Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was kept informed of efforts to seize voting machines and other schemes to overturn the 2020 election by Trump allies in contested states, according to a trove of text messages obtained by CNN.
In a text exchange from Dec. 23, 2020, mere days before a riotous mob attempted to sabotage the Electoral College certification of President Joe Biden’s win, conspiracy theorist and former Army colonel Phil Waldron updated Meadows on his efforts to have voting machines in Maricopa County, Arizona, seized and examined.
Complaining that a judge had dismissed a lawsuit brought by MAGA legislators demanding the machines be turned over, Waldron texted Meadows that the decision removed “our lead domino we were counting on to start the cascade,” of rulings in other states. “Pathetic,” Meadows replied.
Waldron was deeply involved in the scheme to seize voting machines in states with close electoral margins. He allegedly drafted an executive order for the White House instructing the seizure of voting machines but the order never came to fruition, as it was very clearly illegal. Waldron additionally communicated to Meadows that he had allegedly reviewed troves of suspect electoral data constituting what he described as a “southern steal.”
Meadows’ role in efforts to undermine the integrity of the election through his position as chief of staff has been a subject of interest to law enforcement and investigators. It has become increasingly apparent he acted as a liaison between the White House and those pushing fraudulent schemes to undermine the democratic process and preserve Trump’s power.
The House Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed both Meadows and Waldron in their effort to establish the role the Trump administration had in orchestrating the attack on Congress. Materials obtained by the committee from Meadows included a 38-slide PowerPoint created by Waldron proposing various ways to overturn the results of the election.
In an interview with 60 minutes former House member and senior technical adviser to the Jan. 6 committee Denver Riggleman indicated that messages obtained from Meadows by the committee revealed a “roadmap to an attempted coup.” Meadows was also texting with Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, about overturning the election. Ginni Thomas recently agreed to sit for an interview with the Jan. 6 committee.
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In June, former Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the Jan. 6 committee that following a meeting with Rudy Giuliani, Meadows warned her that things might get “real, real bad on Jan. 6.” Hutchinson also relayed to the committee that Meadows burned documents in his office following a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry, who was also embroiled in efforts to overturn election results in Pennsylvania.
As previously reported by Rolling Stone, organizers of the Jan. 6 rallies in Washington, D.C., say they participated in “dozens” of planning meetings with White House staff and members of Trump’s team, including Meadows. “Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on,” says an organizer. “He’s also like a regular figure in these really tiny groups of national organizers.”