Donald Trump Jr. explained in a text to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows how to seize “operational control” of the presidency for his father, President Donald Trump, just after the 2020 election, CNN reported Friday.
The former president’s eldest son had little concern for how Americans voted, according to messages he sent Meadows that were reviewed by CNN. He pointed to Republican majorities in the Senate and in swing state legislatures that could be utilized to wrest control of the election from voters.
He suggested a number of steps that Trump allies were already developing to change the results of the election in the event of Trump’s loss. They included lawsuits to block the results and pressing state lawmakers to demand recounts and to present a slate of fake electors who would support Trump, against voters’ wishes.
Trump Jr. argued to Meadows that ultimately, Republican lawmakers could simply vote to keep Trump in the White House, CNN reported.
“We have operational control Total leverage,” his message insisted, according to CNN. “Moral High Ground POTUS must start 2nd term now.”
Trump Jr.’s lawyer Alan S. Futerfas said in a statement to CNN that his client was likely forwarding a message to Meadows that had been written by someone else — though he didn’t say who.
“After the election, Don received numerous messages from supporters and others. Given the date, this message likely originated from someone else and was forwarded,” Futerfas told CNN.
Last month, U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote in a decision that he believed the former president and Eastman had launched a “campaign to overturn a democratic election — an action unprecedented in American history.” Carter referred to it as an attempted “coup in search of a legal theory,” and said it was “more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021” to prevent his loss from becoming official.
Carter ordered Eastman to release 101 emails he’d written on the subject to the House Select Committee investigating last year’s Jan. 6 insurrection, ruling that Eastman had not made a sufficient claim to attorney-client privilege. The committee received the emails earlier this week.