On Thursday, ahead of the first public hearings of the January 6 Committee, The New York Times reported that the plan to overturn the election Donald Trump Jr. relayed to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows originated with former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.
"On Nov. 5, 2020, as his father waited for key states to finish counting their votes, Donald Trump Jr. relayed over text message a series of suggestions to Mr. Meadows, the White House chief of staff, for how President Trump could stay in power," said the report. "One message referred to Jan. 6, 2021, when the vice president would oversee the congressional certification of the Electoral College votes — typically a routine process. The message described the date as a last-ditch option, one that would be meaningful only if the Trump forces could engineer a situation in which neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Biden, the election’s winner, was found to have amassed enough electoral votes to win and the race was sent to the House of Representatives to decide."
"That plan had been pushed by Mr. Trump’s informal adviser Stephen K. Bannon, and a person familiar with the younger Mr. Trump’s text message identified Mr. Bannon as being the source of the information," said the report. "This tactic would involve two strands: pressing Mr. Pence to agree to flout the Constitution on the critical date of Jan. 6, and creating at least the appearance that there were alternate slates of pro-Trump electors from swing states that had clearly been won by Mr. Biden. The electors plan is now under scrutiny by federal prosecutors."
Previous reporting revealed that far-right attorney John Eastman, another ally of Trump, drafted a memo purporting to show the legal basis for this plan.
"The plan to replace legitimate electors for Mr. Biden with alternate electors for Mr. Trump ramped up just days after the election when the pro-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell emailed Mr. Eastman, a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, to assign him the task of producing a memo to create a legal framework to challenge the electoral certification in Congress," said the report.
The upcoming hearings are set to reveal new details about the attack on the U.S. Capitol and the plotting in Trump's inner circle over the months beforehand.