Rep. Jim Jordan forwarded a text message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 5, outlining a legal theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to stand in the way of the certification of the 2020 election.
A portion of that message was read by the January 6 select committee during their contempt report presentation against Meadows in a meeting this week. The full House voted Tuesday night to refer Meadows to the Justice Department.
A spokesperson for Jordan, an Ohio Republican, confirmed to CNN that he forwarded a text to Meadows on January 5 that was sent to him by Joseph Schmitz, a former Department of Defense inspector general. Schmitz’s text included a draft presentation arguing that Pence had the constitutional authority to object to the certification of election results from certain states.
“Mr. Jordan forwarded the text to Mr. Meadows, and Mr. Meadows certainly knew it was a forward,” Russell Dye, a spokesperson for Jordan confirmed to CNN.
The conservative website “The Federalist” was the first to report that Jordan forwarded the text to Meadows.
The committee, during their presentation, shared only a portion of the text on a graphic that was read by Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California. A committee source tells CNN an aide inadvertently placed a period before the end of a sentence in the graphic that was not in the original text.
Schiff read this from an “unnamed lawmaker:”
‘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 .”
Three sources confirm to CNN that the full text that Jordan forwarded to Meadows included specific information about the legal theory and contained a word document that outlined the strategy.
The sources said the full message was:
“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 text from Jordan is another example of the intense pressure campaign put on Pence by Trump supporters to act on unproven legal theories as a last-ditch effort to prevent the certification of the election results. It was pressure Pence ultimately rejected.
During his presentation, Schiff argued the text was evidence that Meadows was at the center of this pressure campaign and that the committee needed to ask him questions about the substance of the text and what he did with the information.
“You can see why this is so critical to ask Mr. Meadows about,” Schiff said. “About a lawmaker suggesting that the former vice president simply throw out votes that he unilaterally deems unconstitutional in order to overturn a presidential election and subvert the will of the American people.”