The texts, which were not previously reported, were sent to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas. The text exchange shows that both members of Congress initially supported legal challenges to the election, but ultimately succumbed to the efforts and tactics of Trump and his team.
But shortly after the election, both men encouraged Trump to keep fighting.
In a series of texts to Meadows on November 7, Lee offered his “unequivocal support for your exhausting all legal and constitutional remedies at your disposal to restore Americans’ confidence in our elections.”
Lee continued, “This fight is about the fundamental fairness and integrity of our electoral system. The nation depends on your continued determination. Stay strong and keep fighting, Mr. President.”
Also on November 7, Roy wrote to Meadows: “We need ammunition. We need examples of fraud. We need them this weekend.”
In a statement to CNN, Lee’s communications director, Lee Lonsberry, said, “I want to highlight that Senator Lee has been completely transparent,” noting how Lee had called for an investigation into allegations of fraud in the 2020 election, but ultimately recognized Biden as the president-elect and voted to confirm the January 6 election results.
Nate Madden, Roy’s communications director, told CNN that the text messages “speak for themselves.”
An attorney for Meadows did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
A spokesman for the special committee declined to comment.
A source familiar with the committee’s work told CNN that Lee’s lyrics “reflect that he was a cheerleader before he was against it.
“Can you help her get in?”
“Sydney Powell says she has to go in to see the President but is being kept away from him,” Lee wrote to Meadows Nov. 7. “Apparently she has a strategy to keep things alive and bring multiple states back into play. Can you help her get in?”
Lee then sent Meadows Powell’s cell phone number and email.
On November 9, Lee Meadows pressed Powell again, calling her a “straight shooter”.
On the same day, Roy Meadows warned of Trump’s approach, texting him: “We must urge the President to tone down the rhetoric and address the legal challenge resolutely, intelligently and effectively without throwing out wildly desperate Haymakers or throwing his base into a conspiracy.” Rage.”
The messages began to take on a more critical tone.
“Hey bro – we need substance or people are gonna bust,” Roy wrote on Nov. 19, a few hours after the press conference wrapped.
Two hours later, Lee Meadows wrote Serious Concerns, saying he was “concerned about the Powell press conference.”
Lee told Meadows, “The potential defamation liability for the president is significant here.
“For the campaign and for the President personally.
“Unless Powell can back up everything she said, which I doubt she can.”
Meadows replied, “I agree. Very concerned.”
From Powell to Eastman
Privately, Roy Meadows also texted support for Eastman and criticized Giuliani.
“Have you spoken to John Eastman?” Roy texted on November 22nd. “Get Eastman to file before the PA Elections Committee…
“Get data before the public.
“Damn Rudy needs to calm down.”
By December, both Republican lawmakers told Meadows their serious concerns about the plan to contest the Jan. 6 election confirmation.
On December 16, Lee Meadows asked for guidance: “If you want senators to object, we need to hear from you that ideally you will be given guidance on what arguments to make.
“I think we’re past the point now where we can expect anyone to do it without a direction and a strong probative argument.”
On December 31, Roy expressed even more concern in a text to Meadows.
“The president should recall everyone. This is the only way. If we replace the will of states with electors every 4 years with a vote of Congress…we have destroyed the Electoral College…Respectfully,” Roy wrote.
At this point, Trump and his allies were working behind the scenes to rally sections of the federal government to efforts to overthrow the election. This included urging Justice Department officials, including then-Attorney General William Barr, to investigate fraud, even after the agency said there was none. Trump also put heavy pressure on then-Vice President Mike Pence not to confirm the Jan. 6 election.
In a Jan. 3 text to Meadows, Lee argued that Trump’s efforts to get states to send alternative electoral lists to Congress were illegitimate.
“All I know is that if we don’t have the Constitution on our side, this is going to end badly for the President,” Lee wrote in a text message to Meadows. “And unless those states provide new lists of Trump electors under state law, we don’t,” Lee wrote to Meadows.
As CNN previously reported, the plan to replace real voters with fake ones in a handful of swing states was orchestrated by the former president’s allies and overseen by his then-attorney Giuliani.
None of these alternative lists of pro-Trump electors have been approved by state officials or presented to Congress.
While Lee and Roy both voted to confirm the election results in favor of Biden, more than 100 of their GOP peers in the House and Senate did not. Chief among them were Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, both of whom were called out by Lee in his lyrics to Meadows.
“I have grave concerns about the way my friend Ted is approaching this effort,” Lee wrote to Meadows. “It won’t do the President any good.”
Lee added that the net effect “could help people like Ted and Josh to the detriment of DJT if new, competing voter lists weren’t proposed under state law.”
When January 6th finally came, neither Lee nor Roy joined their peers in objecting to the results of the 2020 presidential election.
After the violence spread and Congress returned to session, Roy said on the House floor, “The President should never have made certain Americans believe something that just can’t be.”
He also texted Meadows: “This is a shit show.
“Fix that now.”
This story was updated with Rep. Chip Roy’s tweet on Friday.