When it comes to the investigation into the Jan. 6 attack, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has been a little indecisive in recent weeks. A month ago, for example, the North Carolina Republican defied a subpoena from the bipartisan committee investigating the assault on the Capitol. He then changed direction and agreed to start cooperating with the congressional probe.
It's against this backdrop that the committee is not only prepared to move forward with contempt proceedings against Donald Trump's former right-hand man in the West Wing, it's also making the case as to why Meadows needs to cooperate. NBC News reported overnight:
A report out Sunday that recommends that Trump administration chief of staff Mark Meadows be held in contempt of Congress alleges that he said National Guard troops would keep President Donald Trump's supporters safe Jan. 6. In bullet points listing urgent questions for Meadows, the report by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot cites an email he is alleged to have sent Jan. 5 about the security of Trump supporters who would hit the streets the next day.
While we don't yet know to whom Meadows sent the email, the then-White House chief of staff apparently said the National Guard would be present to "protect pro Trump people."
This is among the revelations from a 51-page document released yesterday by the House select committee, in advance of today's vote on holding Meadows in contempt. Assuming the panel approves the resolution — a safe bet — the full House will likely vote tomorrow to refer the former Trump aide to the Justice Department for criminal contempt of Congress.
The email about the National Guard protecting "pro Trump people" is certainly among the most jarring revelations, but it's not the only new information in yesterday's committee document. Politico's report added:
In other messages described by the committee, Meadows appears to have asked members of Congress to help connect Trump with state lawmakers shortly after his defeat in November.... The messages also describe numerous contacts with members of Congress about Trump's efforts to recruit state lawmakers and encourage them to help overturn the election results.
The picture that emerges is one of a then-White House chief of staff who was directly involved in efforts to overturn a free and fair American election — and who no longer wants to talk to congressional investigators about what he knows.
It's worth emphasizing for context that Meadows, before his latest reversal, did provide the bipartisan committee with some relevant information. Indeed, the materials he recently turned over further implicated Meadows and showed the depth of his role in the post-election scheme.
As Rachel noted on the show last week, there was an email from Nov. 7, 2020 — the exact day Joe Biden was named the president-elect — in which Meadows discussed the appointment of alternate slates of electors as part of a "direct and collateral attack" after Trump's defeat.
There was also a text message from one day earlier in which Meadows and an unidentified member of Congress discussed appointing alternate electors in certain states — in effect, having states decide to reward the Republican ticket in states in which the Democratic ticket won more votes. The lawmaker described the plan as "highly controversial," to which Meadows apparently replied, "I love it."
This added to what we already knew, including Meadows' surprise visit to Georgia shortly before Christmas 2020, checking in on an election audit after his boss leaned on local officials to help him. Around the same time, Trump's right-hand aide repeatedly pushed federal law enforcement to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories — some of which were quite weird — and alerted then-Vice President Mike Pence's office to bonkers strategies to overturn the election results.
Meadows also hosted a notorious Jan. 2 phone meeting in which the then-president badgered election officials in Georgia, demanding that they "find" him enough votes to overcome his defeat.
But the new revelations make matters considerably worse. If Meadows was up to his waist in the scandal before, the level has now reached his shoulders.