Members of Congress investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol believe that Rick Perry, former Texas governor and U.S. energy secretary, authored a text message encouraging the Trump administration to direct three GOP-led state legislatures to ignore 2020 election results and deliver their state’s electoral votes to Donald Trump, according to a report from CNN,which cited three sources familiar with the investigation but did not name them.
The text message was sent to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows one day after the 2020 election, before all legal votes in the nation had been counted and certified. The text promoted an “AGRESSIVE [sic] STRATEGY” that would call into question the election results in at least three states won by President Joe Biden and create a possible constitutional crisis.
The text, released this week in a collection of documents Meadows turned over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, reads in full:
“HERE’s an AGRESSIVE [sic] STRATEGY: Why can t [sic] the states of GA NC PENN and other R controlled state houses 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.”
A spokesman for Perry told CNN that he denies being the author of the message. Multiple people told the news outlet that the phone number associated with the message belongs to Perry and it appears in databases as being registered to a James Richard Perry in Texas, which is Perry’s full name.
The U.S. House voted Tuesday to recommend holding Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with its investigation into the events of Jan. 6. The Justice Department now will decide whether to prosecute Meadows.
During debate in the House over the vote, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, referenced the text message and said it demonstrated the need for further explanation from Meadows about the attack.
“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,” Raskin asked, according to CNN.