The story of how Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff came to “trust” the Special Counsel’s office enough to provide damning evidence just spilled out into public view.
Former Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) was in the room when the Capitol was attacked, and Cassidy Hutchinson testified that he knew the plan to pressure Pence.
And yet Special Counsel Jack Smith did not indict Meadows.
It may well be because Meadows, although he initially claimed executive privilege, came to trust Smith and his team. “Trust” is the specific word in The New York Times’ explosive new report.
It is a meaningful word.
Mark Meadows may have realized that he could deliver the testimony needed to seal the case against Trump and the other lawyers named as co-conspirators, and Smith would not charge Meadows in exchange for that testimony.
You will recall Meadows went underground over the winter. Trump’s team figured he might cooperate with Smith. The Times reports:
“His high-wire legal act hit a new challenge this month. While Mr. Meadows’s strategy of targeted assistance to federal prosecutors and sphinxlike public silence largely kept him out of the 45-page election interference indictment that Mr. Smith filed against Mr. Trump in Washington, it did not help him avoid similar charges in Fulton County, Ga. Mr. Meadows was named last week as one of Mr. Trump’s co-conspirators in a sprawling racketeering indictment filed by the local district attorney in Georgia.”
Yes, well, in for a pound, in for a dollar.
If Meadows finds himself testifying for Jack Smith in the January 6th trial, he might as well make as good a deal as Fani Willis will make.
Willis likely will feel some pressure to give Meadows immunity (If he decides to cooperate) because he is already taking a significant risk in Washington. His testimony is likely every bit as valuable in Georgia as it is in Washington.
Indeed, most of the 19 co-conspirators listed in the indictment will seek an immunity deal for their testimony.
Meadows was also a prominent witness in the case of the files. ABC News first reported and the Times relayed:
…Mr. Meadows — like other senior Trump officials, including Mike Pence, the former vice president — had undercut Mr. Trump’s claim that he had a “standing order” to automatically declassify any documents that were taken out of the Oval Office. Those included ones that ended up at his private clubs in Florida and New Jersey.
Now, Trump’s legal team (and thus Trump) have all the testimony and materials handed over by Meadows.
It must be compelling. h
He was right there!
And yet Trump has stuck to the same claim he’s always made. Trump’s said:
“This witch hunt is nothing more than a desperate attempt to interfere in the 2024 election as President Trump dominates the polls and is the only person who will take back the White House.”
Meadows has yet to cooperate in Georgia.
But he almost surely could, because anything he testifies to against Trump in the federal cases will be easy enough to track down for Fani Willis.
He just needs to build up the same “trust” with Willis’s team.
Regardless, it is now confirmed.
The guy in the middle of everything, the one at Trump’s side who heard it all, will be testifying against him.
It is possible he will do the same in Georgia.
This report is based primarily on original reporting by Jonathan Swan, Maggie Haberman, Luke Broadwater, and Alan Feuer
I can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @JasonMiciak
Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece reflecting the opinion of the author alone