The House select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection believes ex-Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is responsible for sending a text message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows which suggested that three state legislatures to unilaterally declare former president Donald Trump the winner of last year’s presidential election in those states against the will of voters.
On Friday, CNN reported that Mr Perry, who served as Texas’ governor before being tapped to lead the Department of Energy by Trump sent a 4 November text message to Mr Meadows which advocated for an “AGRESSIVE [sic] STRATEGY” of having Republican-controlled state legislatures in Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania “declare this is BS (where conflicts and election not called that night) and just send their own electors to vote and have it go to the SCOTUS.”
The Independent has not yet been able to verify that Mr Perry is indeed the author of the message, which was first revealed to the public on Tuesday by Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin during debate over whether the House of Representatives would refer Mr Meadows to the Justice Department for prosecution on criminal contempt of congress charges.
Speaking on the House floor, Mr Raskin asked: “How did this text influence the planning of Mark Meadows and Donald Trump to try to destroy the lawful electoral college majority that had been established by the people of the United States and the states for Joe Biden?”
He later added: “Those are the kinds of questions that we have a right to ask Mark Meadows.”
At the time Mr Meadows received the text message in question, none of the three states listed had been called for Mr Trump or Mr Biden because election workers were still opening and counting postal ballots that had been cast prior to the 3 November election.
When the counting was complete, Mr Trump ended up winning North Carolina, with Georgia’s electoral votes being called for Mr Biden shortly thereafter.
Pennsylvania’s results remained in limbo until 7 December, when most news organisations called the Keystone State’s electoral votes — and the 2020 election — for Mr Biden.