Case in point: ABC News is reporting that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has been granted immunity by Special Counsel Jack Smith and is ratting out his former boss, Donald J. Trump. After the Georgia plea deals of Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, and earlier yesterday, Jenna Ellis, is it possible to get any better? What could be next? Testimony about Trump laughing off his loss to Joe Biden and contemplating ways to turn Stop the Steal into a cash cow?
Actually, that testimony might be on the horizon after we learn more about what Meadows has told Special Counsel Smith during three meetings he had with prosecutors earlier this year.
Listen to this from ABC’s breaking news about the Meadows immunity deal: “Sources said Meadows informed Smith’s team that he repeatedly told Trump in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election that the allegations of significant voting fraud coming to them were baseless, a striking break from Trump's prolific rhetoric regarding the election.”
The ABC report continues, “According to the sources, Meadows also told the federal investigators Trump was being ‘dishonest’ with the public when he first claimed to have won the election only hours after polls closed on November 3, 2020, before final results were in. ‘Obviously we didn't win,’ a source quoted Meadows as telling Smith's team in hindsight.”
Wait. There’s more: “Meadows privately told Smith's investigators that -- to this day -- he has yet to see any evidence of fraud that would have kept now-president Joe Biden from the White House, and he told them he agrees with a government assessment at the time that the 2020 presidential election was the most secure election in U.S. history.”
Thunk. That is the sound of my jaw hitting the little piece of my desk in front of my keyboard.
And the thunkscontinue. ABC reports that its reporters have found numerous assertions about the 2020 election in Meadows’ 2021 book, The Chief’s Chief, that “appear to be contradicted by what Meadows allegedly told investigators behind closed doors.”
Meadows, in other words, who in meetings with Smith’s prosecutors detailed the grift behind Trump’s denials that he lost the 2020 election, has been part of the grift himself, profiting off the lies he and Trump told by publishing a book that knowingly repeats some of those lies.
Another thunk: After spending the month of November and part of December in 2020 passing along allegations of fraud in the election Trump lost, “Meadows said that by mid-December, he privately informed Trump that Giuliani hadn't produced any evidence to back up the many allegations he was making, sources said. Then-Attorney General Bill Barr also informed Trump and Meadows in an Oval Office meeting that allegations of election fraud were ‘not panning out,’ as Barr recounted in testimony to Congress last year.”
That little burst of truth telling got Barr fired, but not Mark Meadows, who stuck around for the whole thing, right up until Jan. 6. On that ignominious day, testimony to the January 6 Committee by his assistant, Cassidy Hutchinson, revealed that when White House Counsel Pat Cippolone rushed into Meadows’ office and told him, “The rioters have gotten into the Capitol, Mark. We need to go see the President now,” Meadows responded calmly, while staring at his phone, “He doesn't want to do anything.” Cippollone told Meadows, “Something needs to be done, or somebody is going to die and this is going to be on your effing hands.” By that time, Trump had already sent out a tweet essentially telling his followers that Vice President Mike Pence was a coward.
"They're literally calling for the VP to be effing hung," Cipollone told Meadows. “You heard him, Pat,” Meadows replied, still staring at his phone. “He thinks Mike deserves it.”
ABC News reports that part of what Meadows told prosecutors confirms what others, such as his assistant, Cassidy Hutchinson, have already testified to. Sources told ABC that Meadows confirmed a widely-circulated story that while the assault on the Capitol was ongoing, Trump took a call from Kevin McCarthy, who urged him to do something to calm the situation. Meadows confirmed that Trump told McCarthy, “I guess these people are more upset than you are, Kevin.”
Meadows was in the West Wing during the entire time the assault on the Capitol was underway and can doubtlessly provide more information to prosecutors about what Trump was doing and who he spoke to in his private dining room just off the Oval Office as he watched the Capitol assault on TV. It is obvious from the ABC report that Meadows has more information on Trump’s statements after he lost the election and what meetings he had and with whom about his attempts to overturn the election. The testimony Meadows can give about Giuliani alone would be voluminous, and the same goes for others who met with Trump in Meadows’ presence, such as John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and others.
Meadows is still facing trial on racketeering charges brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Anything Meadows tells prosecutors in Washington under a grant of federal immunity could be used against him at trial on state charges in Fulton County, so you can definitely expect that Mark Meadows will cop a plea there, too.
Splat. That’s the sound of Mark Meadows’ teardrop falling in Georgia.
Click. That’s the sound of me locking my front door so the pile of gift columns doesn’t break it down.
Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.