The Jan. 6 committee admitted that it changed a text message between former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan, excluding relevant context about how they wanted then-Vice President Mike Pence to handle electoral votes.
A spokesman said Wednesday that the graphics Rep. Adam Schiff showed during a Monday-night hearing about the newly obtained communications between top Trump officials had been reformatted to support the view that Meadows wanted Pence to overturn the election results.
“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,” a spokesman for the select committee said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
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The committee cut off half a sentence and paragraphs of further information, then added a period and changed the format so it appeared to be the whole message, the Federalist first reported. The full message was a short summary of a legal briefing Jordan forwarded from lawyer Joseph Schmitz to Meadows on Jan. 5, meaning that a "lawmaker" did not write the message at all, the report added.
The committee's spokesman provided the entire paragraph "in the interests of transparency."
“On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all the 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,” Schmitz's original text read. “‘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,” Schmitz's text continued.
People familiar with Jordan said they were suspicious of the message because the representative tends to text with one or two words rather than paragraphs.
Earlier this week, Jan. 6 committee Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney presented samples of text messages from Trump allies imploring the then-president to respond to the Capitol riot as it was unfolding. While Cheney did not detail who sent the messages, Watergate sleuth Carl Bernstein predicted it was "inevitable" their identities will eventually be revealed.
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Federal agents have arrested more than 500 people after their participation in the Jan. 6 siege, during which a swarm of rioters stormed the Capitol in an effort to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden's electoral victory.
Jordan, Meadows, and Schiff did not respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.