Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) confirmed Wednesday that he forwarded a message to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 5 that was revealed in part this week by the House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
The text outlined a legal argument that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to interfere in the certification of the Electoral College count in the 2020 election as pro-Trump Republicans tried to nullify Joe Biden’s win.
Part of it was presented during a Monday hearing of the House select committee, but it was attributed to an unnamed lawmaker.
Joseph Schmitz, a conservative attorney who once served as national security adviser on former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, sent the legal theory to Jordan, who then forwarded it to Meadows, a spokesperson for Jordan told Politico.
“Mr. Jordan forwarded the text to Mr. Meadows, and Mr. Meadows certainly knew it was a forward,” the spokesperson said.
Some Republicans have complained that when Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) presented the text, he displayed a graphic showing only the first portion of the message, with a period added at the end.
Jordan’s office claimed the shortened version was misrepresenting his message.
The full text begins with that portion and goes on to detail the supposed legal framework to enable Pence to overturn the election.
It was as follows, according to news outlets including the conservative website The Federalist, which first reported it:
“On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all — in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. ‘No legislative act,’ wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, ‘contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.’ The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: ‘That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.’ 226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916). Following this rationale, an unconstitutionally appointed elector, like an unconstitutionally enacted statute, is no elector at all.’”
The Jan. 6 committee took responsibility for adding the punctuation and acknowledged it had trimmed the text before publicizing it.
“The Select Committee is responsible for and regrets the error,” a spokesperson told several news outlets Wednesday.
The text, partial or whole, demonstrates just another example of the pressure Trump’s allies were applying on Pence in the lead-up to Jan. 6 to try to impede the pro forma counting of the Electoral College votes.
Pence resisted the pressure, eliciting the wrath of Trump supporters, some of whom chanted “Hang Mike Pence” as they stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to halt the congressional process.
Schiff argued Monday that the text served as evidence that Meadows was central to the pressure campaign and that the panel needed to question him about how he responded to the information.
The House voted Tuesday to refer Meadows to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges over his refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena to testify before the select committee. Just two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), both of whom sit on the select committee, joined Democrats to support the measure.
Questions have swirled for months about Jordan’s involvement before, during and after the Capitol riot. The lawmaker has been evasive and inconsistent about whether he communicated with Trump around the time of the attack.