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Jim Jordan concedes he sent controversial Jan. 5 text to Meadows

Rep. Jim Jordan now concedes he sent one of the controversial texts to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ahead of the Jan. 6 attack.

Before ending his cooperation with the investigation into the Jan. 6 attack, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shared thousands of pages of materials with the House committee examining the Capitol assault. This included a series of text messages congressional Republicans sent to Meadows after Election Day 2020.

This week, the bipartisan committee released many of these texts to the public — the point was to emphasize Meadows' importance to the investigation — but the panel did not disclose who sent them.

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the Jan. 6 panel, told NBC News yesterday, in reference to the senders, there "won't be any surprises as to who they are."

It wasn't difficult to start imagining some of the names. In fact, as NBC News reported yesterday, one of them voluntarily conceded yesterday that he sent one of the controversial messages — though his acknowledgement came with some caveats.

Rep. Jim Jordan's office confirmed Wednesday that the Ohio Republican was one of the lawmakers whose text messages to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows were released this week by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The far-right congressman — who was tapped to serve on the Jan. 6 committee before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected him — raised two points of concern yesterday, both of which he saw as exculpatory.

First, Jordan's office said the text in question, as revealed by investigators, was truncated this week. That's true. The message we saw was sent the day before the attack ad and 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."

The rest of the text added ostensibly supporting arguments intended to defend the dangerous claim that Pence had the authority to disregard electoral votes Republicans disapproved of.

Second, the Ohioan's office added that Jordan didn't author the text; he simply forwarded the text written by someone else, bringing it to the attention of the then-White House chief of staff.

As best as I can tell, that's also true. NBC News' report added that Joseph Schmitz, a conservative lawyer and adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, sent the legal theory to Jordan who then passed it on to Meadows.

The problem with these defenses is that they don't exonerate Jordan in the slightest.

The fact that the original text was longer is irrelevant, since the omitted part was merely an extension of the disclosed message. The fact that Jordan forwarded someone else's message could be relevant, if the congressman sent it along with a subtext that effectively said, "Can you believe this garbage? Let's make sure the White House steers clear of dangerous strategies like these."

But that's obviously not what happened.

In the run up to the Jan. 6 attack, far too many Republicans, including Jordan, were exploring ways to overturn the results of a free and fair American election. The GOP congressman didn't forward that text to Meadows because he thought it was bonkers; he forwarded it because he thought it had merit. It pointed to a plot in which the then-vice president would disregard election results Republicans disapproved of, as part of a larger scheme to give power to a president who'd been rejected by his country's electorate.

Jordan played a direct role in advancing these ideas with the White House. It's why Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell last night, "Look, Jim Jordan is a traitor. He's a traitor to the Constitution of the United States. He has been a traitor to the Constitution of the United States for quite a while, and now we actually have it in text."

Postscript: Over the summer, Jordan struggled with questions about whether he spoke with Trump on Jan. 6. Those questions seem relevant anew.