Mark Meadows joked about the baseless claim that large numbers of votes were fraudulently cast in the names of dead people in the days before the then-White House chief of staff participated in a phone call in which then-President Trump alleged there were close to 5,000 dead voters in Georgia and urged Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the 2020 election there.
In a text message that has been scrutinized by federal prosecutors, Meadows wrote to a White House lawyer that his son, Atlanta-area attorney Blake Meadows, had been probing possible fraud and had found only a handful of possible votes cast in dead voters’ names, far short of what Trump was alleging. The lawyer teasingly responded that perhaps Meadows’s son could locate the thousands of votes Trump would need to win the election. The text was described by multiple people familiar with the exchange.
The jocular text message, which has not been previously reported, is one of many exchanges from the time in which Trump aides and other Republican officials expressed deep skepticism or even openly mocked the election claims being made publicly by Trump, according to people familiar with the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the criminal investigation.
Special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading a Justice Department investigation of Trump’s activities in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, has focused on exploring whether Trump and his closest advisers understood that claims of fraud in the election were baseless, even as they pressed state officials and others to overturn Biden’s victory and convinced Trump’s millions of supporters that the election had been stolen, people familiar with the probe have said.
The text message is a small part of a broader portrait of Meadows that Smith appears to be assembling as he weighs the actions of not just Trump but a number of his closest advisers, including Meadows. [Continue reading…]