The Federalist, a reliable GOP media ally, tried to run interference for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Wednesday and ended up stepping on a nice big rake instead.
The outlet published what was apparently meant to be a rebuttal to House Jan. 6 committee member Adam Schiff (D-CA) revealing on Monday that Mark Meadows had received a text from an unidentified lawmaker arguing that “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.”
Schiff didn’t identify the lawmaker by name at the time, but on Wednesday the Federalist went ahead and revealed that the sender was Jordan while simultaneously accusing Schiff of purposefully distorting the text.
In the telling of the Federalist, Schiff had deceptively edited the screenshot he presented to the House and misleadingly attributed the language to the unnamed “lawmaker.” The Federalist claimed that the text was actually written by a lawyer named Joseph Schmitz who was summarizing to Jordan his legal theory that Pence could throw out Biden electors, and that Jordan had merely forwarded Schmitz’s summary to Meadows. This, the Federalist seemed to suggest, was quite different from Jordan personally proposing that Pence do so.
The Federalist also accused Schiff of doctoring the screenshot to add a period at the end of the message and crop out an em dash. According to the Federalist, the message continued: “— in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence.” Schmitz’s purported summary to Jordan then continued for two more paragraphs.
Shortly after publishing its, uh, scoop, on Wednesday, the Federalist claimed in a triumphant follow-up post that the Jan. 6 committee had “admitted” to “doctoring” the text by … adding a period.
Jordan’s office confirmed to Politico that the Republican had sent a longer text to Meadows than Schiff had presented:
However, it’s unclear how Jordan forwarding Meadows someone else’s blueprint of how Pence could orchestrate a coup is any less damning than it would be for the lawmaker to have come up with it himself. It’s also unclear how Schiff presenting the entire coup blueprint instead of just a part of it would’ve made Jordan look any less involved in the plot.
Nonetheless, the Federalist gravely claimed that the lawmaker had been misrepresented.
In his graphic, Schiff erased the final clause and the em dash preceding it and added a period to the first clause without disclosing that he or his staff had chopped up the text and created a fake graphic misrepresenting the actual contents of the text message.
The Federalist’s bizarre screeds came a day after Jan. 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told CNN that the panel will soon make a decision on when to publicly identify the Republicans who texted Meadows. It’s “important” to release the content of the texts first before revealing who sent them, Thompson said.