Text messages obtained by CNN showed that one of the operatives behind efforts to seize voting machines communicated directly with former president Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Phil Waldron, who had promoted election-related conspiracy theories, reportedly texted Mr Meadows on 23 December saying that a judge in Arizona dismissed a lawsuit by Republicans who supported the then-president which would have demanded that the state hand over voting machines and other election equipment as evidence that the election was stolen.
Mr Waldron reportedly told Mr Meadows it would allow their opponents to engage in “delay tactics” that would prevent Mr Waldron and his allies from accessing the voting machines, to which Mr Meadows replied, “Pathetic.”
Mr Waldron reportedly called Arizona “our lead domino we were counting on to start the cascade”, referring to the fact that similar efforts would succeed in places like Georgia.
The messages reveal how much Mr Meadows actively participated in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, even as some former Trump administration officials considered these ideas fringe.
Mr Meadows also communicated with Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas about efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Mr Waldron, who has ties to former national security adviser Michael Flynn, was behind some of the more outlandish schemes to overturn the 2020 election and also sent Mr Meadows a powerpoint presentation for overturning the election results entitled “Options for 6 Jan”, which was later used to brief House Republicans.
Mr Waldron also drafted an executive order that Mr Trump never signed that would have allowed the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines.
In addition, on 28 December 2020, Mr Waldron texted Mr Meadows and said a member of his team analyzed “several counties” and hinted at evidence of a “Southern steal,” a reference to alleged voting irregularities that had changed the election outcome in certain localities.
“Ok,” Mr Meadows texted.
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