In early January 2021, during the politically turbulent period before Joe Biden assumed the presidency, the executive producer of Sean Hannity’s radio show sought to meet directly with then-President Donald Trump.
Producer Lynda McLaughlin texted Mark Meadows, Trump’s acting chief of staff at the time, with a big request, saying she had “hard data” that “shows[ed] evidence of fraud” – evidently about the 2020 election. McLaughlin called the questionable information “irrefutable” and wanted to pass it directly to Trump.
“Mark – are we able to present our data to POTUS?” McLaughlin asked.
The texts, which have not been previously reported, were published in “The Breach,” the new book released Tuesday by former Rep. Denver Riggleman, who served as a former adviser to the Jan. 6 committee.
CNN Reliable Sources independently obtained the same messages McLaughlin sent to Meadows. (A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. You can sign up for free here.)
Riggleman’s unauthorized book, which was not warmly received by the Jan. 6 committee, bills itself as offering a “behind-the-scenes look” at the Capitol attack investigation. It contains previously unseen elements, such as this exchange between McLaughlin and Meadows.
Through a spokesperson, McLaughlin declined to comment. A lawyer for Meadows did not respond to a request for comment. No more than a spokesperson for Trump or spokespersons for Hannity.
The posts underscore the intimate relationship that Hannity, his team and the right-wing media have shared with the Trump White House. The warm relationship on display in the posts shows that in many cases, right-wing media and figures not only positively covered the Trump White House, but actively worked hand-in-hand with it.
For example, when McLaughlin texted Meadows to introduce herself (“Hey, it’s Lynda from Hannity”) and told Meadows she was “rallying the troops”, Meadows responded by thanking her for her “wonderful contribution and putting her in touch with Trump’s representative. Jim Jordan. “Jim Jordan [sic] will be happy to coordinate with the House team,” Meadows emailed McLaughlin. “Do you need his contact?”
A spokesperson for Jordan did not respond to a request for comment.
And Meadows seemed to stop responding to McLaughlin later in the conversation, after asking to meet with Trump. But the messages, of course, show that Meadows continued to communicate with Hannity until after the devastating attack on the Capitol. And it’s no secret that Hannity himself worked as an informal top adviser to Trump.