“What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours.” — Dinah Washington
The elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about in right-wingnuttia is the fact that Steve Bannon got indicted earlier in the day. Fox News played commentary on stories from 2017 for several hours while it cobbled together its spin in time for Tucker Carlson’s show. Carlson announced that today Joe Biden indicted a “political enemy.” So that’s the tack they’re taking, that this is somehow dirty pool — which is better, I guess, than pretending that the incident didn’t happen at all. I’m going to be very interested to see how this is scripted. If I was Sean Hannity I would be vaping a lot.
Mark Meadows has had a strange day and it hasn’t even been 24 hours, more like 12. Meadows blew off a deposition that he was subpoenaed to attend today. Meadows’ lawyer said that Meadows was depending on a ruling on the issue of executive privilege before he would agree to testify. Oral argument on that issue is set for November 30, a little over two weeks, but Merrick Garland taking this action today has put the issue of defying the January 6 Committee on a totally different footing.
Here is John Dean’s take on it. He thinks that the only option for Meadows and the others subpoenaed is to tell the truth. Novel concept, eh what? One which is unique in Trumpworld, that’s an absolute.
This was a wake up call.
“They know this is now a different game. It’s real. They might have been toying with the idea of doing what Bannon had done, and just defy the committee. There’s been a lot of that throughout the Trump administration. But I think they have to be braced by this because this statute has two parts. One says if you don’t show, a willful default, and that’s what Bannon did, you are going to get indicted. Or two, if you go before the committee and refuse to answer pert pertinent questions, you can also be indicted.”
So where do those subpoenaed stand? Michael Flynn is in San Antonio telling people that he’s not going to surrender the country to the commies. But he also found a few moments to go on mother Tucker Carlson’s show.
Flynn: In my case, we’re going to respond to the request. I mean I don’t have anything to hide… pic.twitter.com/WKpT8jYxfr
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 13, 2021
I have to drop this in here because the irony is so delicious.
The news feed at the bottom of Bannon’s podcast reads “Federal Grand Jury Indicts Steve Bannon” as Bannon promotes his guest’s podcast pic.twitter.com/mF3iuGiH58
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 12, 2021
That is sublime. Turnabout is fair play. This reminds me of when James Comey found out he was fired as FBI Director when he was standing in the lobby of a building in Los Angeles which had Fox News playing and he read it off the chyron. Same deal, exactly.
Speaking of turnabout, here is Mark Meadows speaking to the issue of how important it is that people take subpoenas for documents and testimony seriously.
MSNBC found a clip of Mark Meadows complaining about subpoenas being ignored and documents not being turned over pic.twitter.com/088Mtk8HEH
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 12, 2021
Eric Swalwell agrees with John Dean.
Swalwell: Mark Meadows is going to realize he doesn’t look good in orange… pic.twitter.com/ZwuBs0c84J
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 12, 2021
Over the years, there have been many people who have been willing to go to jail for Donald Trump.
There are many people right now who are willing to go to jail Donald Trump.
Mark Meadows isn’t one of them.
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) November 13, 2021
Pundits will weigh in all weekend, but just to focus this issue, take a look at a timeline which Just Security has put together. This is what Meadows’ testimony is going to be about:
Election night: As results are coming in, Giuliani proposes, “just say we won” in several swing states. Meadows reportedly thinks the plan is incoherent and irresponsible.
Meadows thought Giuliani’s argument was both “incoherent and irresponsible,” Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report. “We can’t do that,” Meadows said, raising his voice. “We can’t.”
On Nov. 4, 2020: The morning after the election, “Cleta Mitchell [is] dispatched by Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to help the Trump campaign in Georgia,” Jane Mayer reports.
In a radio show, Mitchell says Meadows, who she has “known for many years,” called her on the morning of Nov. 4 asking her to go to Atlanta “because he was worried about Georgia … because [Trump’s lead] kept shrinking.” “Probably if anybody else had called me, I would have said you’re two months late, but because it was Mark Meadows and I love the president, I said yes I’d go help.”
Mitchell does not explain how the chief of staff would have a role in such a political assignment. She appears to alternate between saying she was working on behalf of the president/administration and on behalf of the campaign. She states that she worked in Georgia from Nov. 4 to Jan. 8 and did so on a volunteer, unpaid basis.
Note-1: Mitchell later participates, along with Meadows, in the Jan. 2 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger (see entry for Jan. 2 below).
Note-2: For background on Mitchell: Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel, “Trump Lawyer on Call Is a Conservative Firebrand Aiding His Push to Overturn Election,” New York Times; Jane Mayer, “The Big Money Behind the Big Lie,” New Yorker.
On Nov. 9, 2020: Meadows calls to inform Defense Secretary Mark Esper he is being dismissed for not being “sufficiently loyal.”
Around 1:00 PM, Esper’s chief of staff Jen Stewart receives an email that the president is firing Esper. At the same time, Meadows calls Esper to say “the president’s not happy… And we don’t think you’re sufficiently loyal. You’re going to be replaced. He’s going to announce it this afternoon” (Leonnig and Rucker book).
Four minutes later, Trump tweets: “I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately.”
On or around Nov. 12, 2020: Meadows reportedly tells President Trump that Giuliani has asked him to look into allegations that tens of thousands of “illegal aliens” may have voted in Arizona. Trump campaign staff investigate “Meadows’ theory.”
Meadows tells Trump that Giuliani’s team has asked him to look into the issue. “Professionals on the campaign staff investigated Meadows’s theory,” Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report, but it proves invalid (emphasis added). The vast majority of the cases were U.S. citizens living abroad who voted legally.
In mid-November 2020: Meadows and Giuliani create a “parallel track” in a joint effort to raise election fraud claims.
The Trump campaign sets up a team in Georgia. However, “a parallel track was underway from the Oval Office where Giuliani and Meadows, who was just returning to work after being sidelined by Covid, started bringing in their own people,” the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender reports in his book.
(Meadows returned to the White House on Nov. 16.)
In mid-November-December 2020: Meadows introduces President Trump to Jeffrey Clark who plots to oust the acting Attorney General and overturn results in Georgia. Meadows also introduces the president to Mark Martin, who has radical theories of how Pence can stop certification.
Bender reports that, according to DOJ officials, “Meadows had helped introduce Trump to DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark, who was putting together a secret plan to oust Rosen, the acting attorney general, and force Georgia to overturn its results” (emphasis added). Meadows denies any involvement.
This is what Meadows has to tell the truth about. Aye aye aye aye aye, as Ricky Ricardo would say.
And by the way, the smart money at this time is saying that Jeffrey Clark isn’t going to go to prison for Trump, either.