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Why a specific text a GOP member sent to Meadows stands out

The day after Election Day 2020, a GOP lawmaker texted Mark Meadows about an "aggressive strategy" to overturn the results before knowing what they were.

As part of the contempt process against former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack has released a series of texts the Republican received after Election Day 2020. The point, of course, is to demonstrate Meadows' importance to the overall process.

To that end, members of the bipartisan select committee have spent much of this week doing something unexpected: They've provided examples of important revelations they learned thanks to materials Meadows provided to investigators before he stopped cooperating.

Specifically, text messages the North Carolina Republican shared shed extraordinary light on the perspectives of GOP members and their allies before, during, and immediately after the assault on the Capitol. Last night, the collection grew, as Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland shared a text one lawmaker sent to Meadows on Nov. 4, 2020. If you saw Rachel's A block from last night, you probably noticed this one:

"HERE's an AGRESSIVE STRATEGY: Why can t 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."

In the interest of accuracy, I've published this exactly as it appeared, and included the abbreviations, typos, and grammatical errors that were part of the original. That said, what the unidentified Republican member was clearly referring to was a corrupt strategy in which GOP state officials in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other states with Republican-led legislatures would agree to send pro-Trump slates of electors, regardless of voters' will.

At that point, according to the plan, there'd be a legal dispute, which the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court could try to resolve.

To be sure, this was one of many related texts in which Republicans reached out to the then-White House chief of staff about plots to keep Trump in power, despite his defeat. But many of those text messages were sent in early January, shortly before the election results were scheduled to be certified.

What makes the text Raskin highlighted so notable is the date: Election Day 2020 was Nov. 3. The message about the "aggressive strategy" was sent on Nov. 4.

On Nov. 4, the presidential races in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania hadn't even been called yet. The Democratic ticket ended up with narrow wins in these electoral battlegrounds, but the day after the election, the results were still uncertain.

But it appears the member who touted the "aggressive strategy" didn't care. As Politico's Kyle Cheney put it, "A member of Congress suggested that GOP-controlled states anoint Trump electors before those states were even called. This wasn't overturning the election. This was scrapping democracy before the votes were even counted."

There were other related messages. As Rachel noted on the show last week, there was also an email from Nov. 7, 2020 — the exact day Joe Biden was named the president-elect — in which Meadows discussed the appointment of alternate slates of electors as part of a "direct and collateral attack" after Trump's defeat.

There was also a text message from one day earlier in which Meadows and an unidentified member of Congress discussed appointing alternate electors in certain states. The lawmaker described the plan as "highly controversial," to which Meadows apparently replied, "I love it."

As a Washington Post analysis noted this morning, "What this new evidence reinforces is that Republicans and those around Trump didn't really care about actual evidence of fraud — or anything that could even plausibly be read as amounting to it — before leaping into 'AGRESSIVE' and 'highly controversial' measures to overturn the election."

Quite right. These Republicans hadn't even had time to consider the possibility of evidence before exploring schemes to reject the results they didn't like. It's long been painfully obvious that the "voter fraud" pretense was baseless, but these texts — and their timing — help drive the point home.

As for the identity of those who sent Meadows these messages, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the Jan. 6 panel, told NBC News that "there won't be any surprises as to who they are."

Watch this space.