Leaked texts show Mark Meadows was in direct contact with operative who plotted to seize voting machines
Mark Meadows speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Text messages obtained by CNN show that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in late 2020 was in direct contact with a pro-Trump operative who was plotting to seize voting machines from key swing states.

Specifically, the texts show that Meadows was receiving texts from Phil Waldron, a conspiracy theorist who was a top advocate for having Trump seize voting machines so that they could be inspected for purported foreign tampering.

The texts in question date from late December 2020 and they show Waldron giving Meadows details about lawsuits he and his allies filed to get Arizona to hand over access to its voting machines -- and he described Arizona as "our lead domino... to start the cascade" of other states handing over voting machines.

However, this plan was thwarted when a judge dismissed the lawsuit in a ruling that Meadows angrily described as "pathetic" in a message to Waldron.

"The messages also provide an early window into how an effort to gain access to voting machines through the courts and state legislatures morphed into a more clandestine endeavor that is now the subject of multiple criminal investigations," writes CNN. "Despite attempts to distance himself from the more dubious attempts to keep Trump in office, the messages underscore how Meadows was an active participant, engaging with someone who former White House officials have described as a fringe outsider peddling outlandish ideas."