ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 04: An election worker counts Fulton County ballots at State Farm Arena on November 4, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2020 presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still too close to call with outstanding ballots to count. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
CNN reporter explains why the latest Georgia 2020 election probe development is 'major'
01:57 - Source: CNN
New York CNN Business  — 

In early January 2021, during the politically turbulent time before Joe Biden assumed the office of the presidency, the executive producer of Sean Hannity’s radio show sought to meet directly with then-President Donald Trump.

The producer, Lynda McLaughlin, texted Mark Meadows, Trump’s acting chief of staff at the time, with a big ask, claiming she had “hard data” which “show[ed] proof of the fraud” — evidently about the 2020 election. McLaughlin characterized the dubious information as “irrefutable” and wanted to take it straight to Trump.

“Mark – are we able to present our data to POTUS?” McLaughlin asked.

The texts, which have not been previously reported, were published in “The Breach,” the new book out Tuesday from former Rep. Denver Riggleman, who served as a previous adviser to the January 6 committee.

CNN Reliable Sources has independently obtained the same messages that McLaughlin sent to Meadows. (A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. You can sign up for free here.)

Riggleman’s unauthorized book, which has not been greeted warmly by the January 6 committee, bills itself as offering a “behind-the-scenes look” at the probe into the Capitol attack. It contains previously unpublished material, such as this exchange between McLaughlin and Meadows.

Through a spokesperson, McLaughlin declined to comment. A lawyer for Meadows did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did a spokesperson for Trump or spokespeople for Hannity.

The messages underscore the intimate relationship that Hannity, his team, and the right-wing media writ large shared with the Trump White House. The cozy relationship exposed in the messages lays bare that in many cases, right-wing media outlets and personalities not only positively covered the Trump White House, but actively worked arm-in-arm with it.

For instance, when McLaughlin texted Meadows introducing herself (“Hey it’s Lynda from Hannity”) and told Meadows she was “rallying the troops,” Meadows replied by thanking her for her “wonderful” contribution and connecting her with the Trump-supporting Rep. Jim Jordan. “Jim Jordon [sic] will gladly coordinate with the House team,” Meadows texted McLaughlin. “Do you need his contact?”

A spokesperson for Jordan didn’t respond to a request for comment.

And Meadows seemed to stop responding to McLaughlin later in the conversation, after she asked to meet with Trump. But messagfes, of course, show Meadows continued to communicate with Hannity until after the devastating attack on the Capitol. And it’s no secret Hannity himself worked as a top informal adviser to Trump.