Rep. Andy Biggs said to push early for alternate electors, bypassing 2020 election results
The votes in 2020 had not even been fully counted before Rep. Andy Biggs pushed then-President Donald Trump's chief of staff to encourage steps in key states to bypass election results.
Biggs, R-Ariz., suggested in a text message to Mark Meadows on Nov. 6 — three days after the election — that in "states where there's been shenanigans" he submit alternate electors for Trump and have Republican-led legislatures formally support him despite apparent losses with voters, according to CNN, which obtained Meadows' messages.
The Biggs message includes language like "a look doors" where Biggs may have intended to say "electors."
"I'm sure you have heard of this proposal," Biggs wrote. "It is to encourage the state legislatures to appoint a look doors in the various states where there's been shenanigans. If I understand right most of those states have Republican Legislature's. It seems to be comport with glorified Bush as well as the Constitution. And, well highly controversial, it can't be much more controversial than the lunacy that were sitting out there now. And It would be pretty difficult because he would take governors and legislators with collective will and backbone to do that. Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?"
"I love it," Meadows responded.
Illegitimate alternate elector paperwork was submitted to Congress from seven states — including Arizona — as part of an effort intended to keep Trump in office.
Biggs acknowledged his suggested course of action would be "highly controversial," CNN reported. Around the same period, Biggs seemed to allude to taking drastic steps in an interview with conservative activist Charlie Kirk.
Biggs' office did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.
The Meadows disclosure offers fresh information about Biggs' activities on the leading edge of a legal strategy that came to be supported by the White House to sidestep Trump's eventual loss to President Joe Biden. The text messages were among thousands of records selectively shared by Meadows to the special committee.
The messages show Meadows also heard from Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, who wanted to bring attention to someone claiming to have evidence of fraud.
"This guy says he's cracked the whole election fraud and wants to speak to someone," she wrote in a Dec. 9 message. Meadows said he would contact the man.
Biggs has always been seen as a central figure in the tumultuous period leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
He was one of Trump's most loyal allies on Capitol Hill and replaced Meadows as head of the far-right House Freedom Caucus when Meadows joined Trump's staff.
Ali Alexander, the organizer of the "Stop the Steal" efforts in Phoenix and Washington, credited Biggs as one of three House GOP members who "schemed up ... putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting."
Biggs has denied working with Alexander.
Biggs and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., were among the earliest and most vocal members of Congress baselessly casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
Four days after his text message to Meadows, Biggs and Gosar appeared on "The Charlie Kirk Show" where they claimed software glitches favored Biden in key locations — including 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County.
Case dismissed:Judge dismisses case to block Biggs, Gosar, Finchem from office over Jan. 6 activities
The Republican-led state Senate review of the county's ballots did not claim that happened, and election experts across the country have rejected other claims of widespread fraud in Arizona and elsewhere.
Biggs didn't specify problems in Pennsylvania, a state where Trump's initial lead vanished as mail-in ballots were tallied, especially in perennially Democratic Philadelphia.
"Well, you're talking about fraud, pure and simple. We're talking about Pennsylvania is an utter disaster, and really your immediate remedy is to basically nullify Pennsylvania's election," Biggs said, acknowledging that "sounds drastic."
The text message with Meadows came as part of the evidence submitted by Meadows to the special House committee investigating the runup to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The same trove of Meadows' messages includes one from Jason Miller, a Trump campaign spokesperson, who on Nov. 6 undercut claims of fraud in Pennsylvania, CNN reported.
Miller told Meadows that Trump did better in the Philadelphia area than he did in 2016, which "cuts hard against the urban vote stealing narrative," he wrote.
On Dec. 21, 2020, Biggs and Gosar joined other Trump loyalists in a strategy meeting at the White House where the untested legal approaches were discussed, according to the testimony to the committee of a top aide to Meadows that was released Friday.
That aide also testified that she believed Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., attended that meeting. A spokesperson for Lesko said her records don't reflect that she was present and Lesko has no recollection of participating in it.
Biggs took part in a Dec. 21 videoconference with Gosar intended to persuade Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, there was evidence of widespread fraud in Maricopa County. State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, also was on that call asserting fraud in the election.
Finchem, who is running for Arizona secretary of state with Trump's endorsement, is also under scrutiny by the select committee.
The Dec. 21 videoconference, first detailed by The Arizona Republic in its November series "Democracy in Doubt," left Bowers unconvinced, though he did seek further information from county officials about election procedures.
By that time, the state Senate, but not the state House, had subpoenaed the county for its its election machinery for an effort that grew into its monthslong ballot review.
Biggs followed up with Bowers on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, asking him if he would support decertifying Arizona’s electors. Bowers said he would not.
Biggs and Gosar were among the Republicans who asked Congress that day to set aside the results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, a move that was rejected by Democrats and some Republicans.
In the aftermath of the riot, Biggs was among the House members whom Democrats and other groups have suggested should face investigation. Some called for an ethics probe, and even a criminal inquiry.
More recently, Biggs faced an election-eligibility challenge from a New York-based group that sought to use a provision of the Civil War-era 14th Amendment to disqualify him from running for Congress again.
Last week a Maricopa County Superior Court judge rejected the challenge, saying the insurrection clause was intended for Congress to reject members, not for the public to do so.
Biggs welcomed the ruling and said the case reflected extremism from the political left.
"The radical left is going to extreme lengths to prevent Republicans from running in congressional elections," he said. "The frivolous argument that has been used against me has been used in other states to target mainstream Republicans running for reelection."
Reach the reporter Ronald J. Hansen at email@example.com or 602-444-4493. Follow him on Twitter @ronaldjhansen.
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