Congressman’s admission comes after text was released to Jan 6 committee by former White House chief of staff
Ohio congressman Jim Jordan confirmed on Wednesday that he was the author of a text message to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on 5 January that outlined an argument in favour of Vice President Mike Pence interfering in the election certification process.
The message, which described Mr Pence’s supposed ability to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes from states where the Trump campaign had falsely alleged widespread voter fraud, was sent just hours before rioters inspired by those false claims would storm the Capitol in an attempt to halt the process.
Mr Jordan’s office told Politico on Wednesday afternoon that “Mr Jordan forwarded the text to Mr Meadows, and Mr Meadows certainly knew it was a forward.”
The admission comes as a disagreement has erupted between Republicans and Democrats over the text after Rep Adam Schiff displayed a graphic detailing one portion of the message during a panel hearing on Monday. In the graphic, punctuation was added to the text where none had been before.
The Federalist, a pro-Trump blog, argued separately in an article that Mr Schiff had falsely characterised the words as coming from Mr Jordan himself, whereas they actually were authored by Joseph Schmitz, former Pentagon inspector general, for an upcoming opinion piece.
In the full text message, viewed by The Independent, it isn’t made clear that Mr Jordan is quoting another source, and Mr Schmitz’s name is not mentioned.
A spokesperson for the January 6 investigative committee told The Independent that the punctuation had been added to the message in “error”.
“The Select Committee on Monday created and provided Representative Schiff a graphic to use during the business meeting quoting from a text message from ‘a lawmaker’ to Mr Meadows. The graphic read, ‘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 the graphic, the period at the end of that sentence was added inadvertently. The Select Committee is responsible for and regrets the error.”
The full text of Mr Schmitz’s remarks forwarded by Mr Jordan, obtained by The Independent, still point to a desire by Republicans for Mr Pence to interfere with the process, regardless of who authored them initially.
“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,” reads the full message.
Allies of former President Donald Trump were never able to offer firm proof of widespread voter fraud in any state, beyond sworn affidavits from people who believed they witnessed misconduct.
The federal government including Mr Trump’s own attorney general, Bill Barr, affirmed in public statements that the election results were not compromised by fraud.