Sep 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Mark Meadows' inbox

Mark Meadows

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Between Nov. 3, 2020, and President Biden's inauguration, Mark Meadows' cellphone became a key channel for dozens of elected officials as well private citizens to convey outlandish conspiracy theories and last-ditch ideas to overturn the election, according to a new book by an ex-adviser to the Jan. 6 committee.

The big picture: "The Breach" by former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) claims that former President Trump's chief of staff received texts from 39 House members and five U.S. senators. It cites texts from GOP lawmakers to paint a picture of how invested many were in Trump's effort to overturn the election.

Driving the news: The book, which has not been authorized by the committee, is set for release Tuesday and was obtained in advance by Axios. Riggleman left his position as a senior technical adviser to the committee in April, before the start of its blockbuster summer hearings.

Why it matters: The Meadows texts are the "crown jewels" that "gave us keys to the kingdom," Riggleman writes.

  • The timing of the book's release gives it a narrow window to impact the committee's work and the public's understanding.
  • Wednesday's hearing is perhaps the last public one before the release of a final report on the committee's findings and recommendations.

Details: The book reveals Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) sent Meadows a forwarded note from North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, who shared his own idea for a "last-ditch effort" to demand statewide recounts of absentee and mail-in ballots in crucial states.

Other examples:

  • Meadows received texts in late 2020 from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) about "dead voters" and Dominion voting machines. Riggleman notes that one of Gosar’s texts included a link to a movie about "cyber warfare" from an anti-vaccine conspiracy blog called "Some Bitch Told Me."
  • On Nov. 5, 2020, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) touted his experience as an attorney and offered to come to the White House, to which Meadows responded: "Most of this is being handled at the campaign. Would love your help and would love you going on TV."
  • Republican Reps. Chip Roy and Brian Babin, both of Texas, also reached out to Meadows for direction on how to challenge the election on the morning of Nov. 5.
  • Meadows was in touch with a rally organizer who led protests against the election, as well as ordinary citizens peddling QAnon conspiracy theories.

Between the lines: Riggleman's headline-grabbing book and accompanying media tour have rankled some members of the committee, which has sought to downplay his insight into the panel's investigation.

  • "In his role on the Select Committee staff, Mr. Riggleman had limited knowledge of the committee’s investigation. He departed from the staff in April prior to our hearings and much of our most important investigative work," a Jan. 6 committee spokesperson told Axios in a statement.
  • Thousands of Meadows' texts are known to be in the possession of the committee, however, and many communications among Meadows and Trump family members, attorneys and political advisers related to Jan. 6 have previously been reported.
  • "I am an intelligence officer by training," Riggleman writes in the book's introduction. "There is nothing more valuable than raw data. I tried my best to get out of its way. I am not asking you to like me or even to trust me. I want to let the data do the talking."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from the Jan. 6 committee.

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