The House Jan. 6 committee possesses nearly 100 text messages from two Republican lawmakers urging then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to overturn the 2020 presidential election, CNN reported on Friday.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas Congressman Chip Roy supported former President Trump’s decision to not concede the election once it was called on Nov. 7, with Lee offering Meadows “unequivocal support for you to exhaust every legal and constitutional remedy at your disposal to restore Americans faith in our elections.”
“This fight is about the fundamental fairness and integrity of our election system,” Lee added. “The nation is depending upon your continued resolve. Stay strong and keep fighting Mr. President.”
Lee, who prides himself as a legal scholar, also asked Meadows if he would facilitate getting conspiracy theorist and quack attorney Sidney Powell in front of Trump. “Apparently she has a strategy to keep things alive and put several states back in play,” Lee wrote. “Can you help get her in?”
Roy, meanwhile, urged Meadows to prepare for battle. “We need ammo. We need fraud examples. We need it this weekend,” he wrote.
But as the Trump campaign went on to lose lawsuit after lawsuit over its false claims of election fraud, both Lee and Roy became skeptical of the effort.
“Hey brother — we need substance or people are going to break,” Roy wrote on Nov. 19, following a press conference where Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Jenna Ellis pushed conspiracy theories about the election.
Lee felt similarly. “The potential defamation liability for the president is significant here,” he wrote to Meadows. “For the campaign and for the president personally. Unless Powell can back up everything she said, which I kind of doubt she can.”
“I agree,” Meadows replied. “Very concerned.”
The pair then honed in on attorney John Eastman to do what they had expected of Powell, but Lee still had his concerns about senators objecting to the election results. “I think we’re now passed the point where we can expect anyone will do it without some direction and a strong evidentiary argument,” he wrote on Dec. 16, asking Meadows for what arguments they should raise.
Roy had his doubts, too. “The president should call everyone off. It’s the only path,” he wrote on New Year’s Eve. “If we substitute the will of states through electors with a vote by congress every 4 years … we have destroyed the electoral college … Respectfully.”
A few days later, Lee wrote he had “grave concerns with the way my friend Ted is going about this effort,” referring to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s plans to object to certain states’ electors. Lee predicted the effort “will end badly” for Trump “unless we have the Constitution on our side.”
Lee’s communications director told CNN that the senator “has been fully transparent,” noting that he did end up not going along with Cruz and Missouri’s Josh Hawley in objecting to electoral votes on Jan. 6 from some states Biden won. Roy’s communications director told the outlet the messages “speak for themselves.”
The texts are more evidence that the effort to overturn the election was not limited to the Trump administration and the gaggle of hack lawyers it hired to challenge the results. It was actively pushed by a wide swatch of congressional Republicans and conservative activists like Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who texted Meadows furiously in the weeks following the election.
It maybe shouldn’t be so surprising that Lee was involved, though. “We’re not a democracy,” he wrote of the United States a month before the election. “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are,” he added. “We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”