- Georgia’s top election official ignored a December 2020 text from Mark Meadows, CNN reports.
- Staffers weren’t sure if it was him because they were slammed with so many texts about the election.
- A House Select Committee is probing Meadows’ role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ignored a text from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in December of 2020 because officials weren’t sure if it was really him, according to a CNN report.
The new reporting from CNN reveals additional details about Meadows’ efforts to overturn the election on behalf of former President Donald Trump, particularly by pressuring federal law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and officials in Georgia to probe outlandish election fraud conspiracy theories.
Meadows texted Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican chief election official, from a Gmail account. But “staffers were unsure if the message was real as they were getting inundated with calls and emails from people angry about the election results,” CNN wrote, so the message was ignored.
In addition to Meadows’ numerous entreaties to Georgia officials, Trump himself reportedly tried to call Raffensperger 18 times before their infamous January 2 phone call. On the call, which also included Meadows, Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find” the 11,780 votes necessary to reverse his election loss to President Joe Biden.
Meadows is now set to cooperate with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and the events leading up to it, including the efforts to overturn Trump’s election loss. The Committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, said Tuesday that Meadows had already begun turning over requested materials and is expected to sit for a deposition next week.
Documents obtained by the House Oversight Committee and released over the summer show that Meadows emailed high-ranking officials at the Department of Justice about the Trump campaign’s allegations of fraud in the presidential election in Georgia, none of which were ever substantiated in a court of law.
On January 1, Meadows emailed Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen asking the DOJ to probe purported “signature match anomalies” on absentee ballots in Fulton County, Georgia.
“Can you get Jeff Clark to engage on this issue immediately to determine if there is any truth to this allegation,” Meadows wrote, referring to another DOJ official who pushed conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
Rosen forwarded Meadows’ message to Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, adding, “Can you believe this? I am not going to respond to message below.”
Donoghue quipped back: “At least it’s better than the last one,” referring to a previous email Meadows sent Rosen of a link to a YouTube video pushing a conspiracy theory that Italy had hacked voting machines with military satellites to steal the election from Trump.
The next day, Meadows orchestrated the call with Trump, Raffensperger, and other officials.
Raffensperger recalls how Meadows set up the call in his memoir “Integrity Counts.” Raffensperger writes that Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs informed him that Trump wanted to speak to him after seeing him on Fox News, saying that Meadows was “insistent” on a call despite Raffensperger’s reluctance.
“Jordan called Meadows, and he agreed to our conditions. They scheduled the call for three o’clock. Perhaps, I thought hopefully, I could lay out the facts, and this would be the beginning of the end of the turmoil,” he wrote. “It wasn’t.”
Raffensperger voluntarily spoke to the January 6 Select Committee for four hours on Tuesday about the Trump call and other efforts to pressure him into backing false election fraud claims.