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Recording sheds new light on Cruz’s efforts to overturn 2020 election

Ted Cruz would probably like to move on from his post-2020 election schemes, but the presidential race apparently isn’t done with the senator just yet.


In the days following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Ted Cruz was widely seen as among the most tarnished members of Congress. Pointing to the senator’s anti-election efforts, the editorial board of The Houston Chronicle, for example, called for the Texas Republican to resign. Similarly, the editorial board of The San Antonio Express News called for Cruz’s expulsion from Capitol Hill.

A day later, Chad Sweet, a longtime Cruz friend and a former CIA operative who chaired the senator’s 2016 presidential campaign, denounced the senator for abetting an “assault on our democracy.” Soon after, a Republican senator appeared on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” and said that Cruz was not only “complicit in the Big Lie,” the Texan was also one of the GOP lawmakers who had “a lot of soul searching to do.”

That didn’t happen. Cruz continued to pretend he’d done nothing wrong, as if his efforts to overturn the election were legitimate and defensible. They were not.

A year later, the far-right senator released a book, purportedly to take readers “through the evidence of election fraud and voter fraud in November 2020.” True to form, Cruz’s book failed to produce any meaningful evidence.

More than two years removed from the insurrectionist violence, it’s tempting to think that the GOP senator has left the 2020 race behind. In fact, NBC News recently reported that Cruz is even trying to “show some bipartisan credentials” as he prepares for his re-election campaign in Texas next year.

But the last presidential race isn’t done with the senator just yet.

Last week, MSNBC’s Ari Melber, host of “The Beat,” obtained a recording of a Cruz phone call with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo from Nov. 7, 2020, in which the Republican lawmaker stressed that Donald Trump and his team would need to come up with some “actual evidence” to support their election conspiracy theories.

No such evidence emerged, though Cruz nevertheless helped lead the effort to reject certification of the election results.

Yesterday, as The Washington Post reported, yet another relevant recording came to light.

Sen. Ted Cruz advocated the creation of a congressionally appointed electoral commission ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to make a credible assessment of unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, according to a recording made by Abby Grossberg, a former producer at Fox News.

The Jan. 2, 2021, recording — much of which Melber aired on his MSNBC program yesterday afternoon — “sheds new light on the scope of Cruz’s scheming to assist Donald Trump in overturning Biden’s victory,” the Post added.

The senator’s plan, evidently, was to push for some kind of “commission” that would slow down the certification process and pursue baseless conspiracy theories, all as part of a broader scheme to keep the losing candidate in the White House.

“Is there any chance you can overturn this?” Bartiromo asked Cruz. “I hope so,” he responded.

“Basically,” Melber explained to viewers, “they would hijack the certification and use their own made-up, fake commission to declare that the Biden win was fraudulent and then that would decide who was inaugurated.”

Cruz responded yesterday by insisting that the comments he made privately to Bartiromo were consistent with rhetoric he peddled publicly at the time.

If the senator thinks that’s a compelling defense for trying to overturn a free and fair American presidential election, he’s mistaken.