In a recorded conversation with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) laid out a plan to create a “commission” to help him overturn the 2020 election to keep Donald Trump in the White House.
“I think that the country deserves to have a credible assessment of these claims and what the evidence shows, and the mechanism to try to force that is denying certification on the 6th,” Cruz says in the Jan. 2, 2021, recording, obtained and aired Tuesday by MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
Cruz played a starring role on Jan. 6, 2021, when he led a group of Republican senators in objecting to certain states’ Electoral College counts in the 2020 presidential election. He then continued to support Trump’s lies about widespread electoral fraud even after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to disrupt the certification of the electoral votes, which confirmed Joe Biden had won the presidency.
According to Melber, the tape showed how Cruz planned to help Trump seize power and overthrow the election after all of the former president’s challenges had been thrown out in court.
“He literally explains it that way,” Melber said. “Basically they would hijack the certification and use their own made-up, fake commission to declare that the Biden win was fraudulent and then that would decide who was inaugurated.”
In the conversation with Bartiromo, Cruz said that if a majority of the House and Senate objected to the electoral certification on Jan. 6, then an electoral commission could be created, ultimately deciding who would be inaugurated.
If the commission “found credible evidence of fraud that undermines confidence in the electoral results in any given state,” Cruz said, it would be able to recertify the results.
Notably, in a November 2020 call with Bartiromo that MSNBC aired last week, Cruz suggested Trump’s team of lawyers lacked “actual evidence” of electoral fraud that would hold up in court.
On the same day as his call with Bartiromo, Cruz and 10 other Senate Republicans unveiled a plan to reject the certification of results in states where Trump contested his defeat unless an “emergency 10-day [congressional] audit” of results was completed.
Cruz lashed out at Melber’s reporting Tuesday, arguing that his plan to overthrow the election was not a secret:
MSNBC obtained the recordings from Abby Grossberg, a former Fox News producer for Bartiromo and Tucker Carlson who is suing the network over workplace misconduct allegations. Listen to them below.