Thursday, February 29, 2024

Audio of Cruz’s talk with Fox host sheds light on plan to challenge 2020 results

Audio of Cruz’s talk with Fox host sheds light on plan to challenge 2020 results

Sen. Ted Cruz advocated the creation of a congressionally appointed electoral commission ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to make a credible assessment of unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, according to a recording made by Abby Grossberg, a former producer at Fox News.

The Jan. 2, 2021, recording, provided to The Washington Post by Grossberg’s attorney, largely mirrors previous reports and public statements made by Cruz about efforts to overturn the election results. But the tape featuring a previously private conversation among Cruz, Grossberg and Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on the push to deny the certification of Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, sheds new light on the scope of Cruz’s scheming to assist Donald Trump in overturning Biden’s victory.

Cruz says in the recorded conversation that he successfully organized 11 senators to object to the electoral certification as the mechanism to establish a commission. Cruz was the first senator to object to the electoral college results, joining Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) in challenging Arizona’s electoral certification. The Post has previously reported on Cruz’s proposal of delaying the certification of the electoral college results to spark a 10-day “audit” that could enable GOP state legislatures to overturn the election results.

The Attack: Before, During and After

“You need an adjudicatory body with fact-finding and investigative authority to consider the facts to examine the record and to make determinations — that’s how they did it in 1877,” Cruz told Grossberg and Bartiromo, referencing the commission created to investigate voter fraud in the 1876 Hayes-Tilden election.

Cruz added that he would have rather seen “these facts developed in a court of law” but goes on to cast doubt on the Supreme Court’s ultimate determination to reject the lawsuits filed to challenge the election Trump had lost. “Unfortunately the courts that heard these cases — we did not have a full and thorough consideration,” Cruz said.

Cruz tweeted on Tuesday night in response to the tape, first reported by MSNBC host Ari Melber: “This @msnbc [clown] is breathlessly reporting that I ‘secretly’ said in a phone call … the EXACT same thing I said on national television the next morning! And then said again on the Senate floor four days later.”

In the plan Cruz laid out to the Fox News host and her producer, if a majority of the House and the Senate objected to electoral certification on Jan. 6, 2021, then an electoral commission would be stood up immediately, commencing a 10-day review period to be completed before the inauguration.

If the commission found “credible evidence of fraud that undermines confidence in the electoral results in any given state,” then the state would then call a special session and recertify results, according to Cruz.

“Is there any chance you can overturn this?” Bartiromo asked Cruz.

“I hope so,” he responded.

Ex-Proud Boys leader argues Trump is to blame for Jan. 6 attack

On the same day that Cruz pitched Fox News on his plan for an electoral commission, he unveiled the plan to GOP lawmakers in Congress. While it was panned by some of Trump’s most loyal allies — and by some of Cruz’s advisers — the commission caught the attention of the former president, who tweeted in support of Cruz’s road map.

“Ted Cruz is a lawyer who knows the difference between factual evidence and idle speculation and he recognized what a fraud Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani were perpetrating on the country — and yet he continued to play along with it, like so many people did,” Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack, told The Post on Tuesday evening.

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