move to federal court, jurors would likely be sourced from the larger Atlanta metropolitan region, which includes a significant swath of Trump supporters.
  • Cameras in the courtroom: Unlike Georgia court proceedings, cameras are not allowed in federal courtrooms. And while Trump usually craves televised publicity, he’s not likely to benefit from daily clips of Republican officials testifying against him streaming into swing voters’ homes, particularly if it comes in the heat of the general election.
  • Immunity: This is the big one. Citing the Constitution’s “supremacy clause,” which says federal law trumps state laws, Meadows’ team plans to argue that he is legally immune from the state charges because his actions were part of his federal duties. There’s some precedent for that argument, but Willis’ team is prepared to argue that Meadows’s actions were purely political in nature and that, under that Hatch Act, they could not have been part of his chief-of-staff duties.

“The question is whether the call was made by Mark Meadows, the chief of staff to the president of the United States, or Mark Meadows, a private citizen or member of the Trump campaign,” former Georgia prosecutor CHRIS TIMMONS told ABC News’ Olivia Rubin and John Santucci in their Sunday story on the issue. “The president’s chief of staff typically doesn’t have a reason to call the secretary of state in Georgia. Thus, arguably he was acting in a private capacity, and he’s going to have a difficult time Monday.”

Expect to hear a lot more about this today, with one big question hanging over the proceedings: If Meadows wins, will other defendants — including Trump — automatically follow him into federal court? Four other defendants have already made the request, and Trump might not be far behind.

 

 

Removal of Criminal Cases to Federal Court: Two Dozen FAQ’s

 

Trump attorneys guided false electors in Georgia, GOP chair says

In Tuesday’s filing, Shafer underscored that the strategy was driven almost entirely by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.  The false electors were later used by Trump allies to attempt to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021 and derail the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Shafer is among the 18 defendants indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, alongside Trump as part of a conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.

Donald Trump and His Allies in Georgia

As Trump and his 18 co-defendants surrendered to Fulton County authorities, they were processed like anyone else

By Kyler Alvord and Virginia Chamlee

https://people.com/donald-trump-18-allies-mugshots-georgia-election-interference-case-7644240

[Excerpt:]

Mark Meadows, who served as the White House chief of staff under President Donald Trump, faces two felony charges in the Georgia election interference probe: violating the Georgia RICO Act and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.

Following the Aug. 14 indictment, Meadows asked a federal court to throw out his charges, arguing in a court filing that his conduct after the 2020 presidential election fell “squarely within the scope of [his] duties as Chief of Staff and the federal policy underlying that role.” A federal judge denied his emergency request to avoid arrest in the meantime, and his bond was set at $100,000.

 

“Federal judge rejects bids to halt Georgia prosecution of Trump aides over 2020 election”

Politico:

A federal judge quickly shot down bids Wednesday by two former Trump administration officials — Mark Meadows and Jeffrey Clark — to derail the criminal proceedings against them in Fulton County, where they’re charged alongside Donald Trump with a sprawling racketeering conspiracy to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

In two six-page rulings by Atlanta-based U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones effectively ensures that Meadows and Clark will face arrest this week, a result both men attempted to prevent in a series of emergency filings.

Meadows and Clark had both pleaded with Jones to prohibit District Attorney Fani Willis from arresting them by a Friday deadline for the 19 defendants to turn themselves in. Both men say their cases should be handled — and ultimately dismissed — by federal courts because of their work for the Trump administration.

The former White House chief of staff, a key witness to Donald J. Trump’s efforts to remain in power after his 2020 election loss, maneuvered to provide federal prosecutors only what he had to.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/22/us/politics/mark-meadows-trump-legal-strategy

[Excerpt:]

This winter, after receiving a subpoena from a grand jury investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, Mark Meadows commenced a delicate dance with federal prosecutors.

He had no choice but to show up and, eventually, to testify. Yet Mr. Meadows — Mr. Trump’s final White House chief of staff — initially declined to answer certain questions, sticking to his former boss’s position that they were shielded by executive privilege.

But when prosecutors working for the special counsel, Jack Smith, challenged Mr. Trump’s executive privilege claims before a judge, Mr. Meadows pivoted. Even though he risked enraging Mr. Trump, he decided to trust Mr. Smith’s team, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Meadows quietly arranged to talk with them not only about the steps the former president took to stay in office, but also about his handling of classified documents after he left.

The episode illustrated the wary steps Mr. Meadows took to navigate legal and political peril as prosecutors in Washington and Georgia closed in on Mr. Trump, seeking to avoid being charged himself while also sidestepping the career risks of being seen as cooperating with what his Republican allies had cast as partisan persecution of the former president.

His high-wire legal act hit a new challenge this month. While Mr. Meadows’s strategy of targeted assistance to federal prosecutors and sphinxlike public silence largely kept him out of the 45-page election interference indictment that Mr. Smith filed against Mr. Trump in Washington, it did not help him avoid similar charges in Fulton County, Ga. Mr. Meadows was named last week as one of Mr. Trump’s co-conspirators in a sprawling racketeering indictment filed by the local district attorney in Georgia.

Interviews and a review of the cases show how Mr. Meadows’s tactics reflected to some degree his tendency to avoid conflict and leave different people believing that he agreed with them. They were also dictated by his unique position in Mr. Trump’s world and the legal jeopardy this presented.

Mr. Meadows was Mr. Trump’s top aide in his chaotic last months in the White House and a firsthand witness not only to the president’s sprawling efforts to overturn the 2020 election, but also to some early strands of what evolved into an inquiry into Mr. Trump’s mishandling of classified documents.

Mr. Meadows was there, at times, when Mr. Trump listened to entreaties from outside allies that he use the apparatus of the government to seize voting machines and re-run the election. And he was on the phone when Mr. Trump tried to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state to find him sufficient votes to win that state.

[Boldface added]
These Trump associates have appeared before the Jan. 6 grand juryBY ALEX GANGITANO 07/20/23https://thehill.com/homenews/4108569-these-trump-associates-have-appeared-before-the-jan-6-grand-jury/Multiple associates of former President Trump have appeared before the grand jury investigating Jan. 6, 2021, that informed Trump on Sunday he’s a target of their probe — likely indicating charges are coming soon.The grand jury, convened by special counsel Jack Smith, has been looking into whether Trump knew he lost the 2020 presidential election, along with broader efforts to interfere with the transfer of power following election.Trump’s former associates have reportedly been asked whether the former president acknowledged he lost the presidency while he was publicly outraged and claiming the election was stolen. Here are the most notable Trump associates who have appeared before the Jan. 6 grand jury.Mark MeadowsFormer White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, one of Trump’s most loyal allies, has also appeared before the grand jury, the New York Times first reported.Meadows also reportedly testified in Smith’s other probe regarding Trump, which is looking into the classified and sensitive documents that were taken from the White House to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property. Meadows was among the Trump associates who were ordered in March to testify before the grand jury’s probe of Capitol riots and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He refused to testify before the House select committee that investigated Jan. 6 last year.
Trump indictment sidesteps key details unearthed by Jan. 6 panelBY REBECCA BEITSCH  08/09/23
https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4146334-trump-indictment-sidesteps-details-unearthed-jan-6-panel/[Excerpts:] The sweeping indictment brought against Donald Trump in the Jan. 6 case touches on nearly every aspect of the former president’s plot to stay in power.But a few eye-catching omissions in the high-profile case point to the complexities facing the Justice Department (DOJ), while raising questions about prosecutors’ future plans to hold to account those involved with Trump’s plans. “The main thing that sticks out isn’t so much missing facts or missing charges, so much as the lack of co-defendants,” said Josh Stanton, an attorney with Perry Law who helped write a model prosecution memo analyzing the case.“That is the most notable missing piece of this indictment.”The indictment aligned closely with the report prepared by the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a high-level review of evidence laid out over the course of months of hearings, a format that allowed the public to hear directly from some witnesses.  However some conduct and testimony exposed by the congressional panel doesn’t feature prominently in the indictment.“It’s only a 45-page summary, and obviously, the committee report was over 800 pages,” said Tom Joscelyn, a principal author of the panel’s report, who noted the indictment captures the Trump campaign effort to overturn the election “at every point they could.”“They don’t have to put everything in the indictment. That’s just the summary of the case.” When it comes to whom to hold responsible for the attack, the indictment likewise hews closely to the panel’s recommendations. Trump’s indictment lists six co-conspirators in the effort to block the transition of power after the 2020 election, whose roles were largely highlighted by the committee, such as then-Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, who drafted the memo laying out a plan for then-Vice President Mike Pence to buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results.But none of them have been charged yet, and while the list was expected to include just a fraction of those involved, there are notable exclusions.The indictment makes few references to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was involved in numerous aspects of Trump’s plan, or nods to the lawmakers who routinely coordinated with the White House on various methods for fighting President Biden’s victory.Meadows was a central figure in coordinating with lawmakers, as well as a participant in the campaign to pressure Justice Department officials to open investigations into baseless claims of election fraud.“He’s maybe the highest-level omission from the indictment that could have been included. But I would note there’s likely dozens of other people that could have been included as potential unnamed co-conspirators,” said Stanton.“This could have been an indictment that named 30-plus people, so there was some paring that had to happen in order to focus on just Trump.”Meadows’s absence from the indictment has fueled speculation that he may be cooperating with DOJ in the matter.George Terwilliger, Meadow’s attorney, did not respond to a request for comment. “If Mark Meadows is a cooperating witness, you’re not going to necessarily reveal that in a speaking indictment. Because there’s also a strategy in supporting the charges with evidence that is already known and holding back key evidence for trial,” Soumya Dayananda, a senior investigator for the House Jan. 6 committee and an attorney now in private practice, told The Hill.Also given little thought in the indictment are the lawmakers with whom Meadows coordinated, with the chief at one point writing after a meeting with Trump and GOP members of Congress that they were “preparing to fight back,” citing false claims of voter fraud.Dayananda said the committee was not able to glean as much information about lawmaker involvement as it would have liked, pointing to lawmakers who rebuffed subpoenas issued by the panel.The indictment does mention efforts of Trump associates to reach lawmakers on Jan. 6, but she said there’s a difference in being solicited by the team versus acting as a vital co-conspirator.“It may be that evidence didn’t reveal a criminal intent to enter in any of the schemes, but rather that they intended to take advantage of a political situation to their benefit,” Dayananda said.

Stanton agreed, saying lawmakers would likely be able to push back on potential charges citing the Speech and Debate Clause as a defense, which protects members of Congress from being questioned about many of their activities outside that branch.

 “Absent the Speech or Debate Clause, they would be very much at risk of prosecution for obstruction of an official proceeding or conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. But the Speech or Debate Clause casts a fairly wide net, and there’s a pretty good argument it would … protect here,” he said.

Joscelyn, now a fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law, said its possible lawmakers’ activity could feature more heavily in any other indictments the special counsel might bring.

[Boldface added]

 

Letters from an American

Heather Cox Richardson

June 20, 2023
Tonight news broke that on Friday, Owen Shroyer, who worked alongside Alex Jones at the right-wing conspiracy media site InfoWars, will change his plea for charges associated with the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to “guilty,” which might signal that he has flipped.

Shroyer was at the so-called “War Room” on January 5 with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, advisors Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, General Michael Flynn, and Christina Bobb, the lawyer who later signed off on Trump’s statement that he had returned all the classified documents in his possession (he had not). Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, repeatedly expressed interest to his aide Cassidy Hutchinson in joining the people in that command center, but in the end was talked into calling the group rather than going over.

Shroyer was also part of the 47-member “Friends of Stone” encrypted chat group that organized in 2019 to support Trump in the upcoming election and then to keep him in office after he lost in 2020. If Shroyer has, indeed, flipped, he could provide an important window into the upper levels of the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

 

Bernie Kerik Pitched Mark Meadows on ‘$5 to $8’ Million Plan To Reverse Trump 2020 Loss

Bernie Kerik had a plan to keep former President Trump in office after losing the 2020 election — and he knew how much it would cost. Roughly.

Per an email surfaced in a defamation lawsuit brought against Rudy Giuliani, Kerik wrote to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a Dec. 28, 2020 missive that he would need “between $5 to $8M” to put a plan into action that would pressure state legislators into throwing their electors behind Trump.

It was one feature of a broader effort to co-opt state legislatures into a scheme that would have seen them try to send slates of fake electors to Washington on January 6. A “strategic communications plan” attached to Kerik’s email indicated he would need millions of dollars to work alongside Giuliani to “pressure” state lawmakers into cooperating.

Kerik is a longtime Giuliani confidante who served as commissioner of the New York City Police Department during Giuliani’s mayoralty. Thanks to a recommendation from Giuliani, he went on to serve as the interim interior minister of Iraq during the country’s occupation by U.S. forces. In 2010, Kerik went to prison after pleading guilty to a slew of charges including tax fraud and making false statements to the White House in conjunction with his vetting for federal posts. Kerik was pardoned by Trump in 2020.

The message with Kerik’s multimillion-dollar ask and strategic plan emerged in a defamation lawsuit that Giuliani faces brought by two Georgia poll workers, Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman. Giuliani spent months in late 2020 and early 2021 claiming that the mother-daughter pair were caught on video unloading ballots from a suitcase at an arena in Fulton County, Georgia, while saying falsely that one of the two had a criminal record. The allegations against Moss and Freeman, and Trump’s claims that Georgia was stolen from him, were shown repeatedly to be baseless.

This new email is further indication of how the efforts to overturn the election were intertwined with requests for cash — and the eye popping sums that were involved. Kerik pestered Meadows for money on Giuliani’s behalf more than once in late 2020 as the pair worked to help Trump build his myth of a stolen election and attempt to reverse his loss. In a Dec. 1, 2020 text to Meadows that TPM obtained and published last year, Kerik told Meadows that he was “airborne on the way to Michigan from Arizona.”

“We’re going to need a hotel for the team and two vehicles to pick us up. Christina Bobb, Who is our coordinator back in DC does not have a credit card or authorization for these logistics,” he wrote. “I reached out to Mike Glassner who Apparently is no longer on payroll. Can you I have some money coordinate with Christina to handle? Thank you sir”

Weeks later, on Dec. 28, Kerik popped up again — this time via the message that surfaced in the defamation lawsuit this year, which was sent to Meadows’ White House email address.

In that missive, Kerik told Meadows that Giuliani had sent a message the night before, before telling the Trump chief of staff that “we need to pull the trigger today, to have the impact that’s needed in the states that we’re targeting.” He also made clear his needs were growing beyond hotels and cars and that launching the effort would cost money.

“We’re estimating it’s going to run between $5 to $8M,” he wrote, adding, “With all due respect, we don’t want the campaign comms people involved… We need this to get done, done right, and done now.”

Kerik added that only “specific pressure in targeted areas” would work.

“There is only one thing that’s going to move the needle and force the legislators to do what their constitutionally obligated to do, and that is apply pressure,” he wrote.

Kerik, at the time, also used his personal Twitter account to post fragments of his strategy memo to the public.

In a deposition in the Freeman lawsuit, Giuliani alternatingly confirmed and denied his support for the plan to pitch the White House. He told attorneys that “I let them do it” and that he was “opposed to it.

It’s not clear how receptive Meadows was to Kerik’s requests for funding. Weeks later, the Washington Post reported that Trump had told aides not to pay Giuliani for legal fees, and not to reimburse him for expenses he incurred while traveling the country to pressure state legislators into reversing Trump’s loss. Giuliani reportedly wanted $20,000 per day for the work.

However, even thought Giuliani and Kerik might not have secured all of the funds they hoped to receive for their services, there are indications Meadows was working with them after receiving Kerik’s email. According to texts from Mark Meadows’ phone obtained by TPM, then-Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) texted Meadows the day after Kerik sent his strategy to Meadows about a “call” he was trying to set up between “state legislature leaders and Rudy.”

“I just want to make sure I’m doing what you and the president want. We also have a joint statement ready as well. Thanks,” Perdue added. It’s not clear if that was part of Kerik’s plan.

An attorney for Meadows didn’t return TPM’s request for comment.

Kerik initially agreed to an interview about the matter, but then declined to comment. Timothy Parlatore, an attorney for Kerik, told TPM that he doesn’t “really have time to waste on that case.”

Take a look at the email below:

 

Letters from an American, 

While President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are returning to the traditional idea—embraced by members of both parties before 1980—that investing in the country benefits everyone, much of the Freedom Caucus has thrown in its lot with former president Donald Trump, who calls the Democrats’ ideology “communism.” So convinced were Trump’s supporters that Democrats should not be allowed to govern that they tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

One of the key figures in that attempt was Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who as a representative from North Carolina was a founder of the House Freedom Caucus (along with Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Ron DeSantis of Florida, among others). As Trump’s chief of staff, Meadows was close to the center of the attempt to keep former president Trump in the White House. His aide Cassidy Hutchinson provided some of the most compelling—and damning—testimony before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Meadows refused to cooperate with that committee and was found in contempt of Congress, but the Department of Justice declined to prosecute. When he seemed largely to drop out of public view, there was speculation about his role in the investigations into Trump’s role in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

This afternoon, Jonathan Swan, Michael S. Schmidt, and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported that Meadows has testified before a federal grand jury in the investigations led by Special Counsel Jack Smith. It is not clear if Meadows testified in the matter of the election sabotage or in the matter of documents taken from the White House when Trump left office, or both. One of his lawyers refused to comment but told the New York Times reporters that “Mr. Meadows has maintained a commitment to tell the truth where he has a legal obligation to do so.”

Mark Meadows, who was White House chief of staff under President Donald J. Trump, will have to appear in front of a grand jury for testimony in the Justice Department’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s efforts to retain power after his election loss in 2020.” data-testid=”photoviewer-expand-button”>Maggie Haberman and 

A federal judge has ruled that a number of former officials from President Donald J. Trump’s administration — including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows — cannot invoke executive privilege to avoid testifying to a grand jury investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/24/us/politics/trump-mark-meadows-executive-privilege-jan-6

 

‘It’s Not a Short List’: Trump Probe Grand Jury to Recommend Slew of Indictments

“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” the forewoman said when asked if they’ll ask for the former president to be charged

A Georgia grand jury investigating whether Donald Trump and some of his prominent allies meddled in the state’s 2020 presidential election will recommend a series of indictments on various charges, according to a report from The New York Times. “It’s not a short list,” jury forewoman Emily Kohrs said of the list of indictment recommendations, which remains sealed.“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” Kohrs added when asked if the jury would be recommending an indictment against Trump.

The names and specific charges being recommended by the grand jury have yet to be made public, but Kohrs indicated to the Times that “if the judge releases the recommendations, it is not going to be some giant plot twist.”The grand jury previously indicated that it suspected several witnesses of having committed perjury throughout the course of their investigation. Since Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis convened the grand jury last year, it has subpoenaed several Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

[Boldface added]

The grand jury also subpoenaed the “fake electors” who participated in the scheme to overturn the election results. Willis informed all 16 of them last year that they are also targets in the investigation. Trump is also a target The former president pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary to flip the state to him. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said just days before the election was certified.

The grand jury’s recommendations are only that, however. It does not possess the power to directly indict individuals. Willis will make the final determination about whom to charge.

 

Georgia Grand Jury Recommends Indictments for Witnesses In Trump Election Case

The report doesn’t say whether Trump himself should be indicted for interfering in the 2020 election, but jurors said witnesses who lied about what happened should be prosecuted.

 

[And then there’s Meadows’ roles (1) in advancing the Fake Elector Scheme, now better understood as the motivation for Meadows’ unwarranted intervention in Georgia’s 2020 voting results, and  (2) his concomitant efforts, in working with Scott Perry, to introduce former President Trump to Jeffrey Clark, who proposed that, if appointed U.S. Attorney General, he would allege election fraud as a basis for intervening in Georgia and other “swing” states which Trump lost in 2020.  During this time,  Meadows was in regular contact with election deniers Donald Trump Jr, John Eastman, Rudi Guiliani, Peter Navarro,  Ginni Thomas, who saw the Fake Elector Scheme as the way to  deny Biden his victory.]

 

How The Fake Electors Scheme Explains Everything About Trump’s Attempt To Steal The 2020 Election

New materials illustrate why Fani Willis and Jack Smith have focused on this esoteric part of Trump’s plot.

Josh Kovensky

February 10, 2023

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/how-the-fake-electors-scheme-explains-everything-about-trumps-attempt-to-steal-the-2020-election?
[Excerpts:]

Instead of a series of disconnected, disparate schemes all aimed at the same goal, the fake electors plot provides a lens through which to view the entire effort, giving Trump’s 2020 plans a coherence, with each piece fitting neatly together. Now, two years after the violence of Jan. 6, this fresh look at the scheme reinforces how efforts to spread conspiracy theories, subvert the DOJ, weaponize state legislatures, summon an angry mob and, ultimately, pressure the vice president on Jan. 6 were all part of the same plot, with fake electors at the center.

Though much of Trumpworld quickly cottoned on to the fake electors scheme, the origins of the plan remain murky. The Atlantic’s Barton Gellman reported in September 2020 that versions of the scheme were already being discussed; he cited “sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels.” 

But it’s stunning to observe how, within days of the November 2020 election, people up and down the hierarchy of the Trump campaign were ready to move on the fake electors plot. 

On Nov. 5, 2020, Donald Trump Jr. was one of many people in Trump’s orbit to text White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows with a plan for how electors could be used to subvert the election, up to Jan. 6.

———

The infamous call that Trump placed to Raffensperger was in part focused on having Raffensperger re-certify the result. Instead of the Biden electors, Raffensperger would re-certify the Trump electors, sending them to Congress on Jan. 6.

“Under the law you’re not allowed to give faulty election results, OK? You’re not allowed to do that. And that’s what you done,” Trump told Raffensperger on the infamous Jan. 2 phone call. “This is a faulty election result. And honestly, this should go very fast. You should meet tomorrow because you have a big election coming up and because of what you’ve done to the president.”

 

Exclusive: Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows subpoenaed by special counsel in Jan. 6 investigation

https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/15/politics/mark-meadows-subpoena/index.html

Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows has been subpoenaed by the special counsel investigating the former president and his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s office is seeking documents and testimony related to January 6, and Meadows received the subpoena sometime in January, the source said. An attorney for Meadows declined to comment.

The Justice Department did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the subpoena.

The move to subpoena one of Trump’s most senior aides – in addition to the recent subpoena of former Vice President Mike Pence, as CNN reported last week – marks the latest significant step in the special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s role in seeking to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.

Smith also is simultaneously investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office. While the subpoena is related to January 6, Meadows also may be of interest in the documents investigation. He was one of Trump’s designees to the National Archives and played a role in discussions around returning government records in his possession.

The special counsel’s subpoena could set up a clash with the Justice Department and Meadows over executive privilege. The former White House chief of staff, citing executive privilege, previously fought a subpoena from a special grand jury in Georgia that was investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. A judge later ordered Meadows to testify, finding him “material and necessary to the investigation.”

Meadows was involved in the infamous phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and in a December 2020 White House meeting about election fraud claims. Meadows also visited a site where an audit of Georgia’s election was underway and sent emails to Justice Department officials about unsubstantiated fraud allegations.

On January 6, Meadows was in and out of the Oval Office and witness to Trump’s actions as rioters overtook the US Capitol that day.

The recent subpoena for Meadows also underscores the aggressive nature of the special counsel’s probe. CNN has reported that Smith also has subpoenaed former Trump national security adviser Robert O’Brien in both of the Trump-related probes, and Justice Department lawyers interviewed Trump’s former acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf in recent weeks as part of the probe into 2020 election interference.

CNN’s Evan Perez and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revealed: Trump secretly donated $1m to discredited Arizona election ‘audit’

Funding for controversial review of state’s vote count in 2020 election can be traced to former president’s Pac

‘The money had reached its destination, with no Trump fingerprints anywhere in sight.’

[Excerpts:]

One of the enduring mysteries surrounding the chaotic attempts to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential battle has been solved: who made a secret $1m donation to the controversial election “audit” in Arizona?

The identity of one of the largest benefactors behind the discredited review of Arizona’s vote count has been shrouded in secrecy. Now the Guardian can reveal that the person who partially bankrolled the failed attempt to prove that the election was stolen from Trump was … Trump.

An analysis by the watchdog group Documented has traced funding for the Arizona audit back to Trump’s Save America Pac. The group tracked the cash as it passed from Trump’s fund through an allied conservative group, and from there to a shell company which in turn handed the money to contractors and individuals involved in the Arizona audit.

Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based company that led the Arizona audit, disclosed in 2021 that $5.7m of its budget came from several far-right groups invested in the “stop the steal” campaign to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory. It was later divulged that a further $1m had supported the audit from an account controlled by Cleta Mitchell, a Republican election lawyer who advised Trump as he plotted to subvert the 2020 election.

But who gave the $1m to Mitchell?

The money trail exposed by Documented begins with Trump’s loosely regulated leadership Pac, Save America, which raised millions in the wake of Trump’s 2020 defeat on the back of the false election fraud narrative. In its final report released in December, the bipartisan January 6 committee investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol highlighted how Save America Pac gave $1m to the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI).

The committee did not say what the money was for, or where it ended up.

Top CPI officials include Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, along with other senior Trump insiders after they left the White House. The organization is developing a political infrastructure to sustain the former president’s Make America Great Again (Maga) movement.

Documented’s research shows that discussions around a possible payment from Trump to the Arizona audit began in June 2021. Records obtained by American Oversight reveal that on 27 June, the retired army colonel and arch election denier Phil Waldron texted the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, saying: “Kurt is going to talk to 45 today about $$.”

The “45” in the text is a reference to Trump – the 45th president of the US – and “Kurt” may have been a reference to the election-denying lawyer Kurt Olsen. Waldron added: “Mike L talking to Corey L” – alluding to Mike Lindell, chief executive of MyPillow who is a devotee of Trump’s stolen election lie, and the former Trump presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

On 16 July 2021, Waldron asked Logan if he had received “a 1mil [payment] from Corey Lewendowsk [sic]”. He went on: “Supposedly Kurt talked to trump and they got 1 mil for you,” but that “I couldn’t verify who sent and who received.”

Logan responded that he had not yet received payment from Trump.

Ten days later, on 26 July 2021, Trump’s Save America Pac made its $1m transfer to CPI, according to Federal Election Commission records. Two days after that, on 28 July, a new group called the American Voting Rights Foundation (AVRF) was registered as a corporation in Delaware.

Tax filings obtained recently show that CPI in turn gave $1m to AVRF in 2021 – the only known donation that the group has ever received. The date of CPI’s donation to AVRF is not a matter of public record, but other details – including CPI’s relationship with AVRF, the timing and amounts of the known transfers, and the discussion among Trump allies about the former president’s plans to give $1m to the audit 10 days before Trump gave $1m to CPI – clearly indicate that it was the money that came from Trump’s Pac.

Records obtained by American Oversight showed that AVRF was connected to Mitchell, the former Trump lawyer who is now a senior fellow at CPI.She is best known for having taken part in the infamous phone call in January 2021 that is now being weighed by an Atlanta prosecutor, in which Trump tried to pressure Georgia’s top election official to “find 11,780 votes” needed for him to win.

Documented has discovered that the ties between CPI and AVRF went even deeper. CPI entities effectively controlled AVRF.

Tax records show that AVRF’s “direct controlling entity” is America First Legal, the CPI-launched project led by Trump’s former speechwriter Stephen MillerTax records also show that another CPI project, the Center for Renewing America, lists AVRF as one of its “related organizations”.

The final stage in the money’s journey was from AVRF to Cyber Ninjas and the audit itself. The same day that AVRF was registered in Delaware – 28 July 2021 – Mitchell sent an email connecting the Cyber Ninjas CEO Logan, together with the spokesman of the audit Randy Pullen, to AVRF’s treasurer, Tom Datwyler.

The email, contained in the documents obtained by American Oversight, spelled out that money was about to be transferred from AVRF to Arizona contractors approved by Cyber Ninjas.

The last step was recorded in an email sent the following day, 29 July, in which Mitchell itemized $1m split into three separate payments going to two entities supporting the audit and to individuals “working at the audit site”. CPI’s president, Ed Corrigan, is cc’ed on the email.

The money had reached its destination, with no Trump fingerprints anywhere in sight.

The Guardian has invited both Save America Pac and CPI to comment but they did not immediately respond.

 

Cyber Ninjas’ ties to Trump during Arizona election ‘audit’ revealed in messages

Ryan RandazzoRobert Anglen

Arizona Republic

and

PublishedJan. 26, 2023; Updated Jan. 26, 2023
Former President Donald Trump publicly kept his distance from the review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election. But inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, his influence loomed over critical aspects of the “audit,” according to messages sent and received by the man leading the ballot recount.
New records show Trump received direct updates from people at the coliseum, his allies pressured the lead contractor on when to report findings, and that contractor asked people close to the former president if he could help pay for it. This all happened as leaders of the state Senate publicly denied Trump had any involvement in their effort.
While messages from those working on the audit indicate they intentionally kept the president at arm’s length to avoid the appearance of his influence, behind the scenes they sought Trump’s approval — and money.
In April 2021, four days before the election review began, Cyber Ninjas founder Doug Logan used a private messaging system to discuss taking a donation from Trump and his team surreptitiously.
“I told them there was no way I could take funds directly,” he said in the chat.
Once the audit concluded and the now-defunct Cyber Ninjas was millions of dollars in debt, Logan would lament that Trump never did directly fund his work.
“It’s my understanding that our underfunded status is known all the way up to 45,” Logan wrote to a subcontractor in a conversation about how to pay everyone. “Never talked with him, but I’ve been told the message has been received.”
Logan has released tens of thousands of personal messages he sent to supporters and subcontractors involved in the audit in response to ongoing lawsuits from The Arizona Republic and a left-leaning watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., called American Oversight.
The messages reveal for the first time how Logan worked with Trump allies to help finance the work, shape media coverage and manage day-to-day operations as teams worked to hand count 2.1 million ballots cast by county voters.
Logan for months fought the release of his personal messages, which The Republic first sought through state Public Records Law. But after a $50,000-a-day sanction for noncompliance and exhausting all appeals, Logan’s lawyer has turned over many — but not all — text and Signal messages Logan sent and received while working on the audit.
Logan on Tuesday declined to comment on the pleas for money he made through extensive communication with Christina Bobb, a former Trump lawyer and conservative broadcaster who served as a go-between for the former president.
Arizona Senate Republicans hired Cyber Ninjas to recount and inspect ballots, and the so-called “audit” confirmed President Joe Biden’s win in the state and made no concrete findings of wrongdoing by election officials. But for months it served as a marketing tool for politicians who campaigned on unproven accusations that the election was compromised.
Senate Republicans said from the outset that Trump did not push for the audit and did not provide any assistance for it, financial or otherwise.
Former Senate President Karen Fann, a Prescott Republican who hired Cyber Ninjas, repeatedly said the effort was not done to put Trump back in the White House.
“This absolutely has nothing to do with Trump,” Fann wrote in an email to a constituent days after the audit began in 2021. “The election cannot be overturned. This audit is ONLY about election integrity, answering their questions, and hopefully proving there was nothing wrong with the election.”
She reacted with surprise Jan. 19 to the newly released messages when contacted about them by a reporter. When the audit began, she said, she did not know the extent to which Trump allies were involved.
“I did not know,” she said. “Since then I have now connected the dots. … Obviously, in the subsequent months, it was very apparent.”

Trump was watching, chatting with broadcaster

Several references in Logan’s messages indicate people in Trump’s circle were closely watching Maricopa County and reporting back to the former president, who they sometimes referred to as “45.” Trump was the nation’s 45th president.
Logan in the messages discussed Trump’s interest in the work with Bobb, who was given broad access to the election review while working as a personality for the right-wing OAN Network.
Bobb worked in the Trump administration as an appointee in the Department of Homeland Security. She left in early 2020 to join OAN. But after Trump lost the 2020 election, Bobb volunteered to help his legal team challenge the results and was with his team until the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to her testimony to the congressional committee that investigated the attack.
Shortly after Trump’s loss, she helped coordinate a meeting in Arizona at which Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested the election was compromised.
Bobb continued to work as a personality for OAN and began covering the Arizona audit, where she messaged frequently with Logan. She also helped raise money for the audit through her connections to Trump and his organization.
Other media were restricted to a small press box in Veterans Memorial Coliseum — when they could get into the building at all.
Bobb at one point told Logan she would ask the Trump organization for recommendations for a lawyer to help with the audit because Logan didn’t like the lawyer recommended to him at the time.
On June 19, 2021, Logan asked Bobb if Trump would pressure Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward to donate some of the money she was raising off the audit to the actual work, which he said she had not done. Bobb said Trump liked Ward because she was an “outspoken media personality” and was unlikely to push her to fund the audit.
In this series of messages, Doug Logan talks about audit funding with Christina Bobb. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits.

In this series of messages, Doug Logan talks about audit funding with Christina Bobb. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan followed up, asking if Trump could press people to donate to the nonprofits set up to fund the audit.
“I will ask him. He shies away from publicly supporting the audit. I will raise the money issue with him next time we talk,” Bobb responded.
Then on June 25, Bobb discussed funding with Logan, telling him that a wire would come from “Sidney” from Defending the Republic. Trump lawyer Sidney Powell raised money after his loss through a nonprofit by that name.
“I reached out to her and she didn’t take my call. I’ll try again. If she doesn’t answer, I’ll have Trump call,” Bobb wrote to Logan.
Months later, Logan would report that Powell’s group donated $550,000 to his work.
Bobb said in a recent interview with The Republic that she didn’t officially join the Trump team until April 2022. But she did communicate with Trump about the audit.
“I knew that he was very interested in the audit,” she said. “I was never officially communicating anything on behalf of anybody.”
Often, Trump just wanted more detail than what she had shared in her news stories, Bobb said.
She said she never received funding for the audit from Trump or any organization affiliated with him.
“He was not involved in funding. I did ask. It was a no,” she said.

Messages sought updates on counting, funding

In May 2021, as the work passed the one-month mark, Logan messaged with a man named Patrick Weaver who worked on the audit. Weaver was affiliated with The America Project, one of the groups that funded Logan’s work beyond the $150,000 paid by the state.
“Any total count numbers you can give me for Abby to give to Trump?” Weaver wrote to Logan on May 25, 2021. The identity of “Abby” is unclear.
In this message, Patrick Weaver asks Doug Logan for an audit update to provide Donald Trump. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits.

In this message, Patrick Weaver asks Doug Logan for an audit update to provide Donald Trump. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan responded with an update on the counting.
In July, Logan messaged with Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel who worked with President Trump’s chief of staff after his 2020 defeat to concoct ways Trump might stay in office.Waldron said Trump had planned to send $1 million to the audit, but Logan said he had not received it.“Payment – 1 mil – supposedly Kurt talked to trump and they got 1 mil for you,” Waldron wrote to Logan. The identity of “Kurt” is unclear.

Fann unaware of some connections to Trump

Fann acknowledged that Bobb and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani “called several times” before the audit began as part of an effort to call the election into question. But said she did not “know anything else that was going on in the background” of the ballot count.
Arizona needed the audit to assure voters there was no chicanery in the numbers, Fann said.
“My job was to make sure we had an honest election in Arizona,” she said.
She confirmed Trump called her “a couple of times” to discuss the audit as it unfolded. She said she didn’t recall him trying to exert influence over the process, but rather he asked about it.
“He told me, ‘Thank you for doing this,'” she said.
Even as Bobb reported on and raised funds for the election review — and her network was selected to livestream camera footage from the coliseum — Fann said she believed Bobb was acting only in her capacity as a news host, not a Trump surrogate.

‘Is God really going to come through?’

Logan’s lawyer has redacted several messages between him and Bobb sent during this time, despite clear orders from Arizona courts to turn over everything. Still, some of the unredacted messages show Bobb held out her connection to Trump as a way to influence Logan, who was desperate for money.
“Is God really going to come through in funding this thing?” Logan wrote to Bobb on June 26, 2021.
She replied: “I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I know in the end we win. I don’t know how we get there. But yes, in the end it will all workout.”
Logan told her that day he needed about $4.8 million more to complete the audit.
“I’ll raise with 45 again next time we talk,” Bobb replied.
The next day, Bobb messaged Logan asking if the Senate would issue a news release with his preliminary findings. Contractors had finished counting and inspecting ballots at the coliseum a few days before. It would be months before Logan made a final report.
“I’m getting a lot of concerned people calling me saying the audit will lose credibility if there isn’t some type of announcement tomorrow,” she wrote.
In this text message, Christina Bobb asks Doug Logan about a potential announcement about the audit.

In this text message, Christina Bobb asks Doug Logan about a potential announcement about the audit. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan didn’t want to issue preliminary findings. He pushed back.
“That wouldn’t be the case if there wasn’t so much fake news that a number was expected tomorrow,” he told the reporter.
Bobb lashed out.
“I strongly suggest you don’t blame me for fake news,” Bobb wrote. “I STRONGLY suggest that.”
Bobb didn’t pretend to be an independent observer about the ballot review.
“Remember we’re on the same side,” she wrote to Logan. “If you want to fight me, we both will lose.”
Bobb said in an interview Jan. 19 she was pressuring Logan as a reporter, not on behalf of Trump.
“They needed to release the numbers. I remember that,” Bobb said. “I was holding him to the same standard that I was holding the election officials. Why don’t we have a result on election night? My personal opinion is when you are done counting, if you don’t release the numbers that looks sketchy. I’m not accusing anybody of doing anything wrong, but it raises a lot of questions.”
Asked whether she thought Logan did a good job on his final report, she said, “I don’t have a comment on that. I like Doug Logan. I think he’s great.”

 

Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed.

December 22, 2022.

https://www.govinfo.gov/collection/january-6th-committee-final-report?path=/gpo/January%206th%20Committee%20Final%20Report%20and%20Supporting%20Materials%20Collection/Final%20Report/GPO-J6-REPORT

[Excerpt:]

The Select Committee has implicated Meadows, an election denier, as a participant in President Trump’s multi-part plan (1) to corruptly pressure Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes during Congress’s joint session on January 6th; (2) to corrupt the U.S. Department of Justice by attempting to enlist Department officials to make purposely false statements and thereby aid his effort his effort to overturn the Presidential election;  (3) to offer the position of Acting Attorney General to Jeff Clark knowing that Clark intended to disseminate false information aimed at overturning the election; (4) to unlawfully pressure State and legislators to change the results of the election in their States; (5) to obtain and transmit false electoral certificates to Congress and the National Archives; and (6) to pressure Members of Congress to object to valid slates of electors from several states.

Jan. 6 committee refers Trump to Justice Dept. for criminal charges

The decision — an unprecedented move for Congress — came as the panel released a summary of its final report and met publicly for the last time

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/19/trump-referrals-jan-6-committee/

[Excerpt:]

The criminal referrals were a major escalation for a congressional investigation that is the most significant in a generation. The panel named five other Trump allies — Mark Meadows, his final chief of staff, and the lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro — as potential co-conspirators with Mr. Trump in actions the committee said warranted Justice Department investigation. 

 

Mark Meadows Exchanged Texts With 34 Members Of Congress About Plans To Overturn The 2020 Election

The Messages Included Battle Cries, Crackpot Legal Theories, And ‘Invoking Marshall Law!!’
[Excerpts:]

Meadows’ exchanges shed new light on the extent of congressional involvement in Trump’s efforts to spread baseless conspiracy theories about his defeat and his attempts to reverse it. 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.

Meadows’ messages also provide an indication of the support the election objection received from right-wing dark money groups. The text log shows how the Republican efforts to fight the electoral certification at the Capitol became more organized and gained steam in the days after Biden’s victory. On Nov. 9, Edward Corrigan, the president and CEO of the Conservative Partnership Institute, wrote Meadows to say Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) would be holding a meeting about legal strategies with his colleagues at the organization’s Capitol Hill townhouse. 

CPI, which would go on to employ Meadows after Trump left office, is a dark money group that has been described by NPR as “among the most powerful messaging forces in the MAGA universe.” It hosted meetings for the far- right House Freedom Caucus and, according to Meadows’ log, served as something of a headquarters for members of Congress working to overturn the election. Corrigan did not respond to a request for comment.

CPI was not the only conservative dark money group that aided the push to overturn the election. On Dec. 2, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) wrote Meadows and indicated he was participating in Georgia rallies organized by Club For Growth. While those events were focused on that state’s Senate runoff race, Gohmert and Greene reportedly brought up the presidential race in their remarks. In his text to Meadows, Gohmert was hoping for a ride on Air Force One or a White House visit. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/31/us/politics/meadows-jan-6-committee-lawsuit

[Excerpts:]

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit by Mark Meadows, the final chief of staff for President Donald J. Trump, that sought to block two subpoenas from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, including one to Verizon for Mr. Meadows’s phone and text data.

In throwing out the suit, Judge Carl J. Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the committee’s subpoenas were covered under the Constitution’s speech or debate clause, which he said protected them from civil suits as legislative actions.

Mr. Meadows was deeply involved in planning efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election, repeatedly pushing the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories, strategizing with members of Congress and communicating with organizers of the rally on Jan. 6, 2021, that preceded the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

In January, the Supreme Court refused a request from Mr. Trump to block the release of White House records concerning the Jan. 6 attack, effectively rejecting Mr. Trump’s claim of executive privilege and clearing the way for the House committee to start receiving the documents hours later.

Only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented as the justices let stand an appeals court ruling that the need for a full accounting of the attack outweighed Mr. Trump’s desire to maintain the confidentiality of internal White House communications.

Meadows texts reveal direct White House communications with pro-Trump operative behind plans to seize voting machines

WashingtonCNN — 

As allies of then-President Donald Trump made a final push to overturn the election in late-December 2020, one of the key operatives behind the effort briefed then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about his attempts to gain access to voting systems in key battleground states, starting with Arizona and Georgia, according to text messages obtained by CNN.

Phil Waldron, an early proponent of various election-related conspiracy theories, texted Meadows on December 23 that an Arizona judge had dismissed a lawsuit filed by friendly GOP lawmakers there. The suit demanded state election officials hand over voting machines and other election equipment, as part of the hunt for evidence to support Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

In relaying the news to Meadows, Waldron said the decision would allow opponents to engage in “delay tactics” preventing Waldron and his associates from immediately accessing machines. Waldron also characterized Arizona as “our lead domino we were counting on to start the cascade,” referring to similar efforts in other states like Georgia.

“Pathetic,” Meadows responded.

The messages, which have not been previously reported, shed new light on how Waldron’s reach extended into the highest levels of the White House and the extent to which Meadows was kept abreast of plans for accessing voting machines, a topic sources tell CNN, and court documents suggest, is of particular interest to state and federal prosecutors probing efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The messages also provide an early window into how an effort to gain access to voting machines through the courts and state legislatures morphed into a more clandestine endeavor that is now the subject of multiple criminal investigations. Despite attempts to distance himself from the more dubious attempts to keep Trump in office, the messages underscore how Meadows was an active participant, engaging with someone who former White House officials have described as a fringe outsider peddling out.

Waldron, a retired Army colonel with ties to Trump’s one-time national security adviser Michael Flynn, has emerged as a key figure in the broader scheme to overturn the election and was the architect of several extreme proposals for doing so. That includes sending Meadows a PowerPoint presentation outlining a plan for overturning the election, which was later used to brief Republican lawmakers, titled, in part: “Options for 6 Jan.”

Waldron also helped draft language for an executive order directing the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines on behalf of the White House.

Trump never signed the order, siding with White House lawyers who insisted the idea was legally perilous. But there is evidence that his closest allies, including Meadows, continued to entertain similar pitches from Waldron in the lead-up to January 6 as they sought to validate conspiracy theories about foreign election interference.

Criminal prosecutors in Georgia are demanding Waldron and Meadows testify as part of ongoing grand jury investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results there. Waldron is also engaged in a months-long legal fight with the January 6 Committee, which has subpoenaed his cellphone data. Meadows recently complied with a Justice Department subpoena to hand over information pertaining to the 2020 election including these text messages.

Recent subpoenas from the Justice Department related to the same probe indicate investigators are seeking information about claims of election fraud and efforts to persuade government officials to “change or affect” the election results, “or delay certification of the results,” according to one subpoena obtained by CNN, exactly the kinds of activities Waldron is known to have engaged in.

Waldron and his attorneys did not respond to several requests for comment. Meadows’ attorney also did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

‘Chasing election machines for years’

Before he retired from the Army as a colonel in 2017, Waldron specialized in psychological operations and worked alongside Michael Flynn at the Defense Intelligence Agency, according to his military records.

In numerous interviews, people familiar with Waldron’s background tell CNN that for years he has been obsessed with the idea that US voting machines are vulnerable to foreign hacking. “Waldron had been chasing election machines for years,” said one former US official with knowledge of his efforts.

It wasn’t until Trump started falsely claiming that the election had been stolen from him that Waldron had a chance to put his theories to use. Trump’s inner circle was warned by several Republican lawmakers that without evidence of fraud, their plan to subvert the Electoral College would almost certainly fail, text messages obtained by the House Select Committee investigating the US Capitol attack show.

In the days after the election, Waldron quickly emerged as one of the Trump legal team’s favorite “expert witnesses” on election fraud. He was a near constant presence during Giuliani’s road show in the weeks after the election when he and his team of Trump lawyers traveled around the country to convince state officials that the outcome had been tainted by widespread voter fraud.

During one December 2020 hearing in Georgia, Waldron appeared alongside Giuliani and conservative attorney John Eastman, where he pushed unfounded claims about Dominion voting machines and similarly alleged that fraudulent ballots had tainted the election results.

Those familiar with his role in the effort also described Waldron as being in charge of “operational planning” and working directly with Rudy Giuliani on gaining access to voting systems in states where Trump lost.

“Waldron was responsible for planning and overseeing execution” of efforts to access voting systems,” said one of those sources.

That was especially true in Antrim County, Michigan, where Waldron and his team of pro-Trump operatives gained access to voting systems there in late 2020 – producing a since-debunked report based on their findings that Trump repeatedly held-up as proof of election fraud even after it was dismissed by his own top advisers.

The Antrim County breach is now the subject of a criminal investigation by authorities in Michigan. Among those under investigation are Matthew DePerno, the Republican nominee to become Michigan’s attorney general, and a number of people Waldron worked with after the 2020 election, including Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas.

Arizona audit

As Trump’s lawyers worked to enlist sympathetic state and local officials to help keep Trump in office, Waldron often served as a key liaison, according to emails and text messages obtained by the group American Oversight and shared with CNN. That was particularly true in Arizona, where Waldron was in direct communication with a number of GOP state officials and lawmakers about producing evidence of fraud.

In the weeks before his December 23 text to Meadows, Waldron exchanged nearly a dozen emails with state GOP officials in Arizona, discussing various plans for gaining access to voting systems or ballots from certain counties and pitching himself to analyze the election data for evidence of fraud, according to the documents reviewed by CNN.

On December 11, Waldron sent an email to three Arizona state GOP lawmakers who were pushing to overturn the election, suggesting a member of his team could “take a hard drive” to county elections offices, upload relevant voter data and “get the files to us.”

“This would be the fastest and most transparent way to give you the direct evidence you need to either pursue or close the issue,” he wrote, referring to ongoing efforts to upend the election results in Arizona.

“We are happy to consult with you to answer questions or coordinate a ‘way ahead,’” Waldron added.

Two days later, Waldron’s attorney and business associate, Charles Bundren, sent one of those same Arizona lawmakers draft language for subpoenas seeking electronically stored voting information. The document is nearly identical to subpoenas Arizona state Republicans ultimately filed demanding election officials hand over voting machines, emails obtained by the group American Oversight and provided to CNN show.

After an Arizona judge ultimately rejected those subpoenas on December 23, Waldron reached out to Meadows about the decision, according to the newly revealed text messages.

Waldron texted Meadows again on December 28, 2020, suggesting a member of his team had analyzed election data from “several counties” and pointing to two specific examples of what he called the “Southern steal” – an apparent reference to voting irregularities that, he alleged, had changed the election outcome in those localities.

“OK,” Meadows responded, acknowledging Waldron’s message.

Ongoing efforts

It remains unclear if there are additional texts between Waldron and Meadows beyond the messages exchanged on December 23 and December 28, in part because both men have sought to block the January 6 committee from obtaining their cellphone data.

Over the past year, Trump allies have continued to push baseless claims about widespread fraud and sought access to voting systems in various states. Waldron has remained a central figure in that effort.

Emails obtained by CNN connect Waldron directly to the 2021 partisan audit in Maricopa County, Arizona. After his work in Antrim County, Michigan, Waldron pushed GOP state officials in Arizona to hire his team to conduct the audit. But Arizona officials expressed concerns after Waldron’s Antrim County report was thoroughly debunked.

Instead, with Waldron’s endorsement, they hired Cyber Ninjas to conduct the Maricopa audit, which ultimately proved that Biden won the county. Waldron remained heavily involved, emails obtained by CNN show. It’s unclear whether Waldron was paid for his work as Arizona Republicans have fought to keep that information from coming out publicly. Emails have emerged that show contractors connected to Waldron were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by America Voting Rights Foundation, a Trump-affiliated PAC created last summer.

Over the past year, Waldron was also listed as a key participant for a series of “election integrity” planning sessions involving other notable Trump allies like Flynn and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Lindell and another known associate of Waldron, Conan Hayes, are subjects of a separate FBI investigation focused on an election system breach in Colorado.

In April, Waldron sued the House January 6 committee to block their efforts to obtain his cellphone data. Waldron’s own lawyer, Charles Bundren, has taken steps to shield his own communications from the committee.

Court documents show that Bundren stepped aside as Waldron’s primary attorney in the case against the committee last month and joined the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff, arguing the panel is seeking cellphone data that could expose the breadth of his own contacts with others involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Bundren did not respond to several requests for comment.

CNN’s Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meadows texts reveal direct White House communications with pro-Trump operative behind plans to seize voting machines

WashingtonCNN — 

As allies of then-President Donald Trump made a final push to overturn the election in late-December 2020, one of the key operatives behind the effort briefed then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about his attempts to gain access to voting systems in key battleground states, starting with Arizona and Georgia, according to text messages obtained by CNN.

Phil Waldron, an early proponent of various election-related conspiracy theories, texted Meadows on December 23 that an Arizona judge had dismissed a lawsuit filed by friendly GOP lawmakers there. The suit demanded state election officials hand over voting machines and other election equipment, as part of the hunt for evidence to support Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

In relaying the news to Meadows, Waldron said the decision would allow opponents to engage in “delay tactics” preventing Waldron and his associates from immediately accessing machines. Waldron also characterized Arizona as “our lead domino we were counting on to start the cascade,” referring to similar efforts in other states like Georgia.

“Pathetic,” Meadows responded.

The messages, which have not been previously reported, shed new light on how Waldron’s reach extended into the highest levels of the White House and the extent to which Meadows was kept abreast of plans for accessing voting machines, a topic sources tell CNN, and court documents suggest, is of particular interest to state and federal prosecutors probing efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The messages also provide an early window into how an effort to gain access to voting machines through the courts and state legislatures morphed into a more clandestine endeavor that is now the subject of multiple criminal investigations. Despite attempts to distance himself from the more dubious attempts to keep Trump in office, the messages underscore how Meadows was an active participant, engaging with someone who former White House officials have described as a fringe outsider peddling outlandish ideas.

Waldron, a retired Army colonel with ties to Trump’s one-time national security adviser Michael Flynn, has emerged as a key figure in the broader scheme to overturn the election and was the architect of several extreme proposals for doing so. That includes sending Meadows a PowerPoint presentation outlining a plan for overturning the election, which was later used to brief Republican lawmakers, titled, in part: “Options for 6 Jan.”

Waldron also helped draft language for an executive order directing the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines on behalf of the White House.

Trump never signed the order, siding with White House lawyers who insisted the idea was legally perilous. But there is evidence that his closest allies, including Meadows, continued to entertain similar pitches from Waldron in the lead-up to January 6 as they sought to validate conspiracy theories about foreign election interference.

Criminal prosecutors in Georgia are demanding Waldron and Meadows testify as part of ongoing grand jury investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results there. Waldron is also engaged in a months-long legal fight with the January 6 Committee, which has subpoenaed his cellphone data. Meadows recently complied with a Justice Department subpoena to hand over information pertaining to the 2020 election including these text messages.

Recent subpoenas from the Justice Department related to the same probe indicate investigators are seeking information about claims of election fraud and efforts to persuade government officials to “change or affect” the election results, “or delay certification of the results,” according to one subpoena obtained by CNN, exactly the kinds of activities Waldron is known to have engaged in.

Waldron and his attorneys did not respond to several requests for comment. Meadows’ attorney also did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

‘Chasing election machines for years’

Before he retired from the Army as a colonel in 2017, Waldron specialized in psychological operations and worked alongside Michael Flynn at the Defense Intelligence Agency, according to his military records.

In numerous interviews, people familiar with Waldron’s background tell CNN that for years he has been obsessed with the idea that US voting machines are vulnerable to foreign hacking. “Waldron had been chasing election machines for years,” said one former US official with knowledge of his efforts.

It wasn’t until Trump started falsely claiming that the election had been stolen from him that Waldron had a chance to put his theories to use. Trump’s inner circle was warned by several Republican lawmakers that without evidence of fraud, their plan to subvert the Electoral College would almost certainly fail, text messages obtained by the House Select Committee investigating the US Capitol attack show.

In the days after the election, Waldron quickly emerged as one of the Trump legal team’s favorite “expert witnesses” on election fraud. He was a near constant presence during Giuliani’s road show in the weeks after the election when he and his team of Trump lawyers traveled around the country to convince state officials that the outcome had been tainted by widespread voter fraud.

During one December 2020 hearing in Georgia, Waldron appeared alongside Giuliani and conservative attorney John Eastman, where he pushed unfounded claims about Dominion voting machines and similarly alleged that fraudulent ballots had tainted the election results.

Those familiar with his role in the effort also described Waldron as being in charge of “operational planning” and working directly with Rudy Giuliani on gaining access to voting systems in states where Trump lost.

“Waldron was responsible for planning and overseeing execution” of efforts to access voting systems,” said one of those sources.

That was especially true in Antrim County, Michigan, where Waldron and his team of pro-Trump operatives gained access to voting systems there in late 2020 – producing a since-debunked report based on their findings that Trump repeatedly held-up as proof of election fraud even after it was dismissed by his own top advisers.

The Antrim County breach is now the subject of a criminal investigation by authorities in Michigan. Among those under investigation are Matthew DePerno, the Republican nominee to become Michigan’s attorney general, and a number of people Waldron worked with after the 2020 election, including Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas.

Arizona audit

As Trump’s lawyers worked to enlist sympathetic state and local officials to help keep Trump in office, Waldron often served as a key liaison, according to emails and text messages obtained by the group American Oversight and shared with CNN. That was particularly true in Arizona, where Waldron was in direct communication with a number of GOP state officials and lawmakers about producing evidence of fraud.

In the weeks before his December 23 text to Meadows, Waldron exchanged nearly a dozen emails with state GOP officials in Arizona, discussing various plans for gaining access to voting systems or ballots from certain counties and pitching himself to analyze the election data for evidence of fraud, according to the documents reviewed by CNN.

On December 11, Waldron sent an email to three Arizona state GOP lawmakers who were pushing to overturn the election, suggesting a member of his team could “take a hard drive” to county elections offices, upload relevant voter data and “get the files to us.”

“This would be the fastest and most transparent way to give you the direct evidence you need to either pursue or close the issue,” he wrote, referring to ongoing efforts to upend the election results in Arizona.

“We are happy to consult with you to answer questions or coordinate a ‘way ahead,’” Waldron added.

Two days later, Waldron’s attorney and business associate, Charles Bundren, sent one of those same Arizona lawmakers draft language for subpoenas seeking electronically stored voting information. The document is nearly identical to subpoenas Arizona state Republicans ultimately filed demanding election officials hand over voting machines, emails obtained by the group American Oversight and provided to CNN show.

After an Arizona judge ultimately rejected those subpoenas on December 23, Waldron reached out to Meadows about the decision, according to the newly revealed text messages.

Waldron texted Meadows again on December 28, 2020, suggesting a member of his team had analyzed election data from “several counties” and pointing to two specific examples of what he called the “Southern steal” – an apparent reference to voting irregularities that, he alleged, had changed the election outcome in those localities.

“OK,” Meadows responded, acknowledging Waldron’s message.

Ongoing efforts

It remains unclear if there are additional texts between Waldron and Meadows beyond the messages exchanged on December 23 and December 28, in part because both men have sought to block the January 6 committee from obtaining their cellphone data.

Over the past year, Trump allies have continued to push baseless claims about widespread fraud and sought access to voting systems in various states. Waldron has remained a central figure in that effort.

Emails obtained by CNN connect Waldron directly to the 2021 partisan audit in Maricopa County, Arizona. After his work in Antrim County, Michigan, Waldron pushed GOP state officials in Arizona to hire his team to conduct the audit. But Arizona officials expressed concerns after Waldron’s Antrim County report was thoroughly debunked.

Instead, with Waldron’s endorsement, they hired Cyber Ninjas to conduct the Maricopa audit, which ultimately proved that Biden won the county. Waldron remained heavily involved, emails obtained by CNN show. It’s unclear whether Waldron was paid for his work as Arizona Republicans have fought to keep that information from coming out publicly. Emails have emerged that show contractors connected to Waldron were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by America Voting Rights Foundation, a Trump-affiliated PAC created last summer.

Over the past year, Waldron was also listed as a key participant for a series of “election integrity” planning sessions involving other notable Trump allies like Flynn and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Lindell and another known associate of Waldron, Conan Hayes, are subjects of a separate FBI investigation focused on an election system breach in Colorado.

In April, Waldron sued the House January 6 committee to block their efforts to obtain his cellphone data. Waldron’s own lawyer, Charles Bundren, has taken steps to shield his own communications from the committee.

Court documents show that Bundren stepped aside as Waldron’s primary attorney in the case against the committee last month and joined the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff, arguing the panel is seeking cellphone data that could expose the breadth of his own contacts with others involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Bundren did not respond to several requests for comment.

CNN’s Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

 

Letters from an American, 

[Excerpt:]

This afternoon, Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) said the FBI has confiscated his phone after presenting him with a search warrant.

Perry was deeply involved in the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He connected former president Trump with Jeffrey Clark, the environmental lawyer for the Department of Justice (DOJ) who supported Trump’s claims and who would have become acting attorney general if the leadership of the DOJ hadn’t threatened to resign as a group if Trump appointed him.

Cassidy Hutchinson, former top aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol that Meadows burned papers after a meeting with Perry.

The DOJ searched Clark’s home in June. On the same day, it seized the phone of John Eastman, the author of the memo laying out a plan for then–vice president Mike Pence to refuse to count presidential electors for Democratic candidate Joe Biden and thus throw the election to Trump.

Eastman sued to get his phone back and to force the government to destroy any information agents had taken from it; the Department of Justice says the phone was obtained legally and that purging it would be “unprecedented” and “would cause substantial detriment to the investigation, as well as seriously impede any grand jury’s use of the seized material in a future charging decision.” A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for early September.

 

The insurrectionists’ clubhouse: Former Trump aides find a home at a little-known MAGA hub

Nearly two dozen alleged members of the Jan. 6 plot are connected to a single Capitol Hill address.

https://www.grid.news/story/politics/2022/07/05/the-insurrectionists-clubhouse-former-trump-aides-find-a-home-at-a-little-known-maga-hub/

[Excerpts:]

The network has broad reach and keeps an eye on future elections: CPI helped found and support the election monitoring nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell, along with roughly a dozen other dark money and advocacy groups, virtually all of which share the address of the CPI town house on official reporting. Mitchell did not respond to inquiries from Grid for this story.

Several of the figures of greatest interest to the Jan. 6 committee are now employed by CPI or its subsidiary groups, including:

  • Mark Meadows: Meadows, Trump’s fourth chief of staff, was allegedly a key enabler of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He promoted false fraud claims and was a point of contact for election-denying members of Congress, Giuliani and other key operatives. Meadows participated in pivotal meetings and conversations with state and federal officials, according to reports and the Jan. 6 committee. Meadows joined CPI as senior partner just three weeks after Jan. 6.
  • Freedom Caucus

    CPI has forged close ties to the Freedom Caucus, the far-right group of Republican House lawmakers co-founded by Meadows that was deeply involved in the events leading up to Jan. 6, according to reports and sworn testimony.

    In addition to holding meetings and recording podcasts at CPI, the group runs its PAC from its offices, documents show, and some members pay dues to the organization. CPI has spent tens of thousands of dollars taking Freedom Caucus lawmakers and their aides on trips. In February 2021, just weeks after the failed insurrection, CPI flew three dozen Freedom Caucus members to Florida for an unpublicized retreat at Miami’s Biltmore Hotel, according to congressional disclosures.

    According to testimony from Hutchinson, Meadows’ former aide, Freedom Caucus members met with Trump prior to Jan. 6 to press their belief that Vice President Mike Pence could delay the vote certification or send the matter back to individual states.

    “We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long,” Freedom Caucus member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia texted Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020. “We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state. I’ll be over at CPI this afternoon.”

    “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,” Jordan texted Meadows late on Jan. 5, messages Meadows later handed over to the committee showed.

    Four out of five Freedom Caucus members voted against certifying the 2020 election results. Several Freedom Caucus members sought pardons for their involvement in the election subversion effort, the committee has alleged. Some have denied doing so. At least four Freedom Caucus members have been subpoenaed by the committee.

    • Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania allegedly connected Trump with little-known DOJ lawyer Clark and participated in planning meetings with Trump prior to Jan. 6;
    • Founding Freedom Caucus member and former chair Rep. Jim Jordan was being contacted by Meadows from the White House on Jan. 6, according to testimony;
    • Former caucus chair Rep. Andy Biggs allegedly helped organize the rally that segued into the storming of the Capitol, and pressured Rusty Bowers, the Arizona House speaker, to decertify electors;
    • Rep. Matt Gaetz, a close associate of the Freedom Caucus, but not an official member, has been one of the former president’s most vocal supporters and has spread conspiracy theories about the “feds” being behind the Capitol riot. According to testimony, Gaetz was one of several members of Congress who requested broad pardons from Trump. Gaetz was a speaker at CPI’s 2022 leadership conference and records his podcast at CPI’s studios;
    • Jan. 6 committee testimony revealed that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene asked Trump for a pardon, but she denies this. She faced a lawsuit in her home state of Georgia where she was forced to testify on her involvement in the effort to overturn the election. She often said she couldn’t recall key moments and meetings. In its 2021 annual report, CPI listed Greene as a “Hero of 2021,” and she spoke at the organization’s 2022 leadership conference.

    Neither Perry, Jordan, Biggs, Gaetz nor Greene responded to requests for comment for this story.

These organizations employ or assist at least 20 key operatives, reportedly involved in Trump’s failed effort to subvert the 2020 election, including Mitchell, ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was the subject of both a recent Jan. 6 hearing and an FBI raid. And they help raise millions for Trump-aligned members of Congress — more than $38 million over the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

“They’re frauds,” said one longtime Republican strategist who has worked for major campaigns and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person’s job could be at risk for speaking negatively. “They claim to be fiscal conservatives, but they’ve made a living off of generating conservative outrage in order to raise money for themselves.”

CPI and its affiliates are more than just a safe harbor: The network and its employees are a continued source of false vote fraud allegations, and produce and amplify defensive messaging in conservative circles responding to the major revelations of the Jan. 6 hearings.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

June 29, 2022

That seems to be a question a lot of people, including those on the right, are asking after hearing yesterday’s testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

In the National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy called Hutchinson’s testimony “devastating” and said, “Things will not be the same after this.” In an editorial, the Washington Examiner wrote, “Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s Tuesday testimony ought to ring the death knell for former President Donald Trump’s political career. Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again…. Trump is a disgrace.” In The Dispatch, David French reviewed Hutchinson’s testimony and concluded that “the case for prosecuting Donald Trump just got much stronger.”

At the Reagan Presidential Library tonight, Cheney warned: “[W]e are confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before—and that is a former president who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic, and he is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.”

“Donald Trump attempted to overturn the presidential election. He attempted to stay in office and to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power. He summoned a mob to Washington, He knew they were armed on January 6th. He knew they were angry. And he directed the violent mob to march on the Capitol in order to delay or prevent completely the counting of electoral votes. He attempted to go there with them. And when the violence was underway, he refused to take action to tell the rioters to leave. Instead, he incited further violence by tweeting that the vice president, Mike Pence, was a coward. He said ‘Mike deserves it,’ and he didn’t want to do anything in response to the ‘Hang Mike Pence’ chants. It’s undeniable. It’s also painful for Republicans to accept.”

She concluded: “The reality that we face today as Republicans, as we think about the choice in front of us, we have to choose because Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution.”

The audience broke out in applause.

Trump’s legal exposure may be growing – and 4 other takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing

Meadows was told of intelligence ahead of Jan. 6 that the day could get very violent. He shared that with Trump. But Meadows rarely had any reaction or seemed surprised at all and was equally unperturbed by the violence on the day of the insurrection, according to Hutchinson.

— Meadows also participated, by phone — though he wanted to go in person — for a briefing with Roger Stone and retired Gen. Michael Flynn in the “War Room” they had set up on Jan. 5 in the Willard Hotel.

Stone and Flynn were intimately involved in the “Stop the Steal” movement. There are pictures of Stone with white supremacist militia functioning as his bodyguards on Jan. 6.

Flynn has been linked to the QAnon conspiracy and pleaded the Fifth, the right not to incriminate yourself, on multiple occasions before the Jan. 6 committee, including when asked simply if he believed in the peaceful transfer of power in the United States.

— Trump knew of violent people in the crowd, knew they were armed, didn’t want their weapons taken away and didn’t feel threatened.

“I don’t care that they effing have weapons,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson. “They’re not here to hurt me. Let them in, take the mags away.” Trump noted they could march to the Capitol afterward.

Instead, he was more concerned that the crowd wouldn’t look as big as he wanted it to in pictures and was firing them up, encouraging them to go to the Capitol after his speech.

— Trump resisted calls to tamp down the violence, and Hutchinson quotes Meadows saying Trump thought Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged.

Without Mark Meadows, January 6th Might Never Have Happened

Trump’s fourth and final White House chief of staff served as the “matador” for the former President’s election lies.
[Excerpt:]

There is little doubt that the situation in the White House after the 2020 election would have been different had John Kelly still been chief of staff, instead of Mark Meadows. Kelly might not have been able to persuade Trump to concede, or stop Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, John Eastman, and the MyPillow guy from getting into the Oval Office and feeding Trump wild lies about crooked voting machines and foreign intrigues while urging the imposition of martial law—but it’s hard not to think that Kelly would have thrown his body on the grenade in trying.

Not Meadows the Matador. In December of 2020, he e-mailed an “Italygate” conspiracy theory to the Justice Department, suggesting an investigation. The acting Deputy Attorney General called the bizarre claim—that an Italian defense company and an officer at the U.S. Embassy in Rome used satellites to help Biden steal the election—“pure insanity.” Meadows even flew to Georgia and met personally with the Deputy Secretary of State, in a bid to flip the state’s results. This was not, needless to say, the action of a responsible White House chief of staff. The evidence that Meadows himself provided to the January 6th committee shows that he was focussed on sending fake electors to Congress as early as November 7th, not long after Trump falsely claimed, “Frankly, we did win this election,” and set the whole tragic farce in motion.<

Inside Mark Meadows’s final push to keep Trump in power

The former congressman played a key role in Trump’s effort to overturn the election, according to his texts, congressional investigations and interviews

[Excerpt:]
A review of Meadows’s actions in that period by The Washington Post — based on interviews, depositions, text messages, emails, congressional documents, recently published memoirs by key players and other material — shows how Meadows played a pivotal role in advancing Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. In doing so, Meadows “repeatedly violated” legal guidance against trying to influence the Justice Department, according to a majority staff report of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Meadows granted those peddling theories about a stolen election direct access to the Oval Office and personally connected some with the president, according to congressional reports and interviews with former White House officials. He pressed the Justice Department to investigate spurious and debunked claims, including a bizarre theory that an Italian operation changed votes in the United States — an allegation a top Justice official called “pure insanity,” according to email correspondence released by congressional investigators. He also pushed the Justice Department, unsuccessfully, to try to invalidate the election results in six states through federal court action.

Now Meadows’s actions are at the center of probes by both the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack and the Justice Department, which is examining whether to press contempt-of-Congress charges against him and is conducting its own inquiry into the events surrounding the insurrection. North Carolina officials, meanwhile, are looking into whether Meadows himself potentially committed voter fraud by registering to vote in 2020 at a mobile home he reportedly never stayed in.

 

New details show extent of GOP effort to unwind Trump’s loss

Documents and texts stemming from the House investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, offer new details about the extent House Republicans, particularly members of the Freedom Caucus, were involved in plans to unwind the 2020 election — even as lawyers at the White House warned them their proposals could be illegal.

The content — released in the committee’s court battle against Mark Meadows and in a trove of texts to the former chief of staff obtained by CNN — outlines a lengthy list of Republicans involved in conversations with the White House about planning for the rallies on Jan. 6 and efforts to oppose the certification of votes that day.

Taken together, the messages show how early the White House reached out to lawmakers in its effort to keep former President Trump in office.

They also show a consistent effort by various members to strategize over how to keep Trump in office after his election loss.

That effort ranged from selecting alternate slates of electors from swing states ahead of the Electoral College vote to directing the crowd to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 rallies to discussing the possibility that Trump declare martial law days before he was set to leave office. 

Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and Meadows, relays that Meadows, a former Freedom Caucus chairman, was the one to make “outreach” to members of the conservative caucus, including then-Rep-elects. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Hutchinson identified those four as being involved in the earliest stages of efforts to unwind the election.

Texts to Meadows as early as three days after Election Day 2020 show lawmakers rallying around the idea of alternate electors.

“I’m sure you have heard of this proposal,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) texted to Meadows on Nov. 6. “Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?”

As early as the first or second week of December, the White House’s own counsel was pushing back against the idea.

“Hey, this isn’t legally sound, we have fleshed this out internally, it’s fine that you think this but we’re not going to entertain this in an official White House capacity on behalf of the President, we’re putting a stop to this,” Hutchinson characterized the White House Counsel’s Office as saying.

That message was relayed to at least Perry, Jordan, and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), according to Hutchinson.

By Dec. 21, a larger group was meeting at the White House with Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani, where the focus had shifted to the ways former Vice President Mike Pence could buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results.

That group attending that meeting included Jordan, Brooks, Biggs, Gaetz, Greene, Gohmert, Perry, and Reps. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Hutchinson said.

“They felt that he had the authority to — pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but — send votes back to the States or the electors back to the States, more along the lines of the Eastman theory,” Hutchinson said, referring to John Eastman, who crafted two memos for the Trump campaign outlining how to challenge the election.

“I don’t recall anybody speaking out and definitively expressing disagreement with that theory,” she said of the lawmakers, adding that “the vice president’s team appeared slightly skeptical.” 

Later that day, Brooks suggested to Meadows they try to frame the meeting as being both positive and productive after being contacted by reporters.

“Media is contacting my office about this afternoon’s White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies,” Brooks wrote to Meadows. “Does the White House want me to reply or be mum? Also, it is one thing to discuss (in general terms) our meeting beforehand. It is another to discuss afterwards.

“If you believe discussion is a positive, I suggest message should be: 1. Progress is being made. 2. More are joining our fight. 3. We can’t allow voter fraud & election theft occur if we are going to be a republic. Your choice. Let me know,” he concluded.

About a week after the meeting, Greene complained to Meadows they didn’t get enough time to chat with Giuliani about the strategy.

“We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state,” she texted Meadows on New Year’s Eve.

While lawmakers were coordinating with the legal team through the White House, Perry was involved with Trump’s pressure campaign at the Department of Justice (DOJ), texting Meadows on both Dec. 26 and Dec. 28 to encourage him to make contact with Jeffrey Clark. Trump would later weigh installing Clark, a mid-level DOJ official who primarily worked on environmental issues, as acting attorney general in order to forward investigations into his baseless election fraud claims.

But new testimony released by the committee shows DOJ staff pushed back as Clark tried to get a memo directly to Pence to encourage him to not certify the election results on Jan. 6.

“Mr. Clark suggested that OLC provide a legal opinion to the Vice President with respect to his authority when it comes to opening the votes as the President of the Senate on Jan. 6,” Steven Engel, who served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ under Trump, told the committee.

“And I shot down that idea, but I said — I said: That’s an absurd idea. The — you know, the Vice President is acting as the President of the Senate. It is not the role of the Department of Justice to provide legislative officials with legal advice on the scope of their duties. And — you know, and — not to mention it was 3 days from the date. OLC doesn’t tend to provide the legal opinions, you know, in those cases, you know, in that short timeframe,” he added.

As Jan. 6 neared, lawmakers were once again coordinating with the White House about preparations for the day, including a discussion over whether to actively encourage rallygoers to march to the Capitol.

“I remember Mr. Perry had said that he had been starting to put tweets that night, Congressman Perry, that he was going to start putting out tweets that night, and he was a primary participant in the call,” Hutchinson said.

“I don’t think there’s a participant on the call that had necessarily discouraged the idea,” she added. “I don’t recall every single participant on the call that night, but I do recall it was a Freedom Caucus call.”

Gaetz would also go on to advertise on Jan. 5 during an appearance on Fox News that there could be “tens of thousands of people potentially marching in the streets in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.”

The same two troves show many GOP lawmakers would text Meadows as the chaos was unfolding at the Capitol, with some pleading for the chief of staff to get Trump to take action.

And other prior reporting shows that some Republicans who were initially involved eventually backed away from White House efforts amid their own doubts.

Still, another text from Greene just days before President Biden’s inauguration shows Greene — and evidently other members — were hopeful Trump might still try to resist any effort to swear in a new president and provide lawmakers tools to go after the new president.

 “In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him,” she texted Meadows on Jan. 17.

“They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!” she added.

Mark Meadows was simultaneously registered to vote in three states

[Excerpt:]

Now it turns out that until last week, Meadows was simultaneously registered to vote in three different states — North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina — according to state records obtained by The Fact Checker.

The overlap lasted about three weeks, and it might have continued if revelations about Meadows’s voting record had not attracted scrutiny in North Carolina. Meadows is still registered in Virginia and South Carolina.

This is the latest in a series of revelations about election-related behavior by Meadows that appear to contradict his and his party’s rhetoric on election integrity.

Meadows, in fact, was the keynote speaker at a CPI Election Integrity Summit in Atlanta on Feb. 19. “What you’re doing is investing in the future of our country and making sure only legal votes count,” Meadows told attendees. He said he had just gotten off the phone with Trump, who he said had told him: “We cannot give up on election integrity.”

 

Mark Meadows removed from North Carolina voter rolls

[Excerpt:]

Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been removed from North Carolina’s voter rolls, according to the State Board of Elections.

Meadows is also being investigated for allegations of voter fraud, the State Bureau of Investigation said.

The decision to remove the former North Carolina congressman and Trump adviser from the state’s voter rolls came after it was revealed that Meadows was registered to vote in September 2020 at a mobile home in Scaly Mountain, N.C., despite not residing there.

 

Trump enablers have paid the price – Meadow’s sad story follows:

 

  • Trump has been searching for ways to head off the certification of Biden’s victory by the U.S. Congress on Jan. 6. The win has already been certified by the Electoral College and Biden is getting ready to take office on Jan. 20.

 

  • But Meadows tweeted: “Several members of Congress just finished a meeting in the Oval Office with President @realDonaldTrump, preparing to fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud. Stay tuned.”  Reuters.comDec. 21, 2020

 

  • Mark Meadows could face criminal exposure for his role in Trump’s Georgia phone call pressuring election officials to find 11,000 more votes.  salon.com, Jan. 13, 2021

 

  • Prosecutors in Fulton County have initiated a criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results, including a phone call he made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Mr. Trump pressured him to “find” enough votes to help him reverse his loss.  nytimes.com, Feb. 10, 2021

 

  • Today, Katie Benner of the New York Times broke the story that former president Trump tried to use the Department of Justice to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Five emails provided to Congress show Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, asking the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, in December, to investigate rumors of voter fraud. One of the fantastical stories Meadows wanted investigated was the story that “people in Italy had used military technology and satellites to remotely tamper with voting machines in the United States and switch votes for Mr. Trump to votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr.” “Letters from an American” https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com June 5, 2021

 

House panel investigating Jan. 6 attack seeks records from agencies on insurrection, Trump in first request for information

By  John Wagner

August 25, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/january-6-committee-trump/2021/08/25/cd356794-059a-11ec-a654-900a78538242_story.html

 [Excerpt:]

 The committee, for example, is asking the National Archives to turn over all White House documents provided to Trump and his then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, that refer to “a stolen election, stealing the election, or a ‘rigged’ election.”

 

“Letters from an American”, Heather Cox Richardson

October 27, 2021

heathercoxrichardson@substack.com

This morning, the Democratic majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee released a draft report of its investigation into Trump’s attempt to use the Department of Justice to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The report found that Trump repeatedly tried to get the DOJ to endorse his false claims that the election was stolen and to overturn its results, singling out nine specific attempts to change the outcome. Trump, the report says, “grossly abused the power of the presidency.”

The report points to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows as a key player in the attempt to subvert the DOJ, and it singles out a number of other officials as participants in the pressure campaign. Those people include Jeffrey Bossert Clark from within the DOJ, whom Trump tried to install as acting attorney general to push his demands; Representative Scott Perry (R-PA); Doug Mastriano, a Republican state senator from Pennsylvania; and Cleta Mitchell, a legal adviser to the Trump campaign. The draft report also notes that under Attorney General William Barr, the DOJ “deviated from longstanding practice” when it began to investigate allegations of fraud before the votes were certified.

The report concludes that the efforts to subvert the DOJ were part of Trump’s attempt “to retain the presidency by any means necessary,” a process that “without a doubt” “created the disinformation ecosystem necessary for Trump to incite almost 1000 Americans to breach the Capitol in a violent attempt to subvert democracy by stopping the certification of a free and fair election.” 

Today was also the deadline for four of Trump’s closest allies to turn over documents to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol and to schedule testimony. Former chief of staff Mark Meadows, social media manager Dan Scavino, adviser Steve Bannon, and former Defense Department official Kash Patel have until midnight tonight to contact the committee.

Trump’s lawyers wrote a letter telling the four men not to cooperate with the congressional subpoena. The letter claims that Trump is planning to contest the subpoenas on the basis of executive privilege. 

[Boldface added.]

 

‘Italygate’ election conspiracy theory was pushed by two firms led by woman who also falsely claimed $30 million mansion was hers

By Jon Swaine and Emma Brown

June 19, 2021 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/italygate-michele-edwards-meadows-trump/2021/06/19/2f6314d2-d05f-11eb-8014-2f3926ca24d9_story.html

Late last December, as President Donald Trump pressed senior officials to find proof of election fraud, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows emailed acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen a letter detailing an outlandish theory of how an Italian defense contractor had conspired with U.S. intelligence to rig the 2020 presidential contest. [Boldface added]

The letter, which was among records released by Congress this past week, was printed under the letterhead of USAerospace Partners, a little-known Virginia aviation company. In early January, a second Virginia firm, the Institute for Good Governance, and a partner organization released a statement from an Italian attorney who claimed that a hacker had admitted involvement in the supposed conspiracy.

According to the conspiracy theory known as “Italygate,” people working for the Italian defense contractor, in coordination with senior CIA officials, used military satellites to switch votes from Trump to Joe Biden and swing the result of the election. [Boldface added]

Read More

Though her name was not mentioned in either document, both Virginia organizations are led by Michele Roosevelt Edwards, according to state corporate filings reviewed by The Washington Post. Edwards is a former Republican congressional candidate who built a reputation as an advocate for the Somali people and as someone who could negotiate with warlords and pirates in the war-torn region.

Edwards was formerly known as Michele Ballarin but changed her name last year, court records show. In 2013, The Post’s magazineexplored how Edwards, once a struggling single mom, had reinvented herself as a business executive and then as a well-connected horse-country socialite who cultivated ties with senior Somali officials.

The Institute for Good Governance’s registered headquarters since late last year has been the historical North Wales Farm, a 22-bedroom mansion in Warrenton, Va., state records show. The property is listed for sale at just under $30 million.

On the day after the 2020 election, Edwards sat for an interview at North Wales with a television crew from Iceland, where she has business interests. Edwards told the crew that the estate was her property, according to their footage. “This is my bedroom,” she said, showing the crew around. “This is very private space.”

She was pressed on the lack of personal items in the house.

“So this is where you live?” she was asked.

“Yes.”

“This is your property?”

“Yes.”

When the interviewer noted that website listings showed the property for sale, Edwards said it was a “recent acquisition for us.” She said it was not for sale.

But North Wales was then — and is now — owned by a company formed by David B. Ford, a retired financier who died in September. Ford’s widow said in an interview that she did not know Edwards. The Post showed her the footage of Edwards inside the property.

“She’s in my house,” the widow said. “How is she in my house?”

The North Wales mansion was for sale at the time, and Edwards was a licensed Realtor in the area, according to the firm’s website. Hers was not the firm Ford’s widow had hired to sell the property.

Edwards declined to comment. “I am not giving media interviews at this time,” she said in a text message.

Michele Roosevelt Edwards gives Iceland interviewer a tour of home she calls hers

In November 2020, businesswoman Michele Roosevelt Edwards gave a television crew from Iceland a tour of what she claimed was her home in Warrenton, Va. (RÚV “Kveikur”)

The discovery of the role Edwards’s two firms had in spreading the Italygate conspiracy theory, as well as the roles others played, sheds new light on its origins and on how the claims made their way from feverish online speculation to some of the most powerful figures in the government. As Trump refused to concede defeat, his die-hard supporters pushed the conspiracy theory on social media and other channels as part of an effort to discredit Biden’s presidency that continues today.

Prosecutors in Rome told The Post that they are now investigating whether false claims were made against the Italian defense contractor. The prosecutor’s office said it was examining “various subjects, both Italian and non-Italian.” A conservative Italian news site owned by a politician who has written about Italygate reported this month that the politician and Edwards are among those under investigation.

Italygate appears to be partly rooted in a news article published on Dec. 1 by the Italian newspaper La Verità. In the article, Daniele Capezzone, a reporter and TV commentator described as “the Sean Hannity of the Italian press” by some Italygate proponents, wrote that Trump’s team was investigating whether an official in the U.S. Embassy in Rome conspired with an unnamed Italian defense contractor to manipulate the U.S. election.

Bradley Johnson, a Virginia-based commentator on intelligence matters who says he is a retired senior CIA officer, then advanced a version of the theory in a video interview recorded on Dec. 5 and later posted online. Johnson identified the defense contractor involved as Leonardo, an Italian firm that was coincidentally in the news that day  because two men had been arrested in an unrelated hacking case involving the company.

Leonardo did not respond to questions from The Post.

Johnson cited Capezzone as his source. But Capezzone told The Post in an email that he did not identify Leonardo as the contractor in his reporting, and said that Johnson had not contacted him.

Johnson did not respond to phone calls, messages sent via LinkedIn and the website of his nonprofit, Americans for Intelligence Reform, or to a letter left at the nonprofit’s office in Manassas, Va.

In the wake of Johnson’s video, Italygate began to gather momentum. Maria Strollo Zack, a Republican operative from Georgia who has embraced the conspiracy theory, told The Post that she has been in contact with Johnson about it.

Zack, 57, has said in interviews with right-wing media outlets that she told Trump about the conspiracy theory on Christmas Eve at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla.

Zack, who formed a super PAC that backed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the 2016 presidential campaign, said on a conference call with supporters that Trump’s second wife, Marla Maples, and their daughter, Tiffany, helped Zack and her husband obtain invitations to the club. A woman who identified herself as Maples was on the call.

Representatives for Maples and Tiffany Trump did not respond to questions. Zack told The Post that she had a “personal friendship” with them.

In Zack’s telling, Trump wished her a Merry Christmas, and she used that opening to pass him a written note about Italy and the promise of a whistleblower who knew of the scheme to flip votes. “We know the guy who did it and how he did it,” she said she told Trump, according to an interview on a talk show broadcast by the Reno, Nev.-based outlet America Matters Media.

On Christmas Eve, Zack’s husband posted a photograph of Trump to Facebook that he indicated was taken at Mar-a-Lago, but The Post was unable to confirm Zack’s version of events there. Zack claimed in a second media interview that Rudolph W. Giuliani, then Trump’s personal attorney, called her the following morning to set up a meeting to discuss her claims.

A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to a request for comment. Messages left for Giuliani’s attorneys seeking comment were not returned.

On Dec. 29, Meadows sent Rosen the letter from Edwards’s company, USAerospace Partners. The letter was written in Italian and signed by Carlo Goria, who was identified in past news releases as a company contact. USAerospace said last year that it was interested in buying the troubled Italian airline Alitalia, and suggested it would “make Alitalia great again.”  [Boldface added]

Goria did not respond to messages. In a story published Saturday, Talking Points Memo reported that, in a brief interview, Edwards denied any knowledge of the letter.

Several current and former Trump advisers said they were shocked that Meadows would pass along such a fantastical conspiracy theory, but one former senior administration official said Meadows “bought into some of the more bizarre claims and would push them to the president as well.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. [Boldface added]

It was not clear from the emails released by Congress how Meadows obtained the USAerospace letter. A spokesman for Meadows declined to comment.

On New Year’s Day, Meadows sent Rosen a link to a video of Johnson, who has said he served as a CIA station chief, discussing Italygate. On Jan. 4, Zack held the conference call with supporters, the audio of which was posted online. Zack told The Post that the call was with volunteers for her Florida-based nonprofit, Nations in Action.

On the call, Zack claimed that she had also supplied documents to senior White House adviser Peter Navarro. In an email to The Post, Navarro said this was “not accurate.”

On Jan. 6, Zack’s nonprofit released a statement claiming that it had conducted an election-fraud investigation with the Institute for Good Governance — Edwards’s Virginia-based group — and that their efforts had “yielded the long awaited proof that a flawless plot to take down America was executed with extraordinary resources and global involvement.”

Edwards, 65, has charted a colorful path in and around Washington. She has founded several businesses in fields including security, investment management and aviation.

After she married Edward Golden, a real estate executive, and had a son, Edwards ran for Congress as a Republican in West Virginia in 1986 but lost in the general election.

After that marriage ended, she married Iginio Ballarin, a New York restaurant maitre d’, with whom she owns a farmhouse in Markham, Va. Edwards is registered to vote as a Republican at a condominium in Palm Beach, Fla., state records show.

Because of her efforts to bring stability to Somalia, beginning nearly two decades ago, Somalis came to refer to her as Amira, which means “princess” in Arabic, The Post’s magazine story reported. In 2009, the Somali president named her “presidential advisor for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.” She claimed to have played pivotal roles in securing the release of hostages.

Yet a diplomatic cable released as part of a trove posted online by WikiLeaks revealed that, in 2009, Ukraine’s foreign minister had complained to U.S. officials that Edwards was hindering efforts to negotiate with Somali pirates who had captured a ship and its crew. One retired naval intelligence officer who partnered with Edwards during the 2008 to 2010 period was quoted in The Post story as saying: “The problem with Michele is separating fact from fiction. What is real, and what is made up?”

In September 2019, Edwards announced that her USAerospace group had bought the assets of Iceland’s bankrupt airline Wow Air and said it would soon resume flights. It has not.

Asked by The Post how she came to work with Edwards, Zack said in an email: “This is an ongoing investigation and we do not disclose information on our methods and sources.”

Edwards, a Virginia business executive, speaks with former Somali president Sharif Ahmed in Warrenton, Va., in 2013. (D.A. Peterson for The Washington Post)

Their joint news release linked to a copy of a sworn statement signed by a Sicily-based lawyer, Alfio D’Urso. In that document, D’Urso said he knew from a “high level army security services official” that one of the alleged hackers in the unrelated case had told a judge that he had undertaken an operation to flip votes from Trump to Biden — and that he had done so at the direction of Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Rome.

Nicola Naponiello, an attorney for the alleged hacker, told The Post that this was false and that neither he nor his client had ever heard of D’Urso. “He’s not accused of anything connected to that,” Naponiello said of his client. Naponiello, who previously spoke to Reuters, said the whole story was a “classic fake” into which his client had inexplicably been dragged.

D’Urso did not respond to emails and messages left with his office.

The news release from the Zack and Edwards groups also linked to a PDF copy of a story about Italygate from an Italian news site. Edwards’s name appears in the PDF’s metadata as the creator.

Chatter about the conspiracy theory exploded among Trump’s base. Among other influential figures, the former Trump advisers Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos — both of whom Trump pardoned for lying to the FBI during the inquiry into Russia’s 2016 election interference — posted about the conspiracy theory on Twitter. “Italy did it,” Flynn wrote. [Boldface added]

In appearances on right-wing online media, Zack has said she tried to raise the alarm by reaching out to members of Congress and others in Washington, including Christopher C. Miller, then the acting defense secretary. Miller was “very involved,” Zack claimed in an interview with America Matters Media in April. “There were a lot of people working hard to help us,” she said.

Miller was aware of the claims but did not believe them and considered them “fabricated,” according to a former Defense Department official familiar with the situation. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.

Zack said she is still pushing for law enforcement to investigate the allegations. “It is the duty of the Department of Justice to ensure the US election was free of foreign interference and election fraud,” she said in an email.

Others, however, are unconvinced.

“Pure insanity,” Justice Department official Richard Donoghue wrote to his boss, Rosen, after Meadows sent his emails containing the claims, the records released by Congress show. [Boldface added]

Even Capezzone, the Italian journalist whose Dec. 1 article set off speculation about the conspiracy theory, said he has since concluded that it was false. In an email to The Post, Capezzone said Italygate was “fake news, a conspiracy theory, [a] poisoned chalice.”

Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli in Rome and Alice Crites, Julie Tate, Josh Dawsey and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

Follow @wpinvestigates on Twitter |

 

Meadows comes under growing Jan. 6 panel spotlight

[Excerpts:]

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is increasingly targeting — and losing patience with — Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s powerful chief of staff who appeared to be deeply involved with the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. This week the committee released 16 new subpoenas over two days, encircling Meadows by demanding depositions from a number of those he worked closest with at the White House. 

It also presented him with an ultimatum after Meadows had been said to be “engaging” with the committee about a deposition originally scheduled for Oct. 15: show up Friday or risk being held in contempt.

Meadows, a former North Carolina congressman and chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus (HFC), could also be a link to a number of other lawmakers in the caucus who may also be central to the committee’s investigation. 

That includes the lawmakers who have denied Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander’s claim they helped conceive of the strategy of putting “maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.” Those lawmakers include Reps. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).

The committee is also believed to be interested in the phone records of Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who are also in the House Freedom Caucus.

 

At the Willard and the White House, the Jan. 6 Panel Widens Its Net

What went on at a five-star hotel near the White House the day before the riot could be a window into how a Trump-directed plot to upend the election ended in violence at the Capitol.

[Excerpts]

More than 150 witnesses have been interviewed, some of whom surprised investigators by proactively contacting the committee to testify, according to two people familiar with the investigation who described the confidential inquiry on the condition of anonymity.

The panel has learned details about how “Stop the Steal” rally organizers used deception to obtain permits from the Capitol Police to hold rallies near the Capitol; how Mr. Trump and White House officials coordinated with organizers of the rally whose attendees would later storm the Capitol; and how deeply Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was involved in pushing false claims of widespread election fraud. (bold face added)

 

“Letters from an American”, Heather Cox Richardson

November 19, 2021

This morning, on the podcast of Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows went after McCarthy, suggesting that Trump should replace him. Then, on Trump loyalist Steve Bannon’s podcast, Meadows suggested that if the Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in next year’s elections, Trump should become Speaker of the House, which would drive Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “crazy.” Bannon suggested he could hold the position for 100 days and “sort things out” before running for president in 2024.

 

THE GUY WHO KNOWS WHERE ALL OF TRUMP’S BODIES ARE BURIED IS COOPERATING WITH THE JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE

Meanwhile, an appeals court is poised to once again reject the ex-president’s claims of executive privilege.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/11/mark-meadows-donald-trump-january-6-committee
[Excerpts:]

As he’s made abundantly clear through lawsuits, legal posturing, and unhinged statements on the matter, Donald Trump very much does not want the House select committee investigating January 6 to know what he was doing before, during, and after the Capitol was attacked by his bloodthirsty supporters. Why is this? . . . . Which makes the news that his fourth and final chief of staff—the guy who was by his side both through all the false election-fraud claims and the violent attempt to overturn democracy—is cooperating with congressional investigators probably extremely unwelcome!

The Washington Post reports that Mark Meadows has been complying with the House’s probe, though it initially looked like he would follow in the footsteps of Steve Bannon and stonewall the whole thing, which led to the latter being criminally indicted earlier this month and facing up to two years in prison if convicted. In a statement, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, said, “Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the select committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition.”

According to a report from Rolling Stone, planners of the pro-Trump rallies that preceded the attack on the Capitol said Meadows played a major role in conversations surrounding the events leading up to the insurrection. “Meadows was 100% made aware of what was going on,” a source told the outlet. He also urged Georgia’s secretary of state, in the “spirit of cooperation and compromise,” to find a way to overturn Georgia’s election results during the infamous phone call in which Trump demanded Brad Raffensperger just “find” 11,000-plus votes. And he repeatedly pressed then acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to have the Justice Department investigate baseless conspiracy theories of election fraud, including one claiming that people in Italy used satellites to turn Trump votes into Biden ones. Oh, and he was reportedly one of the few people Trump would listen to on the day and night of the attack.

In a statement to CNN, Meadows’s lawyer said there is now an understanding between the former chief of staff and investigators on how information can be shared going forward, adding that both sides are open to engaging . . . .

Read More

Of course, it’s not all good news for people hoping to see Trump held accountable for the first time in his 75 years on earth. For one thing, Meadows is still a Trump loyalist who…well, you read the thing about Italian satellites, right? For another, his lawyer has already suggested that certain things Meadows knows fall under executive privilege, and thus he should not be “compelled” to share them.

In happier news that may make Meadows’s (and his ex-boss’s) executive privilege claims moot, there’s this, per Politico:

Three federal appellate judges appear likely to reject Donald Trump’s effort to block January 6 investigators from obtaining his White House records—a big potential boost for lawmakers hoping to reveal the former president’s actions as a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol.

As they questioned Trump’s lawyers, the judges repeatedly expressed skepticism that a former president could override a decision by the sitting president—in this case Joe Biden—to release documents to Congress, particularly when the incumbent has decided it’s in the national interest to release records to investigators…. The files at issue are drawn from former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former adviser Stephen Miller, former deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin, and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, among other top Trump aides. The National Archives has identified the documents in periodic batches since early September and expects to produce additional tranches in the coming months.

“We have one president at a time under our constitution,” Judge Patricia Millett said on Tuesday. “That incumbent president…has made the judgment and is best positioned, as the Supreme Court has told us, to make that call as to the interests of the executive branch.”

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson
December 3, 2021
At home, the threat to our democracy continues to become clearer. We have learned that Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows not only tried to use the Department of Justice to push false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, but also tried to get top national security officials at the FBI, Pentagon, National Security Council, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to chase down allegations that, for example, China had hacked the election. Sources told Zachary Cohen, Paula Reid, and Sara Murray of CNN that Meadows didn’t necessarily believe the stories, but wanted to please Trump.

CAN MARK MEADOWS WIN TRUMP BACK WITH A JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE SNUB?

The former White House chief of staff’s about-face on cooperating with Congress comes as Trump reportedly felt “betrayed” by his memoir, which details the ex-president’s bout with COVID.

[Excerpt:]

However, Meadows stonewalling the committee may not be enough for him to get back on Trump’s good side, as the former president is reportedly incensed by the contents of Meadows’s just-released book. Last week, the Daily Beast reported that Meadows “thought Trump was going to love” his memoir, but after a wild excerpt from the The Chief’s Chiefwas published, which revealed that Trump joined Joe Biden on the debate stage in October of last year despite having just tested positive for COVID-19, the former president has privately slammed the memoir, calling its contents “garbage” and its author “fucking stupid.” The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman tweeted Tuesday that a “source close to Trump says he hates Meadows book and feels betrayed by him.”

And in an ultimate act of surrender, Meadows joined his old boss in casting doubt on the book’s content, telling Newsmax on Wednesday that if Trump says it’s fake news, then “the president’s right––it’s fake news.”

Mark Meadows Sues Nancy Pelosi to Avoid Testifying Before Capitol Riot Committee

The move comes the same day the committee indicated it would move forward with contempt charges against Meadows for refusing to testify.

Blake Montgomery, Reporter/Editor

Jose Pagliery, Political Investigations Reporter

[Excerpt:]

Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows has sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in an attempt to skirt testifying before the panel.

The move comes the same day the committee indicated it would move forward with contempt charges after Meadows didn’t show up for his scheduled deposition.

 

Election denier who circulated Jan. 6 PowerPoint says he met with Meadows at White House

December 11, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/phil-waldron-mark-meadows-powerpoint/2021/12/11/4ea67938-59df-11ec-9a18-a506cf3aa31d_story.html

[Excerpts:]

A retired U.S. Army colonel who circulated a proposal to challenge the 2020 election, including by declaring a national security emergency and seizing paper ballots, said that he visited the White House on multiple occasions after the election, spoke with President Donald Trump’s chief of staff “maybe eight to 10 times” and briefed several members of Congress on the eve of the Jan. 6 riot.

Waldron’s account of his interactions with the White House, together with a 36-page version of the presentation that surfaced online this past week and was reviewed by The Post, shed new light on the wild theories and proposals that circulated among the people advising Trump as they worked to overturn his election defeat, causing a crisis at the heart of government. They suggest that Meadows, who also pressed senior Justice Department leaders to investigate baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud, was more directly in contact with proponents of such theories than was previously known.

The role played after the election by Waldron is another example of how the president aligned himself with a cast of fringe personalities as he worked to sabotage the U.S. democratic process.

What Mark Meadows Is Learning the Hard Way

Trump is still king.

By David A. Graham

[Excerpts:]
Through his travails over the past two weeks, Meadows has learned the hard way that Trump is still the king—and that even modest distancing from him won’t be tolerated.

The tough lesson began on November 30, when Meadows agreed to participate with the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Trump detests the committee, but Meadows seemed to have been spooked by Steve Bannon’s indictment for contempt of Congress.

As he now knows, however, Trump retains immense power over GOP elites—and over Meadows himself, as the former aide’s contortions this week show. Trump won’t tolerate even a hint of deviation from his line. You have to choose which side you’re on, even if that means siding with him against yourself.

House Jan. 6 committee votes to hold Meadows in contempt, details texts from Trump allies who wanted him to call off rioters

December 13, 2021
[Excerpts:]
At a public meeting ahead of the vote Monday, members of the committee used information already provided by Meadows to make the case that he is a key figure in understanding Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, what role the White House played in planning the rally that preceded the attack, and why Trump did not immediately come out and forcefully call on his supporters to stop their assault on the Capitol once it was underway.
On Sunday night, in a 51-page report, the bipartisan committee revealed that it has documents showing that Meadows said the National Guard “would be present to ‘protect pro Trump people’ ” on the day of the attack.
In its report, the committee said it wanted to question Meadows about text messages he exchanged with an unnamed senator about Pence’s power to reject electors. In the messages, Meadows recounted a “direct communication with President Trump who, according to Mr. Meadows in his text messages, quote, ‘thinks the legislators have the power, but the VP has power too’ ” to reject electors.
In its report, the committee said it seeks more information from Meadows on text messages he exchanged with the organizer of the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse that preceded the attack on the Capitol. The organizer texted Meadows that things “have gotten crazy and I desperately need some direction. Please.” The committee also wants to know more about messages Meadows received regarding “apparent efforts” to encourage Republican lawmakers in certain states to send alternate slates of electors to Congress in an attempt to undo Biden’s win. In texts, a member of Congress told Meadows that the plan was “highly controversial,” and Meadows texted back, “I love it.”

Meadows, the committee’s report claims, also reportedly introduced Trump to then-DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, who recommended to Trump that he be installed as acting attorney general and that state officials be told to appoint alternate slates of electors.

The then-chief of staff also reportedly “participated in meetings and calls during which the participants reportedly discussed the need to “fight back against ‘mounting evidence’ of purported voter fraud,” according to the panel’s report.

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American
January 21, 2022 
The [January 6] committee said it knew that “in the days before January 6th, a member of the House Freedom Caucus with knowledge of the President’s planning for that day sent a message to [Mark Meadows] the White House Chief of Staff with this explicit warning: ‘If POTUS [meaning President Trump] allows this to occur…we’re driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic….’”

Texting through an insurrection

Thousands of frantic text messages that might have otherwise been lost to history
are now key to piecing together a picture of the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack.

(Lucy Naland/Washington Post illustration; Patrick Semansky/AP; iStock)

N.C. investigates Mark Meadows after reports that he never lived where he registered to vote

By Felicia Sonmez and Mariana Alfaro

Updated March 17, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/mark-meadows-voter-registration-investigation/

 

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American

heathercoxrichardson@substack.com

March 23, 2022

Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has been under investigation in North Carolina for claiming a false residence for purposes of voting, a deception that might constitute voter fraud. News broke today that his wife, Debra Meadows, filled out two official forms claiming the couple lives in a trailer in rural North Carolina, although they actually live in a condo in Old Town Alexandria in Virginia. One of the forms she signed reads: “Fraudulently or falsely completing this form” is a Class I felony.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

May 30, 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/s/now-and-then

[Excerpts:]

[Boldface added below to note members of our Card Deck of 54+ Trump enablers]

“If Americans are concerned that the Republicans have gamed the system, the January 6 committee hearings seem unlikely to provide much reassurance.”

——-

On June 9, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol will begin six televised hearings to explain to the American people what happened on and around that day.

That story is unlikely to reflect well on Republican leadership, who are trying to discredit the committee itself by claiming it is illegitimate. Their wiggling doesn’t look great for those who are supposed to be responsible for writing our laws.

The story is that the House tried to set up a bipartisan commission, and Senate Republicans used the filibuster to kill it (almost exactly a year ago today, actually). Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used precisely the same model Republicans had used to set up their 2014 Benghazi probe.

Pelosi had the power to name the chair and 13 members, five of them in consultation with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). McCarthy’s picks included Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN), both of whom were closely linked to Trump and had already expressed opposition to the committee. When Pelosi refused to add Jordan and Banks to the roster, McCarthy withdrew all the Republicans he had chosen. Pelosi then added Republicans Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and kept the committee at 9 people.

When asked to cooperate with the committee or respond to subpoenas, Republicans have since tried to argue that it is illegitimate. But early this month, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly—appointed by former president Trump—dismissed all those claims.

That decision came in a case about a committee subpoena for the Republican National Committee’s email marketing data from Salesforce, Inc., the company that handled fundraising emails in the weeks after Trump lost the election. The committee asked for the emails in February, wanting to determine to what degree they asked for donations by claiming that the election results were fraudulent.

It could have seen who coordinated the emails, how many people opened the emails that spread false information, and whether any of those folks were eventually among those who stormed the Capitol. The RNC sued Salesforce, its own email vendor, in March to stop the production of those documents. Yesterday, though, the committee said that the case has been held up so long that it recognizes it no longer has time to analyze the information before the hearings, even if it were to get that data.

There are other subpoenas also being stonewalled. The committee subpoenaed Representatives McCarthy, Jordan, Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Mo Brooks (R-AL) earlier this month. Their responses are coming in now, and they indicate that these members of Congress continue to reject the legitimacy of the committee.

On Wednesday, May 25, Biggs’s lawyers said his subpoena had not been properly served, the committee is not valid, and anything Biggs did is protected because it was part of his legislative duties. Jordan told the committee the same day that he would not comply with a subpoena until it told him all the evidence—documents, videos, or anything else—it has about him beforehand.

On Friday, McCarthy’s lawyer sent an 11-page letter to the committee denying its legitimacy and attacking the ability of Congress to investigate a potential crime because its mandate is only to make laws. And on Sunday, Brooks claimed to Fox News Sunday guest host Sandra Smith that he had not been served with a subpoena, and he said he wanted to talk with his subpoenaed colleagues before responding.

Meanwhile, Perry has simply said the whole committee effort is a charade, but on Thursday, May 26, he was in the news when someone told Politico reporters Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney what Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked under then–White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, had told the committee. Hutchinson apparently testified that Meadows burned papers in his office following a meeting there with Perry after Election Day 2020.

The New York Times had previously reported that Meadows had burned papers in his office fireplace.

If Americans are concerned that the Republicans have gamed the system, the January 6 committee hearings seem unlikely to provide much reassurance.

Former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows avoids contempt charges after literally being seen burning documents: report

“With Trump, there are no alms for the addled. He doesn’t spare his friends the kind of humiliation that he visits upon his foes. His favors are contingent not on your past servitude but on your present utility.”

— Frank Bruni