Mark Meadows was on the other line. The Republican congressman-turned Trump’s White House chief of staff wanted to know if Mitchell could go to Georgia, where the Trump political operation was preparing to turn to the courts as Trump’s path to victory narrowed, Mitchell explained last week on a newly launched podcast about election fraud.
“I was just putting in the coordinates to get the directions to go to the airport in Bozeman to fly home, and I got a call from Mark Meadows,” Mitchell said on her podcast, “Who’s Counting?”
The call from Meadows led to a series of events that have now put Mitchell squarely in the middle of congressional efforts to investigate the events leading up to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
After the election, Mitchell worked as a volunteer legal adviser to Trump’s campaign in Georgia, helping to file a December 2020 lawsuit in the state seeking to invalidate the presidential election results by alleging widespread voter fraud. In early January, Mitchell participated in Trump’s infamous phone call where he asked Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes for him to win.
Mitchell declined CNN’s requests to be interviewed for this story.
From Democrat to ardent Trump backer
A decade later, Mitchell became an independent and then eventually registered Republican. She worked as an election lawyer for the national Republican Party, as well as conservative groups like the National Rifle Association.
She was known for many years as one of the conservative wing’s most prominent voices alleging voter fraud, even before Trump’s 2020 campaign.
Mitchell quietly joined Trump’s post-election efforts in Georgia, helping prepare the Trump campaign’s December court case to contest Georgia’s presidential election results, making debunked claims there were “literally tens of thousands of illegal votes” in Georgia.
“We called ourselves team deplorables,” she said on her podcast.
Meadows forwarded the email to acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. “Can you have your team look into these allegations of wrongdoing. Only the alleged fraudulent activity,” he asked.
The exchange is now part of what’s understood to be a larger, persistent push by Trump and those around him to co-opt Justice Department leadership into supporting his election fraud accusations.
A fateful phone call
Trump insisted on the call that there were tens of thousands of fraudulent votes in Georgia, turning at several points to Mitchell for backup, while telling Raffensperger to find the number of votes he needed to win the state. Raffensperger and state attorneys repeatedly debunked Trump’s conspiracies about widespread fraud.
Also on the call, Mitchell discussed the campaign’s lawsuit to decertify Georgia’s results, and she pushed state officials to give the campaign access to voter data.
“We don’t have the records that you have. And one of the things that we have been suggesting formally and informally for weeks now is for you to make available to us the records that would be necessary,” Mitchell said to Raffensperger.
The repercussions were swift. Law firm Folley & Lardner, where Mitchell was a partner, was caught by surprise by her work for Trump’s campaign supporting his false claims of fraud. On January 5, two days after the call became public, the firm and Mitchell split.
Mitchell blamed her departure on “a massive pressure campaign in the last several days mounted by leftist groups” against her, according to an email she sent to friends.
Back in the fight
It didn’t take long for Mitchell to jump back into the fight over the 2020 election and Republican efforts to restrict voting.
She also joined former South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint’s Conservative Partnership Institute as a senior legal fellow focused on election integrity. DeMint’s organization, which he launched in 2017 after he was ousted from the conservative Heritage Foundation, added Meadows as a senior partner after Trump’s term ended. The organization is hosting Mitchell’s new podcast.
They include July email correspondence from Mitchell arranging for wire payments from an escrow account totaling $1 million to three subcontractors working with the Cyber Ninjas, the group that carried out the partisan ballot review.
In the emails, Mitchell wrote that the funding to the subcontractors was coming from the “American Voting Rights Foundation,” though it’s not clear what the organization is or its affiliations. Thomas Datwyler, whom she cited as the group’s treasurer, told the Republic that the organization had been created in June and he could not speak about the foundation’s work.
Through a spokesperson, Mitchell did not respond to a request for comment on the funding. Pullen and Datwyler did not respond to requests from CNN for comment.
In her first podcast episode, she vowed to help his efforts to support candidates to run in state elections who embrace his lies about the election being stolen. “We’re going to take those election offices back,” Mitchell said, “and we need you to help us.”
CNN’s Katelyn Polantz and Stephanie Giambruno contributed to this report.Source link