Speed Reads


Lawmakers texted Mark Meadows during Jan. 6 Capitol attack: 'We are all helpless'

Several lawmakers frantically texted former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, saying they were "under siege" and "helpless," Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) revealed on Monday.

Before Meadows stopped cooperating with the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, claiming his records were protected under executive privilege, he turned over thousands of emails and text messages to the panel. Cheney, the committee's vice chair, read several of those messages on Monday before the panel voted to hold Meadows in contempt for defying their subpoena. 

She shared multiple texts sent to Meadows from Fox News hosts and former President Donald Trump's eldest son, all of them imploring Meadows to have the then-president call off his supporters rioting at the Capitol. She also read texts from unnamed lawmakers sent amid the chaos, which Cheney stated "leave no doubt" that the "White House knew exactly what was happening here at the Capitol."

One text, Cheney said, told Meadows, "We are under siege here at the Capitol." Another stated, "Mark, protesters are literally storming the Capitol, breaking windows on doors, rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?" A third lawmaker declared, "We are all helpless." Messages were also sent on Jan. 7 from lawmakers who attempted to block the certification of President Biden's 2020 victory, with one stating they tried "everything we could in our objection to the six states. I'm sorry nothing worked." 

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the committee, said ahead of the contempt vote he was "particularly struck" by the lawmakers who asked Meadows to assist them during the Capitol attack. "How did Meadows react to these cries for help?" Schiff asked. "Whom did he tell? What did he do? And critically, what did the president of the U.S. do and what did he fail to do?"

The committee's chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), told reporters he was not going to name the lawmakers who messaged Meadows at this time, but their identities will be made public in the future. "The information we've received has been quite revealing about members of Congress involved in the activities of Jan. 6, as well as staff," he added.