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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Woodward

GOP congressman texted Mark Meadows calling for Trump to declare ‘marshall law’ over 2020 election

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Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows handed hundreds of text messages to the House select committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol, fuelled by the former president’s baseless narrative that the 2020 election was “stolen” from or “rigged” against him.

A trove of messages that Mr Meadows was ordered to provide the committee include links to far-right websites with dubious legal theories and support for antidemocratic power grabs, according to messages obtained by Talking Points Memo.

In one message, Republican congressman Ralph Norman urges Mr Meadows to tell then-President Trump to embrace : declare martial law.

He wrote: “We are at a point of no return in saving our Republic !! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!”

The collection of messages Mr Meadows sent to the committee, which is mulling whether to send criminal referrals to the US Department of Justice, includes at least 364 messages from congressional Republicans who discussed objections, legal challenges and antidemocratic efforts to overturn Mr Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election.

One message from Trump campaign aide Jason Miller described Republican US Rep Mo Brooks’s office as a “ringleader” for the “Jan 6th deal”.

“They say they will have as many as 50 members on board 1/6…but we won’t have a list of names until Sunday or Monday,” the message reads, according to Talking Points Memo. “If we’re hoping to move real numbers on the 6th, I think we need to quickly start mobilizing our real-deal allies. I’m ready to go, I have bodies to help, will follow your lead.”

Mr Meadows replied: “Thanks Jason. You are the best. I will bring it up with potus”.

On 5 November, two days before networks began predicting Joe Biden’s victory, US Rep Brian Babin wrote to Mr Meadows saying that “many of us as Republican House members want to help the President in any way we can to prevent the outright theft of this presidential election.”

In another message, obtained by TPM, US Rep Mark Green shared a link to piece from far-right network Newsmax arguing that state legislatures had the power to “declare” Trump the winner based on unproven allegations of fraud, a spurious legal theory central to the Trump campaign’s legal challenges in states that he lost.

US Greg Murphy also shared a piece from Revolver, a far-right website operated by former Trump speechwriter Darren Beattie, who was fired in August 2018 after it was revealed he had participated in a conference with white nationalists. The piece called on Republican-controlled state legislature to “appoint pro-Trump electors”.

“Why are we not pursuing this strategy?” he asked.

Mr Meadows reportedly did not respond.

Congressman Brooks texted Mr Meadows on 21 December, 2020 about plans for a “White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies.” Mr Meadows later messaged Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade, confirming the meeting among the president, Mr Meadow and “about 15 members of Congress to discuss the evidence of voter fraud in various states as well as discuss the strategy for making the case to the American people.”

Among those who attended that meeting, according to the committee, include US Reps Brian Babin, Andy Biggs, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Andy Harris, Jody Hice, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry and then-incoming congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

On 31 December, Ms Greene texted Mark that “we have to get organized for the 6th”.

“I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again,” she wrote, according to CNN. “We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state.”

On 5 January, Mr Jordan texted Mr Meadows urging Vice President Mike Pence to “call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all”.

“I have pushed for this,” Mr Meadows responded. “Not sure it is going to happen.”

Days before President Biden’s inauguration, Congresswoman Greene urged Mr Trump to declare martial law.

“In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall [sic] law,” she wrote to Mr Meadows. “They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!”

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