New details show Georgia Republicans’ actions on and before Jan. 6 attack

Two Georgia Republicans attended a White House meeting with then-President Donald Trump’s advisers and discussed overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election, court documents show.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had been elected but not yet sworn in, joined other congressional Republicans during the December 2020 meeting, according to testimony released by the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. They discussed whether Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to reject presidential electors from key swing states such as Georgia and allow Republican legislators to select alternative electors who would vote for Trump.

The testimony suggests Hice, R-Greensboro, and Greene, R-Rome, played bigger roles in Trump’s effort to overturn the election in Georgia than previously known. Hice is now running for secretary of state, a position that would put him in charge of running Georgia’s elections.

Separately, CNN reported Monday that Greene and other Georgia Republicans were in frequent contact with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Some of those texts show lawmakers expressing alarm as the violence unfolded, but others show them planning to overturn the election both before and after the melee.

A Dec. 31, 2020, text from Greene to Meadows suggests she played a role in drafting Trump’s game plan on the day Congress would tally Electoral College votes.

“We have to get organized for the 6th,” Greene wrote. “I would like to meet with (Trump attorney) Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state.”

The new revelations could complicate her defense as she fends off an effort to disqualify her from seeking reelection because of her alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack. The group behind the challenge said it will file a new briefing with the state administrative court based on the newly released text messages.

Greene’s spokesman said she was touring the U.S. border with Mexico and could not comment on the reports. Hice declined to comment.

The cache of text messages is the latest in a flood of new details about events leading to the Jan. 6 attack as the House committee prepares to release its findings later this year.

Georgia Republicans played a key role in supporting Trump’s effort to reverse Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow victory here. A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found a group of state legislators went to great lengths to aid Trump’s effort to overturn the election. When lawsuits failed to reverse the results, Trump allies sought to convene the General Assembly to appoint alternative electors who would vote for him.

ExploreInside the campaign to undermine Georgia’s election

Republicans in other states also sought to appoint alternative electors. Those efforts now are the subject of a Justice Department criminal investigation, and they are one focus of the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis has also received permission to convene a special grand jury to consider evidence in her criminal probe of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in Georgia.

The House Jan. 6 committee has heard testimony from hundreds of people with information about the attack and Trump’s effort to overturn the election. The latest disclosures come from a deposition from Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

Her deposition is included in court documents filed last week in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. It’s part of a lawsuit in which Meadows seeks to thwart a congressional subpoena to compel his testimony about the events that led to the Jan. 6 attack.

Hutchinson told investigators about a Dec. 21, 2020, White House meeting between Trump advisers and members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Hice and Greene were among those who attended.

The testimony does not include details about what the Georgians said during that gathering. And Hutchinson said she wasn’t present for the entire meeting.

But she doesn’t recall any House member speaking out against the idea of having Pence overturn the election. It was a legal strategy championed by Trump attorney John Eastman but condemned by legal scholars across the political spectrum.

“They felt that he had the authority to — pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but — send votes back to the states or the electors back to the states, more along the lines of the Eastman theory,” Hutchinson testified.

Hice and Greene have spread false allegations of voting fraud in Georgia. Hice continues to claim Trump won Georgia as he seeks to oust incumbent Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the May primary election.

ExploreFive fraud claims: What investigators found

CNN’s report on Meadows’ texts also sheds light on the actions of other Georgia Republicans.

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk texted Meadows several times to express alarm during the Jan. 6 attack.

“It’s really bad up here on the hill. They have breached the Capitol,” the Cassville Republican wrote.

“POTUS (president of the United States) is engaging,” Meadows responded.

“Thanks. This doesn’t help our cause,” Loudermilk replied.

A Loudermilk spokesman said the texts “relay exactly how the congressman was feeling at the time and they speak for themselves.”

Three days after the attack, U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens, texted Meadows to “pass to POTUS (President of the United States) that we are still with him,” CNN reported.

Clyde did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Greene also texted Meadows on Jan. 6, asking for Trump’s intervention as rioters stormed the Capitol. “Mark I was just told there is an active shooter on the first floor of the Capitol Please tell the President to calm people,” she texted. “This isn’t the way to solve anything.”

Later that day, Greene texted suspicions that the attackers were anti-fascist activists “dressed like Trump supporters.” Investigators have found no evidence that Antifa played a role in the attack.

A group of voters has filed a challenge in hopes of preventing Greene from seeking reelection based on allegations that her actions leading up to and on Jan. 6 amount to facilitating a rebellion against the government. Greene has repeatedly denied aiding or engaging in an insurrection, and no evidence has surfaced tying her to the violence of that day.

She testified for several hours during an evidentiary hearing Friday, but mostly she said she could not remember details about conversations she had with Trump or his allies surrounding efforts to overturn the election. Greene said she couldn’t recall whether she urged Trump to impose martial law to remain in power.

But at least one newly released text between Greene and Meadows complicates some of that testimony.

On Jan. 17, 2021, she apparently texted Meadows about discussions among Republican House members on that very topic.

“In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall (sic) law,” she wrote. “I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know.”

Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, the group seeking to prevent Greene from running again, said he will amend the complaint in light of her newly released texts.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene testified under oath that she could not remember telling Trump or his chief of staff to declare martial law to try to keep Trump in power, but her own texts reveal that she did exactly that,” Fein said. “Greene’s dishonesty about her call for martial law helps illustrate why she was not a credible witness in answering questions on whether she facilitated the January 6 insurrection.”