INSIDE: Jack Smith ... Aileen Cannon ... SBF
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (R) listens prior to Trump's Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House July 29, 2020 in Washi... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (R) listens prior to Trump's Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House July 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to visit the Double Eagle Energy oil rig in Midland, Texas, and will attend a fundraising luncheon for the Republican Party and his reelection campaign. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

Big Day At TPM

Over the past month, a team of reporters, editors and designers at TPM has been hard at work putting together a landmark series on the text messages that Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows turned over to the Jan. 6 committee.

Obtained by TPM’s Hunter Walker, the more than 2,000 text messages sent and received by Meadows between Election Day 2020 and Inauguration Day 2021 were turned over to the committee before Meadows stopped cooperating. It is believed that Meadows also turned them over to the Justice Department in response to a grand jury subpoena.

As Hunter puts it in the introductory post:

The vast majority of Meadows’ texts described in this series are being made public for the very first time. They show the senior-most official in the Trump White House communicating with members of Congress, state-level politicians, and far-right activists as they work feverishly to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 election. The Meadows texts illustrate in moment-to-moment detail an authoritarian effort to undermine the will of the people and upend the American democratic system as we know it. 

How To Read It

Start with the introduction: A Plot To Overturn An American Election

Then go to the seminal post of the series: Mark Meadows Exchanged Texts With 34 Members Of Congress About Plans To Overturn The 2020 Election

Next zero in on Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who was already known to be a key player in the election subversion scheme but not with this level of detail: Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry’s Work To Overturn 2020 Election Included A ‘Cyber Team’ And An Italian Job

Finally, Day One of the series concludes with special focus on Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who was one of Meadows’ most frequent texting buddies and is now challenging Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for speaker of the House: As The 2020 Election Slipped Away, Andy Biggs And Mark Meadows Schemed To Reverse The Vote In Arizona 

How It Came To Be

TPM’s Hunter Walker has had the Meadows texts for some time. They were a key element of Hunter’s recent book – The Breach: The Untold Story of the Investigation into January 6th – which he coauthored with former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), who after leaving Congress became a senior technical adviser to the Jan. 6 committee. Other outlets also obtained some or all of the Meadows texts and reported on some of them.

But no news outlet had yet published a comprehensive review of the texts and contextualized them as part of the broad scheme to subvert and overturn the 2020 election. Until now.

Hunter, who after a nearly decade away, rejoined TPM’s staff in November, got to work right away on unpacking the Meadows texts. We quickly realized that to do the texts justice would require an all-hands-on-deck effort. The team has been working night and day for weeks. We knew the texts were highly newsworthy, but we also thought they had historical value and deserved a fuller treatment than they’d been given. The public reaction to yesterday’s launch of the series exceeded all our expectations.

Initial Reaction To The Meadows Texts

Heather Cox Richardson: “Today, Talking Points Memo began an explosive series covering texts to and from Meadows in the time around the 2020 election and its aftermath….The series, by Hunter Walker, Josh Kovensky, and Emine Yücel, examines texts not previously available to the public as well as some we have already seen.” 

Rachel Maddow, who gave over the A block to the Meadows texts, opened with Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) text calling for “Marshall law”:

David Frum: “Two concepts of reporting: @TPM breaking new inner-circle details of an ex/president’s plot to over throw an election and the Constitution; new @Twitter and selected writers arguing that well actually, Trump is the true victim here because his attempted coup lost him his account”

Bill Grueskin:

**UPDATED** Keep An Eye Out

Hunter Walker led off Morning Joe this morning:

What’s Next?

We’ll be rolling out more stories on the Meadows Texts all week. Three more are planned for today. I can’t give away too much, but one of them delves into the efforts to overturn the election results in a particularly high-profile state.

More New Subpoenas From Jack Smith

We’re still learning the contours of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 investigation. A couple of more clues dropped Monday:

Secretaries of State:

  • Smith subpoenaed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
  • Updating the list of known subpoenas to secretaries of state: Arizona, Michigan, Georgia.


  • Smith subpoenaed Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas) election officials.
  • Updating the list of known subpoenas to counties: Milwaukee and Dane County, Wisconsin; Wayne County, Michigan; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Clark County, Nevada.

One additional point: The Clark County subpoena was dated Nov. 22, which suggests it was part of the initial batch that went out to the other counties; the Georgia subpoena was dated Dec. 9, which suggests it went out with a later batch of subpoenas to secretaries of state.

It’s Official

Under orders from the appeal court, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon dismissed Donald Trump’s special master gambit.

SBF Arrested

It’s coming down fast for Sam Bankman-Fried. He was arrested yesterday in the Bahamas in anticipation of being extradited to face charges in the United States. A federal indictment against SBF is expected to be unsealed today in Manhattan. Meanwhile, the SEC this morning has filed civil fraud charges against him. All of this of course stems from the spectacular collapse of his crypto exchange FTX.

Keeping It In Perspective

Hunga Tonga eruption, January 2022 (CSU/CIRA and JAXA/JMA)

We’re still learning details about the ferocity of the January eruption of Hunga Tonga, a shallow-water volcano in the Pacific:

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga undersea volcano in the Pacific Ocean early this year was so powerful that it sent a massive plume of water vapor into space, according to research released Monday. A volcano launching water beyond the atmosphere had never before been observed by scientists.

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