On Monday, CNN published a trove of text messages sent to and from Mark Meadows, President Donald Trump’s final chief of staff. The texts, sent between Election Day 2020 and Joe Biden’s inauguration, dealt largely with various Trumpworld figures strategizing tactics to overturn the election and trading talking points to spin the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
Meadows, who provided the messages to a House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, fielded urgent questions from members of Congress, Cabinet officials, Trump lawyers and advisers, Fox News figures, Trump family members, and other members of the president’s inner circle—all scrambling to manage the public narrative around the election. (Meadows has sued to block congressional subpoenas, and he has withheld more than 1,000 messages from the committee.)
The latest messages published by CNN—from the 2,319 it said it had obtained—fill out the picture that has been drawn over the past few months as other texts leaked. Those texts have revealed that Trump refused to quickly condemn the violence on Jan. 6; that Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, had accused “Biden and the Left” of “attempting the greatest Heist of our History”; that Donald Trump Jr. had developed a strategy for overturning the election even before the election was called for Biden; and that Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas Rep. Chip Roy had offered Meadows a statement supporting Trump to “leak” if it was “helpful.”
The new texts hit on the same themes, with additional alarming details, including proof Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had advocated for Trump to impose martial law to remain president. The texts showed how many powerful people urged the president toward conspiracy theories—and, in a few cases, cast doubt on them.
They also, at times, showed how simply absurd powerful people can sound when casually texting about matters related to the very integrity of our democracy. Here are some of the oddest exchanges from Monday’s trove, left in their original, typo-laden form.
Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, texting on Jan. 9, 2021, the day after the president had been banned from Twitter for his role in inciting the insurrection:
I truly hope he does create a new platform to complete with Twitter and I hope he calls it ‘Trumpet’ and then we can send out ‘notes’ to each other! Jennifer and I pray for POTUS daily, and FLOTUS too.
It’s nice that Clyde didn’t just give Meadows a generic idea but also got him rolling on ideas for its branding.
An exchange with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Election Day:
NC gonna be ok?
Meadows: Stress every vote matters. Get out and vote
Hannity: Yes sir
On it. Any place in particular we need a push
Meadows: Pennsylvania. NC AZ
Hannity: Got it. Everywhere
While Hannity’s support for Trump was no secret, this appears to be the first time it was confirmed Hannity was taking orders from the White House.
Donald Trump Jr., texting about the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021:
“He’s got to condem this shit. Asap. The captiol police tweet is not enough.”
“This his one you go to the mattresses on. They will try to fuck his entire legacy on this if it gets worse.”
This is the son of the president of the United States confirming that some men do not, at a certain level of power, outgrow quoting The Godfather to each other.
“MyPillow Guy” Sighting
Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and prominent advocate for overturning the election, sent a very long message on Dec. 20, 2020:
Hey Mark, I felt I was suppose to text you this message… You being a man a faith and on the front line of the decisions that are going to be historical! I would ask that you pray for wisdom and discernment from God!
I have been sickened by politicians ( especially republicans ) judges, the media not wanting to see the truth ( no matter what the truth would be!) This is the biggest cover up of one of the worst crimes in history! I have spent over a million$ to help uncover this fraud and used my platform so people can get the word not to give up! The people on both sides have to see the truth and when they do …. there will not be no civil war , people ( including politicians!) are fearing! The only thing any of us should fear is fear of the Lord! Every person on this planet needs to know the truth and see the evidence!!! Mark .. God has his hand in all of this and has put you on the front line… I will continue praying for you to have great wisdom and discernment! Blessings Mike
Lindell also claimed his ability to investigate deviations in numbers was his “gift from God that has made my business so successful.”
A Founding Father’s Argument for Jan. 6
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the day before the insurrection:
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.
Jordan appeared to be the only advocate for overturning the election who, in these texts, got into citing historical documents.
Ivanka Trump, in a text on Nov. 5, to Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, Mark Meadows, Jason Miller, Dan Scavino, and Bill Stepien:
You are all WARRIORS of epic proportions! Keep the faith and the fight!
Ivanka seemed to know how important morale was to a task as large as overturning an election.
Less Enthusiastic Family
Jared Kushner, a month later, in one of his only texts to Meadows:
That’s a link to a fact check for one of the most prominent election fraud claims.
Left on Read
Meadows, trying to reach Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, on Dec. 5, 2020:
mr Secretary. Can you call the White House switchboard at 202 757 6000. For a call. Your voicemail is full
Meadows had twice tried to reach Raffensperger, who had been vilified for certifying his state’s election. Raffensperger did not appear to reply to Meadows’ text.
Rick Perry, texting on Nov. 7, 2020, just hours before the election was called:
We have the data driven program that can clearly show where the fraud was committed. This is the silver bullet.”Pam Biondi has seen and agrees!!” Rick Perry
Perry, the former Texas governor who served as secretary of energy under Trump, had previously been the subject of reports that he had advocated for a strategy to overturn the election. Perry had denied these reports. Thankfully, he signs his texts with his full name.