Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s last White House chief of staff, has given testimony under oath before the grand jury convened by Special Counsel Jack Smith in the federal case against the former president. In exchange, Meadows has been given prosecutorial immunity, meaning his statements cannot be used against him, according to a report by ABC News on Tuesday.
Smith is prosecuting the federal case against Trump for a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election that culminated in the January 6, 2021 fascist assault on the US Capitol aimed at preventing the certification of Joe Biden as president.
ABC News reported that unnamed 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 report said further, “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 Nov. 3, 2020, before final results were in.”
Meadows testified at least three times before the grand jury empaneled to hear evidence against Trump in the election interference case. As one of Trump’s closest advisers and White House chief of staff from March 2020 to January 2021, Meadows’ testimony is key to proving the former president knew his claims that Biden and the Democrats stole the 2020 election—which became the basis for the mobilization of fascist political forces behind him—were completely fabricated.
The ABC News report said, “Smith’s investigators were keenly interested in questioning Meadows about election-related conversations he had with Trump during his final months in office, and whether Meadows actually believed some of the claims he included in a book he published after Trump left office—a book that promised to ‘correct the record’ on Trump.”
Meadows’ book The Chief’s Chief, which was published in December 2021, includes assertions that the 2020 election was “stolen” and “rigged” with support from “allies in the liberal media,” that ignored “actual evidence of fraud, right there in plain sight for anyone to access and analyze.”
Contradicting the claims in his book, the ABC News report says that Meadows privately told Smith’s investigators that “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.”
The grant of immunity to Meadows was approved by US District Court Judge James Boasberg, the chief judge in a Washington D.C. court, days before Meadows appeared before the grand jury in March, the ABC News sources said. If Meadows’ attorneys had not secured the immunity, it is likely that the former Trump chief of staff would have invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination during grand jury questioning.
Meadow’s immunity in the federal case against Trump does not extend to the case against the former president for election interference in the state of Georgia. There, Meadows has been charged by the Fulton County prosecutor, along with Trump and 17 others, with a series of felonies, including racketeering, conspiracy to impersonate a public officer and conspiracy to commit forgery.
In that case, Meadows filed a motion to have the proceedings against him moved to federal court, but that effort was denied, and he is now appealing that decision.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has charged many accomplices of Trump’s effort to submit to Congress a bogus roster of Republican electors from Georgia and to falsely certify the vote in favor of himself rather than Democrat Biden, who actually won the state by a margin of nearly 12,000 votes.
The strategy pursued by Willis is to force as many of the accomplices into plea bargains as possible where they will accept responsibility for lesser charges in exchange for testifying against Trump and the other key defendants, such as Giuliani and Meadows. So far, this strategy has driven three defendants directly linked to Trump’s inner circle—attorneys Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis—to plead guilty and agree to give testimony against Trump. A fourth defendant, bail bondsman Scott Graham Hall, has also accepted a plea deal.
The plea hearing of Jenna Ellis on Tuesday showed that the cabal of fascist figures around Trump, including those who are pleading guilty to crimes connected with their attempt to overthrow the US Constitution, are continuing to defend their claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. As Ellis stated during her plea deal “public apology,” she faults herself for not making sure “the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true were, in fact, true.”
Furthermore, Ellis stated that “in the frenetic pace of attempting to raise challenges to the election in several states including Georgia, I failed to do my due diligence.” In other words, even after she pleaded guilty to the felony of “aiding and abetting false statements and writings,” Ellis maintains that the claims in seven states that the election was stolen were entirely legitimate.
On Wednesday, CNN reported that Fulton County prosecutors had “discussed potential plea deals with at least six additional co-defendants” in the Georgia case. Some of these defendants are local Republican Party officials who took part in the fake elector scheme at different levels. The CNN report said the network had confirmed the names of the defendants with Fulton County prosecutors, “but agreed not to name them after sources expressed concerns about speaking about the case at this phase.”
To date, according to CNN, no plea deal has been offered to Donald Trump, Mark Meadows or Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, and it is apparent that “Willis’ strategy centers around focusing on co-defendants listed at the top of the indictment [those four] and securing cooperation from those considered less important in the broader case …”
Meanwhile, in the civil fraud trial against Trump in New York City, the former president was summoned to the witness stand by Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron to answer questions about comments he made in a court hallway during a break in the proceedings.
Interrupting the second day of testimony by former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen—a key witness against the fascist candidate for the Republican Party nomination in the 2024 presidential race—the judge asked about comments Trump made about the person “sitting alongside” the judge in the courtroom, presumably his law clerk, who he said was “biased.”
“To whom were you referring?” Engoron asked Trump, to which the defendant replied, “You and Cohen.” The judge found the response to be a lie and declared, “I find the witness is not credible,” and fined Trump $10,000. Trump had previously criticized the law clerk on social media and that caused the judge to impose a gag order barring participants in the trial from making public comments about the court staff.
The judge said he was concerned that Trump’s comments were an incitement to violence. “I don’t want anyone to get killed,” Justice Engoron said.
- Text messages from Mark Meadows confirm January 6 coup was organized and supported by dozens of Republican lawmakers
- Trump, Meadows surrender to arrest in Fulton County, Georgia
- Trump coup plot accomplice Chesebro pleads guilty in Georgia fake elector case
- Top Trump coup lawyer Sidney Powell turns state’s witness on eve of Georgia trial