Mike Lee, Chip Roy Texts Reveal Plot To Overturn 2020 Election

The GOP allies of former President Donald Trump actively supported his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election — right up until the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Newly revealed text messages between then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Chip Roy after the 2020 presidential election and through Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the bloody riot at the U.S. Capitol, suggest the plot to overturn a free and fair election involved high-ranking Republican officials far more extensively than previously known.

The text messages were obtained by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack and published by CNN on Friday.

Both Republican lawmakers were initially supportive of the Trump White House’s efforts to contest the 2020 presidential results in the months after the Nov. 3 election, repeatedly offering their assistance and requesting talking points in order to defend the plot in public appearances.

“Please give me something to work with. I just need to know what I should be saying,” Lee says in one Nov. 20, 2020, text message sent to Meadows.

In another text, Lee points Meadows to material from John Eastman, a right-wing attorney who authored “coup memos” for Donald Trump and supporters on how to overturn the presidential election. Eastman “has some really interesting research on this,” Lee said in the text message.

Lee, who styles himself a “constitutional conservative” and talks up adherence to the U.S. constitution frequently, suggested the White House pursue a campaign to contest thousands of votes in several states despite no evidence of widespread fraud, a move that would have allowed GOP officials in those states them to appoint alternate slates of electors.

“If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path,” Lee said in a Dec. 8 text message to Meadows.

However, by Jan. 3, 2021, just days before the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by hundreds of Trump supporters, Lee appeared to experience a change of heart. In text messages to Meadows, he warned the effort could “backfire badly” and urged him to convince Trump to change course.

“We simply have no authority to reject a state’s certified electoral votes in the absence of a dueling slates, with the Trump slate coming from a state legislative determination,” Lee said on Jan. 4.

Lee went on to vote against an objection to the 2020 presidential results on Jan. 6, unlike some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate. Still, the Utah Republican voted to acquit Trump during his second impeachment trial, which was held following the deadly attack on the Capitol.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who served as chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) before being elected to Congress, similarly endorsed the strategy to contest the 2020 electoral results following the Nov. 3 presidential election. But he, too, changed his mind just days before it was too late.

Roy, at least, was more forceful in warning Meadows about his boss’ push to overturn a free and fair election. Still, it came pretty late.

“The President should call everyone off. It’s the only path. If we substitute the will of states through electors with a vote by Congress every 4 years… we have destroyed the electoral college ... Respectfully,” Roy texted Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020.

“If POTUS allows this to occur ... we’re driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic ... ” he added on Jan. 1, five days before the Jan. 6 riot.

Read all the correspondence between the Republicans here.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the date of the 2020 election.

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