Cruz on tape discussing plan to delay Biden election certification
By Marshall Cohen and Zachary Cohen, CNN
(CNN) — Special Counsel Jack Smith has expressed interest in audio tapes recorded by former Fox News producer Abby Grossberg while she worked at the right-wing network, her lawyer said.
One of the tapes features Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz discussing his plan to delay the certification of Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election days before the January 6 insurrection.
Grossberg attorney Gerry Filippatos told CNN on Wednesday that he has given a spreadsheet to the special counsel's team, detailing the nearly 90 audiotapes in Grossberg's possession. Talks are underway for a subpoena, so Grossberg can turn over the material to Smith's team of federal prosecutors, who are investigating efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election.
"We're in the process of negotiating a targeted subpoena for Abby's electronic data, so they can have what they want," Filippatos said.
He first revealed the special counsel's interest in an MSNBC interview Tuesday.
Federal investigators initially reached out several weeks ago, after some of the tapes were aired by news outlets, Filippatos said. He added that Grossberg is committed to cooperating fully with law enforcement -- which could include an eventual FBI interview or meetings with other investigators.
"They reached out to us after we publicized some of the tapes," Filippatos said, referring to recordings of Fox host Maria Bartiromo discussing 2020 election conspiracy theories with Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, where they were "being candid off-air and saying something contrary to what they said on-air."
Fox News fired Grossberg last month after she filed a pair of explosive lawsuits against the network. Her lawsuits accused Fox lawyers of pressuring her into giving false testimony in the Dominion defamation case and say she experienced rampant misogyny and sex discrimination. Fox vehemently denies these allegations and has said her lawsuits are "riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees."
A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment.
In a related development, MSNBC on Tuesday aired a new snippet of one of Grossberg's tapes. The previously undisclosed audio featured Republican Sen. Ted Cruz talking with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo about his plans to delay Congress' certification of Joe Biden's victory on January 6, 2021.
In the taped conversation with Bartiromo, Cruz outlines a plan for delaying the certification by establishing a "commission" to further investigate claims of voter fraud. The Texas senator had proposed a commission in a press release on the same day as the audio recording.
"As we were looking at this January 6 certification, all of the options that were being discussed were problematic. And so I wanted to find a path that was consistent with the Constitution and the law and that address these very real serious claims," Cruz said on January 2, 2021, according to the audio aired by MSNBC.
Cruz tweeted about the recording on Tuesday night, saying it echoes what he said on national television and the Senate floor at the time.
"This @msnbc [clown emoji] 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."
At the time, even some of Cruz's own Republican colleagues in the Senate who had worked for months to find a way to help Trump upend the 2020 election results were concerned about his plan for delaying the certification.
"I have grave concerns with the way my friend Ted is going about this effort," Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, wrote to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows at the time, according to a text message previously obtained by CNN. "This will not inure to the benefit of the president."
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