Texts show Georgia Republicans sharing election conspiracy theories to aid Trump

State Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone, was in contact with Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the weeks following the November 2020 presidential election, newly uncovered text messages show. (File photo by Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)



State Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone, was in contact with Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the weeks following the November 2020 presidential election, newly uncovered text messages show. (File photo by Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Some Georgia Republicans shared wild conspiracy theories with the White House as former President Donald Trump tried to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory here, newly uncovered text messages show.

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans, shared unverified reports that breaches of driver’s license data led to widespread voter fraud with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, documents obtained by the online news organization Talking Points Memo show.

And state Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone, sent Meadows messages about Italygate – a debunked conspiracy theory that Italian defense contractors manipulated election results via satellite. Harbin also kept Meadows apprised of efforts to overturn Biden’s victory in the Georgia General Assembly, Talking Points Memo reported.

State and federal investigators have found no evidence of enough fraud to change the outcome of the election in Georgia and other states Biden won. But Meadows’ text messages show Allen, Harbin and other Republicans across the country seized on the allegations as they sought to overturn Biden’s victory – a campaign that culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“From what I can tell so far looks like this is high tech and foreign governments in collusion with Democratic Party to guarantee Biden would win which explains that the President was hundreds of thousands of votes ahead until they figured out what they needed,” Allen said in one message to Meadows. “As I said this is wild stuff!”

Allen declined to answer questions about the texts Wednesday, and his office didn’t respond to a follow-up email. Harbin declined to comment.

Talking Points Memo obtained a log of 2,319 Meadows text messages turned over to the House select committee investigating the events that led to the Jan. 6 attack. The committee is preparing to release its final report as soon as next week.

The Meadows texts shed light on the coordination between the White House and Georgia Republicans as Trump sought to overturn Biden’s victory. They show some Georgia Republicans simply could not believe Biden had won Georgia and embraced the wildest explanations for Trump’s loss as they sought to reverse it.

“There is no way in Georgia that the down ballot (Republicans) out performed the President,” Allen texted Meadows on Thanksgiving night 2020. “In my District the President won by 17 points and I won by 18 in an R5 District. Tell the President to hang in there, so many are praying for God’s revelation and a miracle!”

Meadows enlisted Harbin in the campaign to void Biden’s victory just two days after the election, Talking Points Memo reported. On Nov. 5, Meadows asked Harbin to contact a conservative pundit who had been urging state legislators to “take over the counting process” in key states.

Over the next few weeks, Harbin kept Meadows informed of Georgia legislators’ efforts to overturn Biden’s victory. In late December, Harbin also shared with Meadows links related to the Italygate conspiracy theory.

“Mark, If this is true it would be a game changer for Georgia,” Harbin said. “We need to act quickly. God’s wisdom my friend.”

“I will check it out,” Meadows replied.

Harbin was one of numerous Georgia Republicans who fought to overturn Biden’s victory here. He applauded an unsuccessful Texas lawsuit that sought to invalidate the results and joined other Republicans in filing a court brief in support of Texas.

He also signed a petition calling for a special session of the General Assembly to review the election results (Gov. Brian Kemp and legislative leaders nixed the idea) and signed a letter urging Pence to delay certification of the election on Jan. 6 to allow state lawmakers to investigate fraud claims (the letter apparently was not delivered).

Allen was one of the Georgia Republicans who supported invalidating Georgia’s election results on the evening of Jan. 6.

The texts also show Meadows’ interactions with other Georgia Republicans. One example: Then-U.S. Sen. David Perdue connected legislative leaders with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and later raised concerns with Meadows that the president could cancel a rally the night before his Jan. 5, 2021 runoff against Jon Ossoff.

“That would be a disaster here. Can you call me? Thanks,” Perdue wrote.

The texts also include Meadows’ exchange with Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs during Trump’s infamous Jan. 2, 2021, phone call to Raffensperger. The exchange was originally reported by CNN last spring. In that call, Trump asked Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” – one more than he needed to defeat Biden.

“Need to end this call,” Fuchs texted Meadows during the call. “I don’t think this will be productive much longer.”

“OK,” Meadows responded.

“Let’s save this relationship,” Fuchs continued. A few minutes later – apparently after the call ended – she texted Meadows again: “Thank you. Wow.”

Staff writer Tia Mitchell contributed to this report.