Rep. Gosar allegedly offered Jan. 6 rally planners a pardon from Trump; 7 new subpoenas issued by Select Committee
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Meadows’ text messages
The Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol voted unanimously to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt last week for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena. During the meeting, Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) read aloud text messages sent to Meadows during the insurrection from various Fox News personalities, lawmakers, Capitol staffers, and Donald Trump Jr.
Text messages from those inside the Capitol, including Republican members:
-“Hey, Mark, protestors are literally storming the Capitol. Breaking windows on doors. Rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?”
-“We are under siege up here at the Capitol.”
-“They have breached the Capitol.”
-“There’s an armed standoff at the House Chamber door.”
-“We are all helpless.”
Messages from Trump administration officials:
-“POTUS has to come out firmly and tell protestors to dissipate. Someone is going to get killed”
-“Mark, he needs to stop this. Now”
-“TELL THEM TO GO HOME”
-“POTUS needs to calm this shit down.”
Messages from Fox News hosts:
Laura Ingraham: “Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home…this is hurting all of us…he is destroying his legacy.”
Brian Kilmeade: “Please get him on tv. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
Sean Hannity: “Can he make a statement?…Ask people to leave the Capitol.”
These same personalities then went on national television to deflect blame from Trump despite privately acknowledging that the insurrectionists were Trump’s people. For instance, while lawmakers were gathering to restart the electoral vote count, Ingraham suggest Antifa and provocateurs were responsible for the Jan. 6 attack.
Donald Trump Jr. also texted Meadows:
Don Jr: “He’s got to condemn this shit Asap. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.”
Meadows’ response: “I’m pushing it hard. I agree.”
Don Jr. “We need an Oval address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.”
The Committee also revealed numerous texts sent prior to Jan. 6 from members of Congress seeking to help Trump overturn the election:
On an unknown date, a lawmaker later identified as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) texted Meadows: “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 claims he did not write the message himself but instead forwarded it from a lawyer. The full message, according to Jordan, read:
“On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all — in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. ‘No legislative act,’ wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, ‘contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.’ The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: ‘That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.’ 226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916). Following this rationale, an unconstitutionally appointed elector, like an unconstitutionally enacted statute, is no elector at all.’”
On Jan. 3, Meadows recounted a direct communication with Trump who, according to Meadows, “thinks the legislatures have the power but that the Vp has power too.” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), who presented the text message on the House floor (clip), suggests “the power” refers to the power to “overturn the election results, the power to reject the will of the voters.”
On Jan. 5, the day before the insurrection, an unidentified member of Congress texted Meadows, “Please check your signal,” referencing the encrypted messaging app. The Committee emphasized that numerous text messages highlight the use of personal accounts, including Signal and Gmail, for conducting official business. Meadows has not turned over any of these secret communications.
Then, the day after the insurrection, an unidentified lawmaker lamented their failure to overturn the election: “Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objection to the 6 states. I’m sorry nothing worked.”
According to CNN, the Committee believes that Rick Perry, former Texas Governor and Energy Secretary, sent a message to Meadows the day after the election advocating a strategy to throw out swing states votes before they were even fully counted:
HERE’s an AGRESSIVE [sic] STRATEGY: Why can t [sic] the states of GA NC PENN and other R controlled state houses declare this is BS (where conflicts and election not called that night) and just send their own electors to vote and have it go to the SCOTUS.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) first presented the text on the House floor, asking, “How did this text influence the planning of Mark Meadows and Donald Trump to try to destroy the lawful electoral college majority that had been established by the people of the United States and the states for Joe Biden? Those are the kinds of questions that we have a right to ask Mark Meadows.”
Lawmakers under investigation
Ali Alexander, the founder of the “Stop the Steal” movement, turned over more than 1,500 text messages and sat for an eight-hour deposition with the Select Committee. He testified about his communications with three Republican lawmakers—Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ)—ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
At Alexander’s December 9, 2021 deposition, he testified that he had a few phone conversations with Representative Paul Gosar…
Mr. Alexander testified that he had phone conversations with Rep. Brooks’ staff about a “Dear Colleague” letter and how his activists could be helpful. Mr. Alexander believes he exchanged a text message with Rep. Brooks, contents which he provided to the Committee. He also testified that he spoke to Rep. Biggs in person and never by phone, to the best of his recollection. In January, Mr. Alexander held an organizing call where Members of Congress might have been present…
Reminder: Alexander bragged about his coordination with Brooks, Gosar, and Biggs two days after the insurrection (clip):
“I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and Congressman Andy Biggs. We four schemed up putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting, so that [representatives] who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud war from outside.”
Brooks, Gosar, and Biggs aren’t the only members of the Freedom Caucus under scrutiny; Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) are also being investigated by the Committee.
On Nov. 9, 2020, two days after Biden was announced as the winner, Perry and Jordan met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Trump advisor Stephen Miller, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien to develop a plan to overturn the election.
Gohmert sued Pence on December 27, 2020, seeking to force Pence to unilaterally throw out slates of electors during the electoral count (pdf). The goal of the lawsuit, according to conspiracy theorist Sydney Powell, was to delay certification:
As for why Gohmert led the suit, Powell has publicly indicated that one reason was because Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has jurisdiction over his home state of Texas. Alito, Powell argued, might have bought more time for pro-Trump forces to reverse the results by blocking Pence from certifying Biden’s victory. (There’s no evidence Alito was considering this).
Trump met with members of the Freedom Caucus on Dec. 21 to “discuss their plans.”
During this time, Rep. Perry introduced Trump to DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark, who Trump later tried to install as acting AG to push his bogus voter fraud claims.
Meadows, as a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, acted as a leader of the group and a bridge between the Trump White House, pro-Trump rally organizers, and the Republican lawmakers.
When disputes broke out among organizers of the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rallies, he stepped in to mediate, according to two organizers, Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence. In one case, Mr. Meadows helped settle a feud about whether to have one or two rallies on Jan. 6.
During the Rules Committee meeting to vote on Meadows’ contempt resolution, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) admitted to lawmakers having knowledge of the Proud Boys plans ahead of Jan. 6 (clip):
I was aware of people talking just amongst themselves here in the Capitol the day of the [congressional] swearing-in [Jan. 3], the day after the swearing-in, “are you worried about what’s going to happen later in the week? Do you know about the people that are– that the Proud Boys are going to be here? I did not know, I can’t say that I actually knew who the Proud Boys were. But these were topics of general discussion going on here.
Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence organized numerous rallies following the 2020 election, including the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse. Stockton testified before the Select Committee for over seven hours on Tuesday and has turned over documents that allegedly “indicate the extensive involvement” of members of Congress in planning the events of the 6th.
Stockton claims he and Lawrence exchanged online messages and text messages with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Andy Biggs, and Louie Gohmert or members of their staffs about planning events in support of overturning the election.
“We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back,” one of the pair said in a now-unmasked anonymous Rolling Stone interview from October.
“I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically,” the organizer says. “I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs.”
Gosar’s office promised Trump would give them a “blanket pardon” in the Build the Wall investigation if they helped support his coup:
“Our impression was that it was a done deal,” the organizer says, “that he’d spoken to the president about it in the Oval … in a meeting about pardons and that our names came up. They were working on submitting the paperwork and getting members of the House Freedom Caucus to sign on as a show of support.”
The organizer claims the pair received “several assurances” about the “blanket pardon” from Gosar.
“I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you’ve been doing,” Gosar said, according to the organizer.
The Select Committee issued six new subpoenas and one voluntary request last week to more individuals involved in planning the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally that preceded the insurrection.
Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, was asked to voluntarily provide an interview with the Committee during the next two weeks. Perry introduced DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark to Trump, who planned to install Clark as acting Attorney General in order to pursue false election claims. He is the first lawmaker to be targeted by the Committee, that we know of.
Bobby Peede, Jr. and Max Miller: Both former White House aides who met with Trump on Jan. 4 to discuss the Jan. 6 rally and Trump’s speech. Miller successfully pressured career employees at the National Park Service to allow the rally stage to be placed at the Ellipse, against longstanding practice. (Peede letter and Miller letter).
Brian Jack, former White House Director of Political Affairs. Jack contacted members of Congress on behalf of Trump to ask them to speak at the rally. One of the members he contacted, Rep. Mo Brooks, accepted the invitation and spoke at the rally (while wearing body armor). Letter.
Bryan Lewis obtained a permit to hold a demonstration on Jan. 6 on the northeast side of the Capitol, adjacent to the one planned by Ali Alexander. “Documents provided to the Select Committee show that multiple applicants…coordinated their efforts to arrange for separate locations at the Capitol.” Letter.
Ed Martin, president of conservative organization the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles and former chair of the Missouri Republican Party. Martin held pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” events after the 2020 election and worked with Ali Alexander to coordinate their events. Martin also helped pay for the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse. Letter.
Kimberly Fletcher, president of Moms for America. Fletcher organized multiple rallies before and after the 2020 election, including those on Jan. 5 and 6. She communicated with Ali Alexander to coordinate the events and “admitted receiving calls from law enforcement before January 6th ‘trying to find out who was who.’” Letter.
The Committee also issued a subpoena to Phil Waldron, the retired Army colonel who circulated the ‘coup powerpoint’ on Capitol Hill. Letter:
The Select Committee’s investigation and public reports have revealed credible evidence that you have infonnation concerning attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the 2020 election results. According to public reporting, you claim to have visited the White House on multiple occasions after the election, spoken to Mark Meadows “maybe 8 to 10 times,” and briefed several members of Congress on election fraud theories. You have also publicly acknowledged contributing to the creation of a PowerPoint presentation that was given to, or described for, Republican Members of Congress on the eve of January 6th. According to reporting, you participated in meetings at the Willard Hotel in early-January 2021, gathering purported evidence of election fraud.
Waldron was a prolific spreader of election misinformation and unfounded conspiracies even before the 2020 election. He worked with Texas-based Allied Security Operations Group, a company led by cybersecurity analyst Russell James Ramsland Jr.—who also took part in the Willard Hotel “war room” led in part by Rudy Giuliani. Allied Security Operations Group led discredited “audits” in Michigan and Arizona and testified before both legislative houses.
- Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin welcomed Waldron to speak before the state’s Voting System Commission last week, praising his ideas despite his role in the insurrection. “We’re very pleased to have him here and excited to hear what he has to say,” said Ardoin.