The massive trove of text messages turned over by Mark Meadows to the House select committee show Republican elected officials were willing to violate the U.S. Constitution on "bizarre" and obviously phony evidence.
Talking Points Memo reporter Hunter Walker obtained the messages, which show the former White House chief of staff communicating with GOP officials at all levels of government about far-fetched conspiracy theories to justify overturning Donald Trump's election loss, and he told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that their lack of sophistication was genuinely shocking.
"We're touching on something that is really a central thing here," Walker said. "I covered the Trump White House, and a big question is how many people are in on the joke and how many people are true believers. I first, you know, became familiar with the text log when I was working on my book, The Breach, which is about the Jan. 6 investigation. I co-wrote it with [former GOP lawmaker] Denver Riggleman. He knows a lot of these people, and he was shocked when he opened the text log. He led the [select committee's] phone team, it was like looking into the mouth of madness, and even with that introduction, I had a similar reaction."
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"Adults in government, not only engaging in frighteningly undemocratic language, but their base intelligence is called into question," Walker continued. "You're talking about the wild Italian theory, people were taking it seriously. We see another instance where someone has a bizarre theory from a Romanian YouTube video that any of us would know not to tweet, based on stuff from 2005 that they somehow thought carried over to 2022. The information literacy of our members of Congress is called into question here, and that's part of why we thought it was more important to present more of the totality of the these texts you have seen anywhere before, and our text team made sure you can see them in a phone as they were received, because the typos, the wild links, all of this is really important."
"One last point, and this is something that shouldn't be lost in this discussion," he added. "We see the pressure, we see it in real time in these texts on people like Doug Ducey, that was on people like Brad Raffensperger, that was on people like the Arizona attorney general. Scott Perry, the same guy sending this Italian theory, is talking about lobbying to have Trump pressure the Italian government and Pennsylvania legislatures, and you know, I think one of the things we see is if these people had given into the pressure, all of this plotting just might have worked."
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